Our Digital Collections are made available to the public through CONTENTdm in the basic ways that the software allows, without us having added any outside applications. Up to now we’ve had very limited access to any staff with the skills and time to implement additional features to enhance the display of our digital collections.
We’ve been looking at other digital collections to see what functionality they have that we don’t but would like to have. Here are a couple of good examples that I’ve found that I think would be good to have.
East Carolina University Digital Collections has an interactive map of their campus. When you click on a building or area on the map, it opens up photographs of that building or area. Or if you hover your mouse over a photograph, a symbol shows up on the map showing you where that photograph was taken.
We have many photographs of buildings and landscapes from across our campus throughout its history. I think it would improve the presentation and discoverability of these photographs if we could connect them to geographic locations on a campus map.
The University of Iowa uses a crowd-sourcing website, DIY History, in order to gain the assistance of the public. The library staff digitizes handwritten items, puts them online, and then allows the public to transcribe them.
There is a large amount of unique, handwritten materials in our Library Special Collections and University Archives that would be great to have digitized and put into our Digital Collections online. However, until those items are transcribed, they cannot be full text searchable, and therefore the items and the information they contain are not as easily found by people searching online. Since there is never enough staff or time to do everything we want to do, crowd-sourcing the time-consuming transcription work is something that we’ve been wanting to have for a long time. Hopefully we will be able to get a web site like this developed soon, and then we can benefit from the time that the public has to transcribe our materials for us.