An All Purpose Archives Viewer: Displaying Large Scale Archival Collections in Digital Libraries
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For several years, many academic and research libraries have been exploring ways to scale-up their digitization and web publication of archival collections. These initiatives sought to transfer the methods of mass digitization developed for published materials with the unique, local special collections. At UCLA, digitization of complete archival collections has been a goal for a number of years. However, we still didn’t know how best to display these digital archives on the web. This spring we decided to draw up functional requirements for an archival collections web interface. Our digital library system is Islandora, so we worked with Discovery Garden, Inc., to build a “Manuscripts Solution Pack.” While the solution pack is Islandora specific, the functionality and concepts are not. In our presentation, we will outline the functionalities we chose as integral to an archival interface and then outline the way we technically designed the solution pack. The focus will be on functions and development that are agnostic of the underlying system. In particular, we decided on a content model for archival collections, a web display interface for finding aids alongside digital images and page turning. The page images are zoomable inside the webpage using Open Sea Dragon. The goal of our presentation is to offer a conceptual model for the display of archival collections on the web. We will present our findings on the interface’s usability and plans for future refinements. We hope during a question and answer period to garner criticism and responses to our approach as well as discuss other models that might be appropriate for this material.