Home > About > Documentation

Documentation

Discover EKU: Documentation

                                                                                     

Discover EKU

 

Introduction

        The digital library known as Discover EKU, was created and designed to help create greater access and availability of the Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections and Archives items to its intended audience. The digital library has a diverse collection that will continue to grow in time as more items are added and collected. Many features and considerations went into developing and providing this digital library for the intended audience and community. These important features and the decision making explanations are included in this documentation to help the user understand certain elements and functions and the intended use of them. This documentation also contains information on the audience, content of the involved collections, metadata and information decisions, search and browsing mechanisms, website design and creation, and future projects.

Audience

The intended audience for the Discover EKU Digital Library is interested students, faculty, staff, or community members of Eastern Kentucky University and the surrounding areas. It is thought that their interests are focused on the various parts of EKU history and collections such as administrators, buildings, or artifacts that were limited to physical availability in the library archives. The purpose of the library is to provide greater digital access and usability to items that are considered part of EKU’s Special Collections and Archives department.

When developing this digital library, the creators thought about the suspected abilities of their audience. They believe that a patron will need to have some technological abilities in order to use the library to its full potential. Some of these abilities include familiarity with the Internet, experience with searching (both broad and advanced), and experience with browsing through collections.  Patrons also may need to have an idea of what they are looking for to make it easier to browse through the large collection of items. This means that in general they may need to have some type of understanding about the history of EKU or surrounding areas. For the user unfamiliar with the collection, tags have been created to help maximize the usability of the browsing experience.

 Content

There are five main collections in this digital library: EKU Presidents, Board of Regents, Central University, EKU Buildings and Grounds, and Arts & Artifacts.

 EKU Presidents

The Presidents collection contains images of all the people who have served EKU as presidents or acting presidents since its official beginning.  The creators of Discover EKU worked to find pictures of all who had served in this office for the university and these images include photographs of portraits as well as a page out of a book and other materials.  By providing pictures of past presidents, this digital library gives patrons an opportunity to understand the people who have helped shape the university and become the thriving institution it is today. There are fourteen total items in this collection which can be physically located at EKU’s Archives and Special Collections.

 Board of Regents

The Board of Regents is the governing body of Eastern Kentucky University and is made up of governor-appointed regents as well as ones appointed by faculty, staff, and students. At one time, there were eleven regents serving on the board. This collection contains one hundred and six images of past and present regents.  It should be noted that, for this project, only the governor-appointed regents are represented until a later date when the other images will be located and uploaded for use. After choosing an item in this collection, a patron is given a wide range of information such as length of service time of the regent and the creator of the image.  Like the EKU presidents collection, patrons are able to use these items to get an idea of who helped shape the university throughout its history.  The images can be found at EKU’s Archives and Special Collections.

Central University

This collection is made up of items that detail the history of Central University, one of EKU’s predecessors, through photos.  These photos include people and buildings associated with Central University during its time as an institution.  For example, patrons can view a picture of the football team as well as a group photo of the faculty members to understand how the university was run in early twentieth century.  The physical items can also be found at EKU’s Archives and Special Collections.

 EKU Buildings and Grounds

This collection contains seventy-nine items and includes images of buildings that are, and have been, found on EKU’s campus. One special aspect of this collection is that the buildings themselves are thought to be the actual items, not the images. That means there is a detailed description of each building, its history, its cost, and its namesake. The creators of Discover EKU used historical and contemporary images to provide a visual aid and insight into the building history and changes.  This collection allows patrons to see the evolution of EKU’s campus through the history of the buildings. It also helps them see the history of university’s  architecture through the unique designs without being physically on campus.        

  Arts and Artifacts

This is the largest and most diverse collection in the digital library.  There are 508 items which are also considered historical objects that can be found in EKU’s Archives and Special Collections.  These objects include artwork, furniture, plaques, and other historically valuable artifacts to the community.  Some examples of items in this section are a headstone for Mozart, the unofficial mascot of EKU, and various shovels used in groundbreaking ceremonies for campus buildings.  The purpose of this collection is to give patrons a sense of the history and the culture of Eastern Kentucky University.  These items can be found throughout the EKU campus with most residing in the Archives and Special Collections department.      

 Metadata

                The metadata input for our digital library was a great undertaking for everyone involved. This was mainly due to having so many collections and a variety of items and information related to them. For the digital library it was decided that the original object and not the new image would be described for two reasons. The first was because of the nature of the collection and audience being special collections and archives. Patrons using these images often need to know about the object and its information rather than the new image and its related metadata. Using the object was also natural since the institution already had information stored about the original object.  A lot of the information about the digital image also wasn’t available, compared to the data available for the objects, making it problematic. The available information from the university archives and special collections was very informative and helpful to the group in filling in the desired metadata for the project. Sometimes, however, it was difficult to determine if the available information should be changed to be included or left out entirely. Luckily, Dublin Core is extremely flexible and can be used by such a diverse collection of items and their information. However, it should be noted that in the end it was determined that metadata elements and their input would vary throughout the collections because of the materials having so many different types and topics.

                With this in mind, many elements are seen standard throughout the collections. It was quickly decided from the beginning that we would always provide as much information as possible to the items while staying in the Dublin Core standard. Some elements seen in all collections in the same way include title and subject. The titles are either the name of the work, building, or person being described and all items have this element. Subject is also always included and is provided with a keyword of the item or collection. When a second subject is given it is usually given from the Art and Architecture thesaurus in the form best for the item, usually this is provided in plural form for search reasons.

     The elements format, type, date, identifiers, language, and coverage are also shown consistently throughout the collection. Type follows DCMI standard generally and was mainly image or physical object depending on the item and collection. Format was provided in all collections with the preferred medium and extent information whenever possible (example oil on canvas, 8 x 10). This was done after the examples found in the qualified DCMI usage guide online. Date was always given in YYYY and YYYY-MM-DD as described by ISO and W3C recommendations. This format also carried over into the later created elements in the building collection. Our identifiers were provided as the unique accession numbers from the university’s records, and are available in every collection except buildings. The use of accession numbers was defined as acceptable for identifiers by the North Carolina Dublin Core site below.  As for the language element it was decided we would always follow the ISO three letter format  eng for English throughout the collections whenever writing was present on the object. Lastly, coverage for the most part followed the coordinate and period guides as available through the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative site.

                For these and the other elements a variety of sources were consulted and combined to determine the best option. The first source was the Using Dublin Core information from Diane Hillman and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (http://dublincore.org/documents/2005/11/07/usageguide/). This information was very instrumental in giving examples and explaining what should be included. The second source consulted was an article by Anita Coleman called “From cataloging to metadata: Dublin Core records for the library catalog”. This article gives each element and a variety of information on how to use it. The third source was the North Carolina Dublin Core site (http://www.ncecho.org/dig/ncdc2007.shtml), which was provided through the Omeka codex as a site with information on how to use the elements. This website gives a lot of information on what to include and what standards are preferred. Examples are also available at the end, which were useful when compared to our items which were often cultural objects. The last few sources were other Omeka libraries such as Ohio Civil War 150 (http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/omeka/), Civil Rights Archives (http://www.archives.gslis.net/), The Museum of Russian Art (http://tmora.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/), and a few others. These were used to see how other collections dealt with objects and information in their metadata and acted as a guide to what we could or should do.

                 Using these sources, and our information, we decided what to include for every collection on a case-by-case basis. The following sections will provide an example and explain our rationale behind the elements and information format for each collection in our digital library. Our experimentation of new types and elements in Omeka are also included in the sections where they were implemented.

 EKU Presidents

                This collection contains the 14 presidents that the university has had since being established.  No special formatting was created for this collection and Dublin Core elements were followed in Omeka. For each president, his or her name was added as the title. This is because most users would expect the name of the president shown to be the image name. The type was added as image because the collection was completely comprised of photographs and other images of the individual presidents which are considered ‘images’ in the Dublin Core sources. Identifiers for this collection were from the acquisition numbers of the images that are unique to each item in the university’s catalog. The creator provided is the original creator or photographer responsible for the image. When this information was not available the data “Unknown” was provided. When possible the date was also provided in the date element section. Some dates weren’t certain, and then circa denoted as ‘ca’ was added after dates to show the approximate date. Rights for this collection state that EKU special collections should be contacted when using the image. This is because they own the images and are making them available on the site for the community. Source information was given based on where the image came from in the university records. For most of the images this was the EKU photograph collection; however some came from other collections and were given credit as such. Coverage was decided as the general geographical location information of Eastern Kentucky University since that is where the objects are located and where the presidents served.

                The other elements were more descriptive of the item and required decisions by the group on how to provide them consistently. The subject was decided to be added as the keyword ‘EKU president’ for every item since it describes the subject of the collection and the image. Format used for this collection was in the form of medium and extent and was described as ‘photograph, 8x10’. It was decided to not put medium or extent before each piece of data to keep the information simpler and because most users would understand that the medium and size of the original object was being described. Some images were born digital and were added differently though.  Language was added as English in the formalized standard eng, when writing was present on the item. For description it was decided that basic information about the image and president would be provided. The term period that the president served was also included in the description due to the nature of the audience. This information was originally provided in the coverage element, but we eventually decided that it was more appropriate in the description due to trying to keep the information standard as much as possible across collections. Lastly, it should be known that contributor, publisher, and relation were not used in this collection for Dublin Core because we either did not have the information or the information we had was determined to be confusing to the user.  

 Board of Regents

                The Board of Regents and its metadata rationale was almost identical to that of presidents. The elements, title, date, identifier, type, coverage, creator, language, format, rights, and source, are the exact same as those given in presidents. This is because the collection was extremely similar in the objects still being portraits of people, the difference was the office for these were regents instead of president. The objects do have a few differences in their subjects, and descriptions though. For this collection, like in presidents, contributor, publisher, and relation were not necessary. Another reason that these two collections are so similar is that we tried to stay as standard as possible through our collections to have a more seamless and professional appearance for the user. It would have appeared confusing to have such similar topics and items and have different ways of providing the information in them.

                 Some differences were necessary though. In this collection subject was the same with using a keyword, but the keyword of Regents was added instead to fit the collection and title held. Also, some of the regents were chairmen at some time, and this was added to the subject as a keyword in the regent area so that this information could be searched in that way as well. The descriptions are also very similar by explaining the image and the time served, the change is made clear when chairman are provided because they may have multiple dates provided to show their time as chairman and their general time as regent. These differences do not have major consequences overall and actually just more related to the objects themselves. Overall, this collection and president’s information are provided in a standard and similar way.

 Central University

                The collection of Central University was also added differently in many ways. This is because the items related to a predecessor of EKU, and are part of an exhibit relating to that information. We did try to keep to the previously set standards with other collections as much as possible though to help the continuity and appearance of the items.

                Because of this, much of the metadata is similar to that of residents and board of regents. The names of the objects are given in the title area and the creators are who was responsible for taking the pictures. The date is also standard with being the creation date of the photograph and in DCMI format. The elements type, identifier, language, and rights, are identical to that found in presidents and board of regents. The type is Image because they are photographs, and the identifiers are by accession number.  As for rights, the special collections library department has the images and makes them available just like in the other collections. Source is provided a little differently since these items are usually doubled into more than one collection. For that reason EKU photograph collection and Central University collection are named depending on the item. Coverage for this collection was decided to be different from the other collections as well. This is because the time period that Central University existed was determined to be important to the resources and was the same for all of the objects. This allows these objects to be grouped together in that way. In addition, the general EKU coverage information was not appropriate due to how EKU was established from several earlier institutions and their locations.

                Other information and elements such as format, language, subject, and description were also similar to the earlier collections. For all the images the medium and format were given in “medium, format” form for the original object. The language English was given in the standard eng, whenever writing was available on the object and was important. Subject was sometimes doubled in this collection with the keyword for the university and the AAT controlled terms when possible. These AAT terms are clearly related objects or subjects in the photographs, and example of this would be mandolins, for the mandolin club. The AAT was chosen to be consistent with other collections and provide a controlled vocabulary to the items. The descriptions were done to explain the image and provide names of the individuals in it when the information was available. The elements contributor, publisher, and relation were not included because they did not relate to other resources or each other in specific ways as found in Dublin Core recommendations. These items and their unique metadata can be found in the Central University exhibit.

 EKU Buildings and Grounds

                For the buildings collection we couldn’t find an acceptable way to add the necessary information in Dublin Core or in basic Omeka. So, we decided to experiment with the features that Omeka provides in order to create a more satisfactory object description. The original types and elements didn’t fit because buildings as a type were different and the collection often had multiple images per object. To do this and have our information available we added the Type “Buildings”, and the elements ‘architect’, ‘builder’, ‘renovation date’, ‘dedication date’, ‘original cost’, and ‘named after’. This decision was based off of other Omeka libraries creating new types when the basic ones didn’t fit their collection and audience. As a particular example of Omeka flexibility, the Civil Rights Movement archive had added the “types” photographs, flyers, and correspondence to fit their needs. So, we chose to do the same to best present our buildings collection. Our audience also played a factor since the information added is often needed by students by assignments, but couldn’t be added in a good way in the Dublin Core standard. The Civil Rights Movement collection and that of Ohio Civil War 150 in events, also often contained multiple images of their objects allowing us an example to work off of in adding our multiple views of the buildings.

                For the new type there were a few new elements included in relation to lifecycles of buildings. The date element in Dublin Core is generally supposed to have as few dates as possible and buildings often have a lot of dates associated to varying events in their life cycles. For this reason date in the Dublin Core was chosen to be the creation date to stay standard with the other collections, while leaving the others flexible in the new elements. Most of our buildings had information on dedication dates and renovation or modification dates that may be interesting to the audience so they were included in the new type elements. However, these dates were kept in the DCMI standard to keep them standardized. The architect was originally added as a contributor in the element was ultimately moved to the new elements. This is because even though the information was useful, it didn’t truly fit into the area of contributor. Builder has not been added at this date, but will be once more information is collected. The original cost and who the building was named after were also included. This is because of the audience and nature of special collections in wanting to provide and preserve information when available for student and other users. These were added to the elements as explained because they were available for almost every item, and didn’t fully fit in the description area of Dublin Core.

                The Dublin Core elements were also used when possible with some tweaking. The name of each building was selected to be the title in the record. The identifier, however, was left out because we used the accession number in all the other collections. Unfortunately, buildings  also really do not have accession numbers due to the nature of their use. Therefore, to stay standard through the collections as much as possible this was left out. To be sure in our decision, we also checked the other Omeka libraries that provided types such as correspondence or events and found that they also often left out identifiers for these collections because there is no recognized unique standard. This fit perfectly with our decision of leaving the identifier out for buildings. The type in the Dublin Core record was chosen as “Physical Object” from the controlled vocabulary, since it is a 3-D object and didn’t fit the other categories. However, rights, creator, publisher, and source were left out in this collection. This is because the buildings are public and it is difficult to determine this information in a standard way. This information also did not provide any benefit to the user.

                For subject the buildings were given the overall keyword buildings like the other collections. They also were given AAT terms related when helpful, which worked out wonderfully because AAT provided architecture related information terms, but was originally chosen because of the other collections being cultural objects, terms such as dormitories or classrooms are helpful as keywords to describing what the object is used for. The descriptions also cover what the building is used for and other information about the objects. Format for buildings shows the extent or size of the buildings and does so in assigned square footage in the same way throughout the collection. Coverage is also special in this collection because we were able to use the exact coordinates and geographical location of the buildings as described in the standard DCMI controlled vocabulary. This collection was also unique in being the only collection to use the relation element. This was necessary because some important building structures are located inside each other due to their construction. To show this we added HasPart and IsPartOf to these items. Last, it should be noted that language was not included in this collection, despite it being used in the other collections. This is because buildings in general do not have a language associated with their use. We feel this collection, turned out well and provides the information and meets the needs of the institution and its users due to the experimentation and addition of elements and type.                                

 Arts and Artifacts

                The arts and artifacts collection was a very large collection with over 500 items that led to some variety in the metadata. This was allowable due to the flexibility of both Dublin Core and Omeka. We did decide to experiment and create another type in Omeka for this collection as well. This was because of the items often being 3-dimensional physical objects such as tables or sculptures. For this reason the type “Physical Objects” was added and the element “ID label” was also included because so many of the items had this information and it is possibly important information for the user, especially if looking for the actual object on campus.

                As noted throughout the collections many things stay the same. For this collection the identifiers, title, creator, date, and language are identical to the presidents and board of regents collections. The type in the Dublin Core record varied with the items between physical object and images, but was kept between those two options and in DCMI controlled vocabulary. The coverage element is repeated twice in this collection which is different from the others. This is because it contains the general location like in the other collections and the specific building or room that the object is in. This was included as useful information if the user actually wanted to find the physical object on the campus. Format is also given in the normal medium, extent style, but is special in having a wide variety of objects and a lot of unique mediums. The basis for these items formats were found in the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative format qualifier examples.

      The subjects were placed into AAT vocabulary and keywords from the objects. This usually meant that subject was repeated twice when possible to provide as much information as possible and for search. The difference for this collection in subject was that the collection focus was not added as a keyword due to the varying natures of the items. The descriptions for this collection also took a wide variety due to the nature of having 500+ objects. The information sometimes is very general about the object, whereas in other descriptions a great amount about the history of the object and its author may be known. When the extra information was available, we included it. This would normally not be included, but due to this digital library being for a special collections library, we felt it necessary to keep as much available as we knew for the user and library. We also chose to add the purchase information if known to the description. This would have been added to Provenance if qualified Dublin Core had been available, but since we use simple Dublin Core, we decided it was best to add it to the descriptions throughout. We also considered adding purchase information to the new experiment physical object type elements, but decided against this because many of the items like paintings would be included in the image type and would lose the information. Placing the information in description made it available to every item when known.

      A few other elements were left out in this. As with most collections contributor, publisher, and relation were ignored due to the information being difficult to connect or confusing. This collection is different from some, but like buildings in leaving out source. This was decided because the items are found in a lot of areas and collections and often overlap. It was also decided that the information wasn’t necessary to finding the item since, the location and other information was provided. Lastly, this collection does not provide a publisher or rights unlike the other collections (except buildings). This is because the publisher and rights could not be determined in the time frame of this project and could lead to confusion for the user. This is especially true for rights information because the items may or may not be under copyright. Sometimes items and their rights were possibly transferred when purchased, but this was often unclear and varied through the collection. Due to the confusion and not being able to accurately determine the information it was left out for all items for the time being. Further research will go into this at a later date and a more accurate and complete rights statement will be added by the special collections library.

 Search and Browse

        The searching and browsing mechanisms in the digital library can be viewed in multiple ways. The metadata from the previous section is the major component in searching the collections. This is allowable since Omeka search already works with the metadata included. The problem for us was in determining how those elements could help with searching and browsing. This can be seen in basic search, advanced search, and through tags.

        As noted before, the metadata elements were often controlled or kept standard throughout the collection to help when searching and browsing. This is particularly seen in the subject areas. Most of the collections have keywords associated with the subject or collection so that it groups the items together. Many of the artifacts and some of the central university items in particular have AAT controlled vocabulary to help with this information. A good example is the AAT term in the subject area as ‘mandolins’ when searched  pulls up the mandolin club group portrait for central university. The other information was also kept as standard as possible when added for the same purpose. We wanted the user to be able to search and find everything that could be related to that term. It is also understood that names/titles and information from the descriptions are retrieved by the basic Omeka search in order to retrieve items accurately.

        However, it was clear that the basic search was not fully functional to our needs, or that of the users when we were testing and fixing items. A good example of this problem is you can add the ending of the identifier number 257 to the basic search and retrieve 0 results. For this reason an advanced search was also necessary to help the user locate more specific items more efficiently. The advanced search has options like keyword, specific field for Dublin Core elements, specific field for item type, range of identification numbers, by collection, by type, by tag, and by geographic address. These options are immensely helpful in finding the items in such a large collection. If we take the same example above and add 257 to the range of identification numbers in advanced search, it retrieves the specific object of Portrait Dizney, Donald because of his unique accession identifier. This is also helpful when controlling for specific collections or types. A good example is of the campus mascot Mozart being in multiple collections. If you are looking for a reference to him in buildings you can search only that collection and not retrieve the extra paintings and items.

        The advanced search by elements is also useful because if someone was looking for a specific date or other information they can focus on it by telling what element such as Dublin Core date or dedication date for buildings. The geographic address is also useful for the user looking at buildings  since we added the exact coordinates of the items. It can also be searched within a radius of specific buildings to help find the buildings that are nearby as well. Another interesting feature of search was being able to search by type and sort out items between the images and physical objects in the collection. Lastly, search by tag could be extremely helpful since the collection has a large number of tagged words. When you go to the tags page you may not see the particular term at first, however, through searching it, the items with it could be easily retrieved. All of theses advanced search feature would be more helpful to the user than just the basic search due to the collection being so large and diverse.

        Nevertheless, search is not the only way to find objects. Browsing can be done at the item, collection, and exhibit level from the main page. As noted we also added tags to the collection to help create relationships between objects and make the user feel more comfortable in browsing items. In creating tags we were thoughtful and tried to only include tags that had more than one item attached to them. This is because a tag should help connect through the collections and help the user find everything related. To create tags we decided to use them in a few approaches.  Originally, all of our collections were given preferred plural AAT controlled vocabulary when it fit with the item as a way to search. Eventually, this was decided better for tags throughout the collection, particularly for arts and artifacts and buildings. This is because tags such as photographs or engravings can help retrieve everything of a particular type in the art and artifacts collection. In buildings this was also useful because all of the dormitories or fitness center relations could be tagged and browsed at once without having to search. It should be noted that portraits and photographs of people in presidents and regents were not tagged as such because we felt the object focus was more the person than the type, however, items in arts and artifacts did keep these terms in their tags since it was deemed more appropriate to the topic and user. This also kept from overwhelming the user if browsing by those tag terms.

     Tags also allowed the items to connect through collections such as the word academic libraries to retrieve not only the buildings, but also specific architectural drawings or paintings of the academic libraries. Creators of items throughout collections are also tagged similar to the previous examples in order to browse everything for that creator. This is particularly seen in arts and artifacts when certain creators such as John James Audubon are responsible for multiple items. Styles of furniture and other characteristics of items were also used for tags, but only when more than one item had the quality. The chair style ‘chippendale’ has three items, whereas the medium or material bronze has 91 items associated with it. All of these different ways of doing the tags help make finding items in such a large collection more manageable for the user browsing experience.

     The browsing and searching functions for this library are closely connected to the metadata and with the needs of the user in mind. Hopefully, when these components are combined these will be adequate to help the user navigate and retrieve what items they specifically need or want to find, while also giving them the opportunity to just enjoyably browse the rich collection available to them.

  Website Design, Format, and Presentation

        The digital library website was designed for ease of use and with a couple of features to help enhance the experience and collections. There were some concerns over the limitations of Omeka in choosing theme and layout. Omeka isn’t the most flexible and wouldn’t allow a variety of changes to the theme such as color and layout in our version. However, the Discover EKU theme logo, designed by Eastern Kentucky University and with appropriate school colors, was able to be added at the top. The site did allow the group to add extra pages and exhibits through plugins. It was also possible to choose what could be featured on levels such as collections, exhibit, and items. In many ways the flexibility of Omeka could be enhanced to help the user have more choices.  For example, it was discovered that once the information was imported into Omeka through CSV, the only way to change or remove metadata fields was to edit each individual item.  For some collections this would not be a big deal, but there are some that include items in the hundreds.  Therefore, we learned that the best way to use CSV import with Omeka is to insure that no major changes will need to be done once the import is complete.    

      The simple design and additions, such as feature collections, are beneficial to our audience no matter what level of technology experience they have.  Another feature to help the user was the decision to not show unused elements. This is important because we didn’t want the user to feel like a lot of information was missing, especially since Dublin Core elements are optional and often not useful. It also created a simple and uncluttered appearance for the information associated with the items. Some of the main features of our website, as noted were the changes in types and the use of plug-ins to create a richer experience.

        The physical object and buildings types were added to the site for the collections to be presented in a more informative way to the user. The physical objects in the Arts and Artifacts collections often had identification labels so this information could potentially be useful for the user looking for the item physically and for the library to be able to know what item is desired. The Buildings collection, as noted earlier, also had a new type and elements created. This was to present the information to the user in a more complete and detailed way than the standard Dublin Core allowed. Types such as image could have been adapted, but could also have caused confusion for the user and were limiting in their use. The idea of making the presentation of this collection as if from a building information resource was a very important to the goal of the library. This information had been previously available on the website, but lacked descriptions of use, background, and more importantly images. The hope is that this additional type with clearly defined extra elements  and combining the old information will be a more fulfilling and useful way of finding and using the building information for the user.

        The majority of our design elements were done through adding plug-ins. These were really interesting to use and will help the user by having different views into the information. The first interesting addition is the exhibit builder plug-in. This plug-in allows the collector to make exhibits with the items and add extra description and layout to create a different experience from the other areas of the website. In our EKU: A Look in Time exhibit, the collection of Central University has been added with information about the institution that could not adequately be added at the item or collection level. The images available next to the text are also visually appealing since the user can just click in the image to go to the item information. The history is continued in the rest of the exhibit through the use of information and images about presidents of the university. The next interesting plug-in that acts similarly to the exhibit is the geo-location. The geolocation plugin allows the collector to give items specific coordinates and areas.

  A few other plug-ins were added with the user and their potential experience in mind. Many websites now have a social media component and most students expect to have such functions available to them. With this in mind, the social media bookmarking tool was added because a large portion of the audience and users will likely be EKU students. Any addition that makes them feel more comfortable and feel like the site is connected to their lifestyle is beneficial. A simple page called ‘About’ us, provides a brief look into the background and hopes of the project for the users. This was believed to be necessary in order to provide information on the project itself and to give information of the collectors who put the current library together. The last plugin geared toward the user is the simple ‘Contact Us’ form. This was seen as a nice addition to receive  questions, comments, or feedback from the users. Contacting with questions and being able to immediately submit can be easier on the user because they do not have to take the extra step of leaving the page and emailing or calling for information. The last plugin added was google analytics, this was added for the library statistics use and cannot be seen by the user. However, the library thought this was a nice addition to help them judge and learn about use by students and the surrounding user community.

      The website layout was designed to be simple, uncluttered, and with an enjoyable user experience in mind. This is hopefully apparent through the considerations taken and changes made. The additions were mainly chosen to add benefit to the students and users in ways to help with comfort, ease of use, and the of gaining information.

        Conclusion and Future Work

        At the end of the current project, many things were noted for future reference and use. There is a great amount of work that is not always seen in the actual digital library. However, this work is very worthwhile for the user and has a nice end result. Many challenges for our project were related to the nature and size of our collection. Having such a diverse collection can be nice for the user, but difficult to keep standard in a viewable way. It is also challenging from a metadata and browsing standpoint due to having to think of the relations between objects and how best to add the data available. Selection of metadata became very clear throughout the project as we repeatedly changed the information and way it was put in. The size of the collection also led to a lot of challenges. With over 800 original objects it was a large task to add and upload the items. The collection was eventually, cut to a little over 700 objects as identical items were combined in areas such as furniture.

        From a more positive side, the plugins were immensely beneficial for both us as collectors and for our future users. It was nice to be able to add different areas and functions without having to know all the coding and information. Our biggest problem though was honestly time. We had far more to do than we had time for. This is noted in areas like having to add more regents later and needing to locate information about rights in arts and artifacts. Other resources and changes to Omeka could also be helpful in making the site feel more like it is a component of the Eastern Kentucky University site as a whole.

        Nevertheless, the digital library turned out to be usable and helpful for the audience in mind. Especially, when compared to the old website with just textual information on the items. This library will help many students and users be able to use the special collections are archives in new ways.  The group as a whole also benefitted from the experience of working on this project and has gained knowledge on how to work on digital libraries in the future. For that reason, to the group, despite future work and the difficulties that were encountered, we feel that the end result digital library was a success for us, its intended purpose, and future users.

 

Group Roles

Jackie Couture

  • Project manager
  • Metadata
  • EKU: A Look in Time exhibit
  • Image preparation and upload for most collections (Digitizer)
  • Presentation
  • Tags for board of regents, central university, and arts and artifacts collections

Daniel Weddington

  • Website and theme designer
  • Responsible for uploading collections (Digitizer)
  • Locating and selecting EKU buildings and grounds collection
  • Geo-location  and coordinates for EKU buildings and grounds
  • Presentation.

Samantha Jeffers

  • Metadata and controlled vocabulary throughout collections (Metadata)
  • Tags in EKU buildings and grounds collection
  • Creation of physical objects and buildings type and elements in Omeka
  • Documentation
  • About us page

Jennifer Oberhausen

  • Tags in EKU presidents collection
  • Examining and correcting metadata in Omeka
  • Testing in Omeka
  • Documentation

 

 References

Coleman, A. (2005). From Cataloging to Metadata: Dublin Core Records for

       the Library Catalog. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 40(3-4), 

       153-181.

Eastern Kentucky University Special Collections and Archives (2012).

        Discover EKU. Retrieved from http://discovereku.omeka.net/.

Hillman, D. (2005). Using Dublin Core. Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.

       Retrieved from http://dublincore.org/documents/usageguide/.

North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online (2007). North Carolina

      Dublin Core. Retrieved from http://www.ncecho.org/dig/ncdc2007.shtml.

Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Humanities Council. Ohio Civil War 150.

      Retrieved from http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/.

Queens College Special Collections. Civil Rights Movement Archive.

       Retrieved from http://www.archives.gslis.net/abou-us.

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University

      (2012).  Omeka-Codex.

       Retreived from http://omeka.org/codex/Documentation.

The Museum of Russian Art (2012). Museum of Russian Art digital library. 

      Retrieved from http://tmora.org/.