Project Information

Introduction

This project began as a way to promote use of the Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository military history resources. Archivists from Ball State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections selected appropriate materials for inclusion in the web site and designed the web guide for the DMR's military history materials. Metadata librarians from Ball State University Libraries Metadata and Digital Initiatives used existing and created supplemental metadata to allow greater access to Ball State University Libraries digital collections.

Selecting the Materials

By taking advantage of the intimate knowledge of the digital collections as well as their analog surrogates, archivists were able to select items from a variety of collections to create this resource guide. Materials selected represent not only the variety of conflicts documents in the Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository, but also the multitude of formats and people.

Revisiting the Metadata and Creating Custom Queries

This project involved utilizing descriptive metadata to facilitate the identification of and access to military history resources.  In order to develop custom queries for items in each conflict and format, it was necessary to first evaluate subject, format, and type data among several diverse collections.  Rather than creating complex queries across several Dublin Core elements to access the relevant artifacts, we created one “key” field using a controlled vocabulary that was shared across all the collections.  This field consists of three levels of information for each digital asset: The portal subject (Military history), the conflict (e.g., Vietnam War, 1961-1975) and the original format of the resource (e.g., Photographs).   Where possible, each term is Library of Congress compliant, using either LCSH or TGM.  Queries of this metadata field can deliver artifacts falling in just one, two, or all three categories, and the search results display on screen in a way that is helpful to the user.

Designing the Web Site

The web site was designed with the following goals in mind:

  1. Create a W3C standards compliant web site utilizing Dreamweaver CS3 site management tools.

    Valid XHTML 1.0 2009/03/12. View validation results.

    Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

    Valid CSS level 3 2009/03/12. View validation results.

    Valid CSS Level 3

  2. Provide new access points and browsing experiences for researchers who use Digital Media Repository materials.
  3. Develop the site as a pilot project, and create a plan to generate more subject-specific resource guides to the Digital Media Repository.
  4. Provide greater transparency in the development of Ball State University Libraries projects.

Future Projects

Based on the strength of the Digital Media Repository's collections strengths, Ball State University Libraries already provides some subject-based access to DMR collections by allowing researchers to sort collections by subjects, geographic areas, departments, formats. This subject access to collections allows patrons to browse collections that contain materials that fit their research endeavors; however, the current browsing functionality allows collection-level browsing only. By developing more subject-based resource guides that focus on the Digital Media Repository's strengths, Ball State University Libraries hopes to increase use of the electronic resources featured in the DMR.

Presentations

On March 20, 2009, project developers Amanda A. Hurford, Maren L. Read, and Carolyn F. Runyon presented They Shall Not Perish: Developing a Digital Gateway to Military History Resources at the Midwest CONTENTdm Users Group 4th Annual Meeting at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. To view the presentation files, visit Cardinal Scholar, the Ball State University Institutional Repository.

Acknowledgements

This project was undertaken by Amanda A. Hurford, Digital Initiatives Multimedia Developer; Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections; and Carolyn F. Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development and University Records. Maren and Carolyn selected materials for inclusion in the web site. Amanda evaluated existing metadata, created a new metadata field using LCSH and TGM terms, and formulated custom queries to access the military history resources. Carolyn designed the web site using Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 software according to W3C standards.

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