Project Background - ALA Archives Digital Collections

This project started out as a final paper for my LIS450RO (Representing and Organizing Information Resources) class in GSLIS (Graduate School of Library and Information Science). I was working as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Illinois Archives at that time and thought that a real world project would be challenging and interesting. In the final paper, titled "Developing Information Organizational System for ALA Archives," I discussed the use of VRA (Visual Resource Association) Core Categories as the metadata scheme for archival materials. I was responsible for the ALA Archives so I used samples of the ALA Archives for the experimentation with VRA Core Categories. However I also tried to accomodate all possible collections in the Archives when I designed the metadata scheme.

In the course of my work at the Archives I learned about the Digital Imaging and Media Technology Initiatives (DIMTI), an initiative that "explores the use of multimedia and technology to promote preservation of the [UIUC] Library's unique collections and to provide widespread access to these collections." I then discussed with the University Assistant Archivist (Christopher Prom) about the possibilty of contributing to the initiative by having some of the ALA Archives materials digitized and providing access to them through DIMTI. As you can see, this project began in a very informal way. No proposal to write, no grant to be acquired :)  I designed the metadata scheme in my spare time between my assignments in the Archives. I continued the project as volunteer in the period of August 2002-April 2003 by scanning the materials, entering metadata and images into the CONTENTdm Acquisition Module, and designed the custom user interface.

The full implementation of VRA Core Categories as discussed in my final paper is not possible since it requires the use of a relational database. DIMTI currently use CONTENTdm (from OCLC), which basically is a 'text' database, as the database environment. CONTENTdm also suggests a mapping to Dublin Core Metadata Scheme so users can access all collections from a single search interface. I modified the VRA Core Categories to accomodate CONTENTdm environment and features. Along the project execution, some changes in the metadata scheme were made to fine-tune it to best suit the Archives needs. The final version of the metadata set and the description of each field is available to view. This final version is expected to be able to be used as the 'generic' metadata template for all future digitized-materials from the Archives.

That is the story behind the project, and now here is the formal Project Description. The following is a list of documents where you can find further information on the project. The documents were composed with two groups of audience in mind, common users and people who will continue the project in the future. Therefore in the documents you will find technical instruction-type of information besides general information regarding the project.

If you are interested to continue this project, please contact the Assistant Archivist (Christopher Prom - through this anti-spam form).

Composed by: Liauw Toong Tjiek (a.k.a. Aditya Nugraha)
Created: May 2003
Last Updated: August 01, 2003

Project Background | Project Summary | Desciption of Metadata | Technical Documentation | Search Collections | CONTENTdm Tutorial
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