Expanding Your Local and Global Audiences (Session 405, SAA 2009) shared how three institutions of higher education are using the web to reach out to new audiences. While the general public may still hold close the stereotype of archives as of rooms full of boxes of paper (not so different from this Duke image on Flickr: “Mattie Russell, curator of manuscripts, and Jay Luvaas, director of the Flowers Collection, examine the papers of Senator Willis Smith in the library vault.”), the presenters in this session are focused on expanding peoples’ experience of archives beyond boxes of papers locked away in a vault. They are using the web as a tool to reach beyond the walls of their reading rooms and the edges of their campuses.
Duke University Rare Books, Manuscript & Special Collections Library (RBMSCL) : Lynn Eaton (Reference Archivist)
While I didn’t find my way into this session until the start of the next speaker’s presentation, Lynn was kind enough to share with me her personal printout of her presentation slides. The links below and any associated commentary are based solely on my own interpretation of the various screen-shots included.
- Duke Digital Collections
- RBMSCL Finding Aids
- AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials – this includes interviews with experts, a TV ads quiz and a wide range of TV ads available via iTunes U.
- Duke Yearlook – a set of Flickr collections displaying images from the Duke University Archives, each focused on a decade or theme related to Duke’s history.
- Duke University Libraries YouTube Channel: example Duke Exhibit: “A Century of Sex Appeals”
- Duke Digital Collections on DukeMobile iPhone application – This wasn’t included in the presentation’s slides – but I spotted it on the YouTube Channel. I downloaded the DukeMobile app onto my iTouch and had a great time exploring the Duke Digital Collections included in the images section of the app. I think it was
University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Digital Collections: Tom Sommer (University and Technical Services Archivist)
UNLV has experimented with new technologies as they appear. Tom made a point of saying that when they started seeing others provide a feature on their websites, UNLV would find a way to try it out. A great example of this is the addition of a tag cloud and google map to The Boomtown Years collection listed below.
- Howard Hughes Digital Collection – Images displayed in this online exhibition about Howard Hughes, such as this portrait of Howard Hughes, feature the opportunity both to rate and comment on the image. In addition, they provide an RSS feed for every possible metadata attribute (such as location, subject and media type)
- Southern Nevada: The Boomtown Years – in addition to ratings and comments, this collection adds on display of recent comments, tagging and a google map which ties images to locations in southern Nevada.
- UNLV Special Collections Facebook Page – shares news and updates about projects – launched 2 months ago
Marist first launched their website in 2001 to raise awareness of their collections. They also used listserves and the on-campus newspaper. Utlimately their best tactic was working one-on-one with professors whose interests intersected with their collections. This led to contact with special interest groups. Working with the special interest groups led to new tag and metadata values for their collections.
- Hidden in Plain Sight – online exhibit about fore-edge painting. Includes videos as part of introduction since it is hard to understand through still images. The bibliography receives the most hits.
- Marist Environmental History Project – this ongoing project aims to document who has what information about environmental history. The site includes an extensive list of primary sources as well as a 24 minute oral history: The Enduring Storm: The Story of the Storm King Case and the People Who Launched the Modern Environmental Movement (mp3).
- Intercollegiate Rowing Association Poughkeepsie Regatta – timeline used to guide users to who won each race, PDFs of programs, and extensive bibliographies (including an index of 1000+ NYT articles about the regatta).
- Lowell Thomas Travelogues – a household name during the golden age of radio, Lowell Thomas created extensive multimedia travelogues of his travels around the world. He is credited with making T. E. Lawrence famous as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. The site was launched as a teaser to the over 1000 linear feet of photos, audio, video & other records which will be available to researchers in October 2009. For a taste of what is coming, check out this Lowell Thomas travelogue video clip – my favorite quote from which is “…come with me on a magic carpet out to the land of history, mystery and romance.”
The archivists at all three of these educational institutions have tried new things and worked hard to share their materials with people beyond the traditional range of a reading room. The promise of the web, and all the tools and techniques it supports, is still being uncovered. It will be up to innovative archivists to keep discovering ways to push the envelope and welcome new audiences from all the corners of the globe.
As is the case with all my session summaries from SAA2009, please accept my apologies in advance for any cases in which I misquote, overly simplify or miss points altogether in the post above. These sessions move fast and my main goal is to capture the core of the ideas presented and exchanged. Feel free to contact me about corrections to my summary either via comments on this post or via my contact form.