511: Organization of Information

Digital Library Project

For this assignment you will work in groups of 4-5 people. You may choose these people from your small group discussion group or the entire class. A good way to find other people who are interested in working together is to post your digital library idea to the Questions about Assignments group to recruit other participants.

Your task is to pick a topic or theme, and collect resources on that topic, and organise them for distribution on the Internet in the form of a mini digital library. This almost certainly means creating a set of web pages that explains what the topic is, what you have gathered into your collection, and what is to be found there; as well as devising a digital structure to contain the collection. The collection must include resources in multiple media described at various levels (i.e., it might include MARC records, abstracts, indexes, finding aids, full text, and digital facsimiles of books, manuscripts, film, oral histories, photographs, etc.). People unfamiliar with the collection should be able to navigate the collection, find individual resources without difficulty, and understand them based on your collection's organisational system.

Your project should consist of a minimum of 5 resources per group member on your chosen topic or theme (the minimum library size is 20 resources, irrespective of group size). These resources may be of any type: print or electronic, audio/video, 3-D objects, etc. Resources should be described using some form of metadata schema (your own or one studied in class). This means that at minimum the resource should be described using a title, author/creator, creation/publication date and a unique id of some type (URL, ISBN, etc.). Descriptions should include a brief summary or abstract (approximately 25 words) discussing the topic of the resource and why it fits with the theme of the digital library. Material should be organised so that it is easy to see why it was selected for the project and how it is related to other items. You may use subject headings, tags or any other method that makes relations between items clear.

In addition, the digital library should have an "about the library" section that will consist of a short essay (approximately 800 words) describing the theme of the library and discussing reasons for inclusion of the material included, the reasoning behind your choice of metadata, and choice of organisational structures. This section should also include discussion of any design considerations you considered but turned down (and why), problems encountered and how you solved them (or why you could not solve them), or anything else you consider to be relevant to a future user of the project.

Your group should submit a proposal that includes a list of group members and a description of your topic. This proposal is intended to make sure you have convened your group and you have chosen something reasonable. It should not exceed one paragraph. However, it does mean you will have spent some time hunting about on the web or in catalogues to see how many and what sort of resources exist that you will be able to bring together.

The final project is due the last day of class. On that date you should submit the URL for your project. Using Omeka or a wiki for this project is strongly recommended. You might also consider if a blog or social bookmarking site would work. (Note: If you create webpages in Microsoft Office be sure to save them in the right format. Microsoft HTML files will not be accepted. If you are unsure how to generate correct HTML from Microsoft Word contact the instructor.)

You may build your project on the SOIS Omeka server (http://mysois.uwm.edu/omeka/), an open source content management system, or in a wiki. Omeka.net also offers free basic accounts if you want more freedom to change the theme of your library and do not need the extra plugins installed on the SOIS Omeka server.

Two wiki sites that offer free basic accounts may also be useful:

To help you get started, the following may be helpful, especially the first which is a small digital library/archives of local history materials: