Session idea: “Unhidden” Collections: Now What?

As a recipient of one of Council on Libraries and Information Resources‘ (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grants, the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries‘ (PACSCL) “Hidden Collections” project has minimally processed and created finding aids (available online) for 125+ previously inaccessible collections.  While these collections are “unhidden”, there is much that we can do to make them (and all those other amazing collections out there) even more visible and usable to researchers all over the world.
Session participants could work with the goal of brainstorming a list of  potential digitization projects, web resources (either new or extensions to existing ones), mapping projects, 3d reconstructions, timelines, mobile apps, class assignments, etc. for unhidden archival collections.
PACSCL’s “Hidden Collections” has relied heavily on blog posts, Twitter and Flickr, but I would love to be involved in a discussion regarding creative and exciting ways to bring these amazing collections into the limelight!

Session idea — “Making Movement Happen: ” Building a Digitized Coll. of Early Flapbooks

We (Jacqui Reid-Walsh & Linda Friend) are interested in discussing and getting feedback about a project we’re working on to “animate” multidimensional objects so that they aren’t simply inert on the web page.  One goal is to allow rare, fragile objects to be manipulated by someone to the same extent through “virtual touch” that one could manipulate the physical object.   For preservation purposes, this would keep our fragile collection from being handled too excessively but allow students and others to replicate the act of engaging with the physical objects.

There are challenges for both movement and control – how to make the items move (currently via a gaming platform, Unity software, that a student from our Penn State Interdisciplinary Digital Studio program is using) and then allow the “interacter” to “tame” them and guide the movement.  The plan is for him to develop a “plug-in” that we can use for presenting other multidimensional objects, in the humanities and other disciplines, that can be put into production mode. In terms of control, the system needs to allow someone to regulate speed, turn the object in multiple directions, zoom in on specific parts, etc.

We’re interested in both feedback on this and ideas for other approaches, software, etc., that we can bring back.

We have an early example to share that our colleague David Stong did using Flash, and some of his commentary on a blog that you can see.   http://blogs.tlt.psu.edu/projects/flapbook/blog/

Discussion session proposal: Digital Collections Represent?

What do you look for in a digital collection? When was the last time you used content (whether images, video, audio, or text) from a digital collection for your research? How easy was it to find what you wanted? Did you find what you wanted? The work I’m trying to accomplish as a digital collections curator at Penn State University Libraries needs input from a community of users – in particular, from our faculty and students. A digital collection can’t, nor should it necessarily, recreate what happens in a physical archive, but what should librarians, including subject specialists, and archivists be doing to facilitate efficiencies and rich outcomes in research through the way we represent our digital collections? Is a digital collection development policy appropriate? If so, how would this differ from, or be similar to, policies for the development of a physical collection? I want what we put online to be useful and used, rather than just pretty objects serendipitously encountered (if that). To this end, I’m keen to have a discussion in which we not deconstruct the notion of a digital collection, so much as we unpack the representation and user experience (both typical/actual as well as ideal) of a digital collection, particularly from a researcher’s perspective. Joining me in leading this discussion will be my colleague, Dawn Childress, Humanities Librarian for German and Slavic Languages and Literatures at Penn State University Libraries. (The question mark after “Represent” in the title is intentional, such that this session may also be seen as: how do we get to “Digital Collections Represent!”)