Archive for September, 2009

Freedom Summer - Digital Collection

Today -September 30- is the official last day for this 5 months project!
It all started last year (2008) when Jacky Johnson and I learned about the OHC grant opportunity. The grant was awarded in April 2009, in May we reviewed some students’ applications and hired 2 students; the actual work started on June 1 – September 30!

The collection contains three types of materials: documents (about 765 PDFs), 68 images, and 27 videos (about 40 hours). Users can explore the website by browsing the collection (either by type or tagcloud) or by using the autosuggest search box on the homepage!  The slideshow on the main page uses SlideShowPro for Flash –which is a great application, fully customizable and easy to use.

Another addition to this collection is the “curriculum guide” page –here you can find lesson plans for elementary-middle-high-college levels.  This was part of workshop that Jacky thought this past summer.

It was a great experience -as usual with some challenges and unexpected surprises- however, we’re happy to see this project completed. In the next few days, we’ll doing a couple of presentations about this collection –e.g. one at the ASALH 2009 Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, OH and another one on Saturday October 10, at the Freedom Summer Conference at Miami University.

…hasta pronto!

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New DSpace theme for Scholarly Commons

Miami University Libraries launched a new website in August 2009 –and as part of the “web-design consistency” idea, we recently adapted the new look-and-feel to the Scholarly Commons project.  After all, consistency “makes sense” and it makes sites easier to use …in part because visitors don’t have to learn new tricks as they move around.

SC before-now

Anyway, the real work required some extra hours of -fun- editing/testing.  The power of CSS for web presentation was evident; I’d say that about 90% of the new look is purely based on CSS rules.  Getting the right DIV dimensions, font attributes was part of the challenge too, and that’s where 2 FireFox add-ons became extremely useful. ColorZilla is great color picker tool and Firebug is the perfect search/find tool for those unique DSpace DIV elements.

Of course, there were a couple of XSLT tricks as well.  For instance, DSpace -by default- displays 2 search boxes on the front page –not sure why?  But we only needed one, the challenge was how to remove/hide the search box on the <div id=”ds-body”> section …this was one required some extra searching/reading.  To make a long story short, the trick was to add a line of code in the theme.xsl file, restart tomcat and done!

<xsl:template match="dri:div[@n='front-page-search']">&#160;</xsl:template>

The last part of the work was the easiest one, just zip the new theme folder and send to OhioLINK, they replaced the old theme folder and bingo!

…now, in order to be -really- consistent, we should probably start thinking about another “re-design” …this time, for the Digital Collections website –oh well, that’s part of the to-do list already.

Quick note:

To give users the option of either password or LDPA login, add this line to the dspace.cfg file (look for Stackable Authentication Methods around line 294)

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