Archive for March, 2010

LSTA MiniGrant

We recently learned about the official announcement of the 2010 LSTA MiniGrant program and -yes- Miami was in the list.  As part of our on-going plan to increase access while maintaining/improving the end-users’ experience, this project will allow us to start a migration process for the Miami Student Newspaper collection; the new access files will be available in PDFs -instead of TIF.

Digitized newspaper collections -given their complex layout- often bring a set of challenges for both users and collection administrators.  In the past, a high quality scanned image of a newspaper page usually satisfied the researchers’ expectations; however, today researchers expect to search/view a newspaper archive just as they would do when searching a born-digital newspaper.  One of our current limitations is the display of large text-based images in a relatively small window; by using multi-page PDF files with a better OCR quality, users will view every issue as a single file and with a better option for searching and even printing!

This is a relatively short project, from April 1 to August 31, 2010.  We’re very excited and look forward to working (hard) and completing this project right before the 2010 Fall semester.  A complete list of the 2010 awarded projects is available here.

And speaking of newspaper and accessibility, one of my favorite examples is the TimesMachine of the NYT –but it’s not openly available :(

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Online Conference

On February 19th, I participated in the Amigos & CONTENTdm Online Conference.  As usual, it was a great opportunity to “virtually” meet, listen, and learn from other colleagues who are working on digital projects.

The day started with a talk by Claire Cocco titled “CONTENTdm End-User Experience Redesign: A User-centered design approach.“  I thought it was interesting to learn about some of the results of a usability study -using usabilla- they conducted last year.  For instance, the difference between end-users and librarians (CONTENTdm users) when displaying images and metadata.  The new “facet” feature will be an interesting one to follow in the near future.

For the concurrent sessions, I attended 3 of them: CONTENTdm and OAI-PMH: How to Optimize Content Discovery by Amy Jackson; Opening Pandora’s Box: Electronic Theses & Dissertations by Robin Leech; and Take This Code and Shove It - RSS/Facebook Integration by Dean Farrell and Jennifer Ricker.  A great advantage for participants at this online conference is that Amigos recorded all the sessions and participants can log-in -later- and watch sessions that they couldn’t attend.  I think that was great!

Last, I was also happy to share some of the web customization we’ve implemented here at Miami.  The title of my talk was “Helping Users Search/Browse/Share CONTENTdm collections” -in case someone is interested, the pages I used for my demos are: Re-Indexing CONTENTdm and Share-It: embedding CONTENTdm images.  Ok, that’s it for now.  A follow up on this topic will be part of a poster session this summer at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference -see you in DC!

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