The American Civil War [Digital Collections]

This year, as part of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, the Miami University Libraries are creating digital collections of important Civil War (CW) materials currently housed in the Walter Havinghurst Special Collections. So far, two collections are under development: Civil War Diaries Collection and Samuel Richey Collection of the Southern Confederacy. In terms of providing online access to these digitized manuscripts or to any non-born-digital file … despite the current technologies (e.g. Djatoka Image Server, IIP Image Server, DjVu Libre, XTF, or the IA BookReader), there seems to room for changes in order to provide a enhanced user experience for digitized multi-page items.

So back to our CW collections, since we’re loading the data into a DSpace repository -hosted at OhioLINK- we’ve been “testing” a couple of options for the image viewer. The ultimate goal will be to use the new IIP Viewer currently on “test” mode.


The viewer -will- feature a toolbar with options for zooming, panning, rotating and viewing images in full screen mode; the viewer also includes a navigation box with thumbnails helps in browsing multi-page files. But since this is not ready -yet- for a DSpace production instance, a plan B has been to re-use a DjVu/JPG viewer that has worked well for us in the past. It may not be as catchy as the IIP viewer, but it features a basic toolbar with zoom and page navigation options … and perhaps the big plus is that because it uses regular JPG files for display, it works great on any device and/or browser -which is not true for the flash-based IIP viewer.


Anyway, either viewer will -soon- allow us to provide access to large, high-resolution, and multi-page objects in these two Civil War collections. A first formal presentation is scheduled for October 22nd at the Symposium “The American Civil War: Why It Still Matters” in King Library Room 320. The symposium is officially the kick-off for a grant-funded reading and discussion series “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Library Association, and the Miami University Humanities Center. More information about this program is available at:

Ok, that’s it for today … now back to an outdated -but sill needed- DSpace document on XMLUI tips & tricks … as well as to complete the copyright assignment form for an article I co-authored on “Technical Skills for New Digital Librarians” scheduled for publication next month in Library Hi Tech News.