CHANGELOG, 2008 Oct. 24

We posted a major build of the digital collections site today.  The focus of the build was a set of five new collections; I know Jill intends to publicize them here, so instead of the prolix titles I’ll deploy their “collectionID” values:  blake, esr, songsheets, strong and vica.  In addition, we returned the asl collection to the internet after a rather lengthy, post-Texis hiatus.  Since we focused on these great collections for this build, there are relatively few upgrades to the system to report, but I’ll list them here.

Clickable metadata display: One of the requests that we received from staff and patrons was to display metadata fields as hyperlinks to enable follow-up searches.  You can see an example in this record, where the Place, Province and Country fields all link to search results for those values.  We still haven’t implemented this feature consistently across all the collections and metadata fields.  As I’ll probably say again as long as I continue to blog about our homemade “Tripod” system, the XSL stylesheets that govern display are the most complex part of the publication process, and collection-level customization plays a big part in that complexity.  An example of where the feature would be useful is this item, where the Source and Subject fields could both benefit.  We’ll continue to work on this issue, however, and implement it more consistently over the coming weeks.

Full text indexing and display: We now index and display the text of items that have TEI documents corresponding to their METS records.  This feature was necessary for the songsheets collection (see example here).

Film-strip browsing: Not sure what to call this one, but Sean Aery developed a feature for our page turner that shows the thumbnail of the current page sandwiched between the preceding and next pages.  See here for an example.

Gamble place names updates: The place names metadata for the Gamble collection got a massage, and the detailed display now matches place and province to one another (example).  We also added a record for the “Pilgrimage to Miao Feng Shan” video.

More term clouds: We love ’em; now on the home pages for esr and songsheets.

More or less frequent words: Finally, we experimented with a feature for songsheets that assigns sixteen “tags” to each item drawn from the full text of that item.  Eight of the tags are pulled from the top of the stack of terms occurring five or more times in the collection; eight from the bottom.  I may post about this feature at greater length in the future.  I’m not sure that it’s useful, but it does seem like kind of an interesting way to go clicking about the collection.  Follow the link to “Stonewall Jackon’s Way” above for an example.

My personal thanks to all the collection sponsors and everyone on the implementation team.  I’ll just add in closing that it’s exciting to see the site grow, and to show off the great diversity of collections at Duke.

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