About the Team
The Olive Ruby Henty Digital Scrapbook is part of the Notable Women of Simmons College collection. It was created by the students in Prof. Candy Schwartz's Digital Libraries course, which took place from September to December 2007. The 23 members of the class were divided into 12 committees, with many students serving on two committees each, to complete the digital scrapbook. The students primarily used the class wiki to organize the project, share information, and to provide feedback and commentary throughout the process.
On December 12, 2007, the class unveiled the scrapbook to the Simmons community. A slideshow presentation highlighting the event can be seen here.
The committees focused on the following areas:
The early stages of this project focused on the examination of other digital scrapbooks that are publicly available. The Environmental Scan Committee chose several digital scrapbooks, assigned the class to complete certain tasks using the scrapbook, and solicited feedback on their experiences using the scrapbooks. This method helped them to advise the class on navigation and browsing features, layout, and searching options that we may want to employ (or avoid) when constructing our digital library.
This committee researched the technical aspects of scanning the scrapbook items and advised the class on such things as the appropriate resolution for an archival quality scan, color balance and accuracy. They concluded that we should scan at a 600 dpi resolution and 24-bit color depth. The scanner used was an Epson Expression 1640 XL. Each page of the scrapbook was scanned, including the covers, and saved as a TIFF file, which is the standard for archival-quality digital image files. Each student was responsible for scanning two pages of the scrapbook and converting their very large TIFF page files into smaller JPEG files for use in the digital scrapbook.
Scanning and digitizing the scrapbook images is only the first step in creating the digital scrapbook. Information about the items in the scrapbook (metadata) is needed in order to organize the scrapbook into a cohesive whole. Descriptive metadata is about the objects within the scrapbook, such as playbills, invitations, and letters. This information gives details on the sizes of the objects, what condition they are in, as well as their creators. Preservation metadata is concerned with the digital files themselves. This information denotes the relationships of the files to one another in order to know which objects are from which pages, and how the sequence of the pages should be arranged. Preservation metadata also records who scanned the pages and when.
Because this project was conducted as part of a course on digital libraries, tasks that would normally be done by a small number of people (scanning and metadata collection) were done by all twenty-three members of the class. In order to ensure consistency throughout the scrapbook, it was determined that members of the Digitization and Metadata committees would conduct quality control analysis of the scanned images and the information collected about them.
The members of this committee worked to familiarize themselves with the Greenstone digital library application and built the database in which the digital images and metadata are contained. They worked closely with the Web Design committee to ensure that the process of accessing the information in the database and displaying it in the scrapbook interface would run smoothly.
Using information gathered in the Environmental Scan, this committee constructed a conceptual outline of the information architecture that would be used in our digital scrapbook. Information architecture refers to the structure of the website: where things are located in relation to one another, and how the elements of the whole site are laid out. The committee based the visual design of the digital scrapbook on this conceptual structure, and gained inspiration from the images in the scrapbook pages for color choice and overall aesthetics.
In order to place the Olive Ruby Henty scrapbook in context, we needed to know more about the woman herself, and about the time and place in which she lived. This committee conducted biographical research using other materials, such as yearbooks, in the College Archives. They also researched areas that were of interest to Olive: theater, music, athletics, as well as her area of study, Household Economics. The historical context presented in this section of the website is designed to introduce the user to Boston in the 1910s, and to help them better understand the scrapbook and its creator. This committee also created materials appropriate for teachers and their students so that the digital scrapbook can be used in the classroom.
When digitizing library materials and making them available to the public, copyright and intellectual property issues can be tricky. The Simmons College Archives owns the rights to the scrapbook in question, so we did not have to go through the process of gaining permissions from copyright holders. This team researched the major aspects of copyright issues and created a rights statement regarding the use of the images in the digital scrapbook.
Evaluation and Usability
Once the scrapbook was completed (or nearly completed), this committee conducted a usability study. Four members of the community were selected to complete specific tasks using the digital scrapbook. They each had fifteen minutes in which to complete the tasks and to give us feedback on their experience using the scrapbook. With this information, we were able to make a few last-minute changes that made the scrapbook easier to use.
Marketing and Fundraising
Having conducted this project within a classroom setting, we were granted the luxury of not having to seek out funding or conduct market research for our digital scrapbook. This committee researched the issues of digital library marketing and fundraising in the real world and advised the class on how these activities are normally conducted. They sketched the basic steps of creating a marketing plan and highlighted potential grants that would be appropriate for this particular digital project.
The Project Team:
- Project Management:
- Project Manager: Andrea Medina-Smith
- Documentarian: Joelle Burdette
- MS Project: Bohyun Kim
- Cost Evaluation: Tom Fulda
- Wiki Gardener: Colin Wilkins
- Planning: Prof. Candy Schwartz
- Biography, Background, and History: Kelli Bogan, Clara Drummond, Ann Kardos
- Teaching Resources: Tamar Gonen Brown, Meghan Lydon, Cindy Fisher
- Descriptive: Alison Highfill, Ann Kardos, Sally Legore, Sean Thibodeau
- Preservation: Tamar Gonen Brown, Rachael Lane, Amanda Potter
- Digitization: Tom Fulda, Megan Coleman, Alison Highfill
- Environmental Scan: Kelli Bogan, Megan Coleman, Clara Drummond
- Evaluation and Usability: Sally Legore, Ashley Peterson
- Greenstone: Ben Florin, Tom Hohenstein, Dan London
- Intellectual Property: Nick Chin, Meghan Lydon, Amanda Potter
- Marketing and Fundraising: Joelle Burdette, Bohyun Kim, Rachael Lane
- Quality Control: Sean Thibodeau, Colin Wilkins (Accessibility), Constantine Zavras
- Web Design and Information Architecture: Nick Chin, Cindy Fisher, Ashley Peterson, Constantine Zavras
The students of the Digital Libraries course wish to thank Prof. Candy Schwartz for her insight and guidance throughout this project. College Archivist Donna Webber and Associate Archivist and Records Manager Jason Wood assisted us with the use of the archival materials that compose this digital library.