In addition to great added functionality like item-level statistics for external users, the UF Digital Collections‘ underlying SobekCM system is always improving in terms of internal infrastructure. One recent major enhancement is the “Directory” view. The Directory View is very important to ensure we can easily and quickly check and verify all files, including all metadata files, and locate, copy, and send any files per patron request. This was a very small technical change, with significant day-to-day operational benefits. In keeping with principles for smart design, the internal Directory View is built within the same external user views – ensuring that we trouble-shoot and verifyRead More →

The UFDC Programmer, Mark Sullivan, put a browse by thumbnail cover in place not too recently, but so many other wonderful items have been loading and so many other improvements have been made that I’m just now catching up to mention the cover browse. The cover browse allows anyone to see the thumbnail images for the covers or first pages of all issues/volumes in an item. This means users can browse all of the first pages of a newspaper or all of the covers of a journal. The cover browse is an excellent example of elegant simplicity. It uses existing information and functionality–the thumbnails forRead More →

The photos above are of our Digital Library Sign, and they’re now online in UFDC (which is harvestable by robots as UFDC2) and online in our Flickr account. These pictures are particularly nice because they include so many of the other images we’ve worked on over the years. It’s also nice to show off some of our office, most of which doesn’t show as well as our work, as shown through the boxes in the photo above, but our messy daily work leads to gorgeously finished materials available online.Read More →

On Monday morning, Val Davis (from the University of Florida Marston Science Library) and I presented on “Bioactive: A Library Game” (currently online here) that several UF librarians made as an alternative to the standard 40 minute library intro tutorial to increase student engagement with the actual work of learning about using library resources. Bioactive was originally designed in Inform and it’s now moved to a web quest design, which is an even greater simplificiation from the earlier text-based Inform format. The simplicity of the design is for sustainability and ease of maintenance, but it’s more importantly used to ensure that the interface doesn’t getRead More →

37Signals’ blog recently featured a discussion of path vs hierarchical navigation. As many of the commentators noted, hierarchies and paths both have their uses and a mixture of both based on need and site are often useful. For many websites, creating paths is a relatively straightforward process. For UF’s Digital Collections, we create paths by allowing users to sort their results and to link to similar from the results, but most notably by organizing all of the collections into thematic collections (historical children’s literature, newspapers, Florida photographs) and by providing starting points into more manageable sub-collections through these groupings. We also create direct links fromRead More →

The Digital Library has been experimenting with pop-up and movable books, in part to abstract methods for working with movables into optimum ways for representing books as textual objects. One of the projects that came of the work with pop-ups is this version of a Cinderella Panoramic Book. We’re also looking at a Flash page flipper for some of the scrapbooks and other flip-like books. We’ll be working to create files and then reconstruct the Flash page-flipping in Open Laszlo (so we can migrate it forward in DHTML and in Flash as the versions change).Read More →

One of the more interesting new Web 2.0-style mashups are library and museum partnerships. Both have large collections that need to be interconnected and digitized for easier and expanded access. However, libraries have traditionally focused on information access and museums on exhibit-access with the display significant to the materials. As more special collections go online and more information in general, display and access are both becoming more important for libraries and museums. The image above is a shot from a SketchUp file of Gallery B in the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. This is just oneRead More →

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an post about libraries in the digital age. The post notes that digitization projects often lead to a patchwork of online materials that aren’t available within an integrated interface. This is certainly true for the time being, but steps toward integration can be seen in the WorldCat’s full catalog listings for so many different libraries and from corporations as they attempt to catalog or at least extract catalog-style metadata from information sources. For instance, Microsoft Live Labs’ pages have a note on their work on entity abstraction and the image of it is listed here. I started noticing theRead More →

While the map linked from this slideshow isn’t actually accurate because nearly all of the images are from the University of Florida’s original Library, Smathers East, and I spread them out for easier viewing, the map does accurately show why there’s reason to be excited because Picasa has improved once again. Not only can the images in Picasa be mapped, the images now show as small icons of the images instead of the generic picture icon, and the individual images can be clicked on and enlarged and they can be played in a slide-show format across the map. The slideshow with the map is aRead More →