Tales from the Tech Side: A look at Doctor or Doctress from our developer

 Digital history, Happenings  Comments Off on Tales from the Tech Side: A look at Doctor or Doctress from our developer
Nov 212014
 

-by guest blogger Chris Clement, Library Applications Developer, Drexel University Libraries

Doctor or Doctress is a digital history project that enables students to to understand and interpret history through the eyes of early women physicians by using primary sources. While much has been said about the content, the development and underlying technologies of the site have not been discussed.

Doctor or Doctress is built on top of a piece of software called Islandora, which provides a user-friendly interface that allows the addition of content to the underlying repository software, Fedora.  The content in Doctor or Doctress is broken down into stories, which are comprised of a timeline, a set of documents (images, books, audio, and video), and textual/narrative information. Each story and document in Islandora is a Fedora object that has a unique persistent identifier (PID) and a set of datastreams, which store the content of the uploaded document and any additional data associated with that object. The largest technical challenges of building this site were getting multiple types of content to display on a single page, integrating a timeline into each story, and tying everything together through administrative interfaces.

When I first started work on Doctor or Doctress, displaying multiple types of content on a single page in Islandora was not something I had seen done.  Every object in Islandora has a content type associated with it (PDF, large image, video, etc.)  To handle the unique display requirements, I created a new “story” content type. Story objects have additional custom datastreams that specify the IDs of related documents, story- and document-level metadata, and timeline data. I also created custom layouts for stories and documents to allow the display of images, video/audio players, and book readers on the same page. These layouts were loosely based on default layouts for individual content types.

Similar to displaying multiple content types on a single page, timeline integration and display was another feature I had failed to find on any other Islandora site.  After reviewing the features and capabilities of various timeline tools and libraries with the Legacy Center staff, we settled on Timeglider, a Javascript-based tool for creating timelines. To integrate Timeglider with Islandora, I implemented a mechanism to transform timeline data associated with a story into JSON, a format understandable by Timeglider. This mechanism took into account special timeline events that were associated with a story document, displaying that document’s thumbnail along the top of the timeline above the corresponding event.  Additionally, I wrote a custom event handler to define a custom popup window to appear when users click story document events.

Designing a way to allow administrators to create new stories, associate documents, and populate timelines was not trivial. Islandora provides a tool for building web forms for gathering data from users and populating whole datastreams when adding an object. For story creation and document association, I created a standard story-level metadata form, as well as a document-level metadata form, and set them up to populate custom datastreams on the story object. I designed an interface for populating the timeline for a story as well, allowing administrators to manage events, specifying a number of parameters such as start date, end date, title, description, and an option to link  a story document to an event.

Working on Doctor or Doctress was very rewarding. The unique nature of the site, combined with the underlying technologies, provided a set of interesting challenges to overcome. Tough decisions had to be made, but I think the end result speaks for itself. I am proud to have been a part of this project, and look forward to seeing it continue to grow.

Check out Doctor or Doctress here!  You can follow Chris on Twitter @Null_is_Null

Hear ye, hear ye! Bradford’s “labor of love” now digitized for all!

 Archival procedures, From the collections, Happenings  Comments Off on Hear ye, hear ye! Bradford’s “labor of love” now digitized for all!
Oct 212014
 

To view all 36 volumes of Bradford’s Biographies of Homeopathic Physicians
on Internet Archive, click here.

Dr. Bradford, librarian and former lecturer on the history of medicine at Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, completed his Biographies of Homeopathic Physicians in 1918. His Biographies consist of 36 massive scrapbook volumes, most with well over 300 pages. Inside a volume, you’ll find newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, notes from transactions of Philadelphia-area medical societies, and excerpts from William Harvey King’s History of Homeopathy and its Institutions in America. If you can think of a late 19th- or early 20th-century homeopathic physician (women physicians included), it’s likely there’s some information about him or her in Bradford’s scrapbooks »

Thomas Lindsley Bradford was born in New Hampshire on June 6, 1847. He attended Harvard Medical School and then the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, where he received his degree in 1869. Until 1877, Bradford practiced in Maine and traveled to various medical institutions in Europe and Great Britain. In 1877, he moved to Philadelphia to practice and was “a prominent figure in homœopathic circles”1. Bradford published various other works, including the History of The Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia and A Characteristic Materia Medica. He was lecturer on the history of Medicine at Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia from 1895 to 1900, and served as the College’s librarian from 1894.

 

As librarian, Bradford seemed to be protective of his books, and there is no doubt in my mind he was (a bit) strict with the medical students who came in to use his books. The title page in his scrapbook, for example, advises: “These books are not to be taken from the Library Reading Room, and are to be kept under lock and key. Excerpts may be made from them by any responsible person. It is hoped that they may never be mutilated by literary vandals. They represent much labor, but it has been a labor of love.” I wonder if these “literary vandals” were the types to scrawl quotes such as “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” (T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock”) in the margins while twirling their mustaches…?

 

For the past couple weeks, I have been working on making Bradford’s Biographies available on Internet Archive (IA). Last time we here at the Legacy Center uploaded a book to IA, we had some…struggles. However, this time, after browsing the forums, we decided to try one poster’s suggestion of uploading books as .pdf files, rather than going through the process of file re-naming, zipping, etc., etc. All 36 volumes of the scrapbooks had been shot using our camera several years ago. The master .tiff files were really large, so I began the process of converting all to .jpg files. Unfortunately, converting to .jpg files with a resolution of 12 did not reduce the file size enough to create a PDF (Adobe Acrobat really, really hated them) so, taking advice from my colleague, I tried downgrading to a 10 resolution, at which level the images still looked good. Initially, we were concerned about the image quality because IA makes derivatives from the uploaded file, which in our case had been already been through some downsampling. However, a test upload proved our fears wrong.

The next hurdle to overcome: Acrobat still really, really hated some of the files; well, those over 2 GB.  It was back to the drawing board (I mean scouring the internet in desperation) to find a solution. One helpful person posted a blog about their issues with saving large .pdf files (Adobe just won’t save if they’re over 2 GB): save them as  PDF/X. For some reason unbeknownst to me, or perhaps because this format is meant “facilitate graphics properties,” it worked! While I got an error message that my PDFs did not convert “properly” to PDF/X, it still saved successfully, and honestly, they look better than the regular .pdf files did. So from .tiff to .jpg to .pdfx, the pages of Bradford’s “labor of love” slowly became upload-able, and one step closer to being accessible for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Uploading the files to IA was the easiest part. There’s even a option to save the basic metadata that’s input at the time of upload, so I didn’t need to enter it 36 times, although the addition of fields such as “contributor” and “rights” had to be added manually after the objects were derived (usually a few hours). And something else to keep in mind: don’t try uploading with Mozilla Firefox; use Google Chrome, as Chrome’s upload limit is 4 GB as opposed to Firefox’s 2 GB. Fortunately, I was smart enough to check up on this before attempting the first upload.

Like Bradford writing his Biographies, uploading them for me “represent[s] much labor, but it has been a labor of love.”

To view all 36 volumes of Bradford’s Biographies of Homeopathic Physicians on Internet Archive, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. King, William Harvey. History of homoeopathy and its institutions in America; their founders, benefactors, faculties, officers, hospitals, alumni, etc., with a record of achievement of its representatives in the world of medicine. New York, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905. 

“We give our vote for a lady physician here”:
Welcoming Doctor or Doctress

 Digital history, Education and outreach, Happenings  Comments Off on “We give our vote for a lady physician here”:
Welcoming Doctor or Doctress
Sep 232014
 

Our long-awaited (and worked upon) digital history project is finally what we can call “complete”!

Please welcome Doctor or Doctress: Exploring American history through the eyes of women physicians. Doctor or Doctress is not just a digital collections website or online exhibit; it is both, and something more.

Our original intention for Doctor or Doctress was “to enable students to become history detectives, conducting their own research in American history by exploring the stories of pioneering medical women.” We wanted to create a website that featured our collection material as ‘stories’; as a new way to discover, engage with, and interpret primary source documents. We wanted to create a site that would allow primary source material to reach and be interesting to high school students. High school students are generally underserved by resources like digital collections and online exhibits. Students don’t know to look for them, and if they find them, may not know how valuable and engaging they can be. Such sites don’t often market to high schools students; however, at least in the archives field, outreach to younger people is a hot discussion topic, and one that many repositories are acting upon.  But that’s another blog post.

Our ‘stories’ are created around primary source documents. These materials are put into a larger historical context, giving students a chance to place individual people in events during American history, and allowing them to connect with history in a more meaningful way.  The core documents of each story can be explored in several ways: a digital version of the original, through an excerpted typed transcript, or through an audio file (a huge hit with students!). Discussion questions help guide interpretation and give students a focus when interacting with historical documents.

Our development team customized the out-of-the-box Islandora software, allowing it to support this complex interpretive content and functionality that makes Doctor or Doctress stand out from standard collections management databases.  Islandora’s potential for an innovative collections management database and exhibit showcase had not been fully explored, so our work was new and, of course, quite challenging at times.  However, the end result meets our requirements, is attractive, and functions well, and because Islandora is open-source, others can learn from our project.

It’s hard to believe that the project formerly known as “the digital history toolkit” is now complete, and ready for Phase II development (which will include more content and possibly more interactive features).  From post-it notes to the web, it’s been a challenging, but satisfying, journey to Doctor or Doctress.

Beta has arrived for Doctor or Doctress?

 Digital history, Happenings, On the move  Comments Off on Beta has arrived for Doctor or Doctress?
May 122014
 

As April rolls into May, our (now named!) digital history project is now in its beta testing phase.  We are sending it off to our project advisors and to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (our grant funders) for some feedback.  We’re especially excited to hear back from all the students and teachers who have tested out our story content and site functionality over the past three years.  While we still have some kinks – design-wise and interface-wise – to work out, we can say that we’re happy with the outcome, albeit exhausted.

More news about “Doctor or Doctress?” coming in September as we plan for our ‘official’ launch.  For more project and grant information, see our earlier blog, Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit, or visit the interpretation planning section of our website here.

 

Almost beta: High school students and our (yet unnamed) digital history project

 Digital history, Happenings  Comments Off on Almost beta: High school students and our (yet unnamed) digital history project
Feb 132014
 

Well before (okay, at least a few months before) our digital history project will be launched, we visited two Philadelphia-area high schools last month to test our website in its beginning stages.  We focused on one story: “Two Women, Two Paths: Eliza Grier and Matilda Evans.” (An earlier blog post about testing the story content can be found at: Two Women, Two Paths.)  Our goal was to find out how the students navigated our as-of-yet rather basic site, and to make changes to the design, navigation, and user interface based upon our results.

As of now, our story includes about five ‘core documents,’ the ones we rely on as evidence; several ‘related documents,’ meant to enrich the content; a ‘background,’ which tells the story and gives general historical context pertaining to it; questions to consider while browsing through the documents; and a teaser video.  Each core document has attached to it a brief description, an image of the original, a transcript of the excerpted sections and audio to complement it, questions for discussion, and a ‘why it matters’ section, designed to let users know why this document is important as evidence to the story (or in general!).

Whew! Not too much content to fit into one page (for the stories)…or a pop-up window (for the documents), correct?

So several of the staff members here, along with a colleague from the Drexel Library, set out to see how students interacted with the page, knowing that the feedback might mean a lot more work, but in the end would create a better user experience.

Not surprisingly, many students watched the video first.  Some felt it was too short; the video was only 60 seconds.  Others felt the video was “too general” and would have liked it to provide more information about the story.

Students also seemed to like having the transcript and the audio for the documents.  They questioned the placement of the audio player, and some didn’t know the transcript was underneath the player.  Other students found the navigation on the viewer to be troublesome.  However, a lot of students commented they enjoyed being able to see the original document, and that the transcript and audio made it easier to figure out the handwriting and follow along.

Because our project is still in its early development phases, students had various comments about navigation: they found it hard to scroll from horizontally, as an example.  Many students said the pictures and the videos caught their eyes first; this is what we kind of expected, although it’s good to have confirmation.  Another rather common comment was that they way the content was presented felt a bit overwhelming; they wanted a cleaner layout with more visual components and one that was more aesthetically pleasing.

Overall, we found that students enjoyed going through the stories, and may wanted to “know more.” (Ah, the nature of archival material!)  Although they enjoyed using it, most said they wouldn’t visit the site unless it was for an assignment, which isn’t too surprising.  They found the questions and the ‘why it matters’ section useful for hypothetical assignments, although many admitted they wouldn’t bother with those if they were just browsing out of interest; again, not surprising.

While we have much feedback to wade through and changes to be worked out, it was fantastic seeing students enjoying seeing all this “old stuff” and really digging the images of original documents.

Guest post from intern Tracy Ulmer

 Archival procedures, From the collections, Happenings  Comments Off on Guest post from intern Tracy Ulmer
Jan 302014
 

 by intern Claire (Tracy) Ulmer
This article is also posted on the HCI-PSAR blog. 

This fall I processed two collections as part of the HCI-PSAR Internship Pilot Program, facilitated by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR). As part of this project I received guidance and supervision from professional archivists at the Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections where I processed the Jessie Laird Brodie, M.D. papers and at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, where I processed the Philadelphia Canoe Club records.

The end goal of this internship pilot program was to make better known and more accessible the hidden archival collections held at the numerous small repositories throughout the five-county Philadelphia area (as well as to work out any kinks in the program!). While I certainly aided in this end goal, it was not the end goal I had for myself.

Other than an assignment for an archival studies class at Drexel University where I processed a collection of just 50 pages, I had no experience in processing archival collections. Sure, I had all the theory, knew all the lingo… but processing a comparatively small-scale class assignment and an actual collection are two very different things! This internship was a chance for me to merge my knowledge with experience.

I first processed the personal papers of Jessie Laird Brodie, M.D. and then the organizational papers of the Philadelphia Canoe Club. Over the months I learned first-hand what I recall discussing in all of my archival studies classes: what one wants to accomplish following archival theory is very different from what one might be capable of accomplishing given situational circumstances! It is theory versus reality, and it can be as frustrating as all get out.

Jessie Laird Brodie, MD collection before processing

Time, of course, is always a limiting factor, and my biggest challenge as I felt the pinch while processing both collections, particularly when I had to remind myself that I did not have time for minutia. Time versus thoroughness became my internal mantra. This factor inevitably led to compromise between the ideal and reality. For example, for the Jessie Laird Brodie, M.D. papers I was not able to organize or describe the 800 some odd 35 mm slides beyond, “The slides appear to be of Brodie’s travels outside the United States and are generally labeled with the country shown in the slides, but do not always have a date.” While frustrating, I had to accept that this area of the collection was simply not going to receive as much attention in terms of physical or intellectual arrangement.

Limiting how much attention I could give the two collections was a particular difficulty for me. The desire to get into every nook and cranny, figuratively speaking, was immense. As someone looking to enter the archival profession, where such detailed work is generally not possible due to time constraints, funding, and backlogs, pulling back from the minute was something I had to remind myself of every day I worked on the collections. Certainly starting with a collection of personal papers this was more difficult, but working on an organizational collection at the Chestnut Hill Historical Society was comparatively much easier. Folder labels were typically obvious and straightforward; for the most part I did not have to spend time double-checking that the contents of a folder were what the folder title purported them to be.

Jessie Laird Brodie, MD collection after processing

After working with two types of archival collections, there were two key principles I have since taken in mind: there are numerous ways to process any given collection; time and experience will help me to ferret out the best way to process various types of collections in the shortest amount of time possible. Also: always double check to make sure you pull all of the boxes belonging to one collection so you do not end up with a surprise box at the end when you go to put the collection away!

 Posted by on January 30, 2014

PACSCL Hidden Collections comes to DUCOM

 Happenings  Comments Off on PACSCL Hidden Collections comes to DUCOM
Jan 072014
 

Hahnemann Medical College records

Funded through the Council of Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundations Grant, the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections (PACSCL) has begun its second venture into uncovering the “hidden collections” of Philadelphia area repositories. Here at the Legacy Center, our PACSCL processors will be delving into the records of Hahnemann Medical College, one of the predecessors of the Drexel College of Medicine.

Hahnemann Medical College, ca. 1890

Hahnemann Hospital and Nurses’ Building, 15th Street, ca. 1910

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania was founded in Philadelphia in 1848 by Constantine Hering, Jacob Jeanes, and Walter Williamson. Homeopathy was becoming a somewhat popular alternative to traditional medicine, and the school was one of the first homeopathic medical schools in the United States. The College continually faced financial problems, and in 1867, Hering resigned his position after additional conflicts about the pathology and diagnostics department, and opened a new school, the Hahnemann Medical College. The two colleges merged in 1871 as Hahnemann Medical College. The College continued to focus its education on homeopathy until the 1920s and 1930s, when it began teaching traditional medicine. In 1941, Hahnemann Medical College began admitting women.

Drs. Charles Bailey and Joseph DiPalma

 

In the 1960s, Hahnemann rid itself completely of its homeopathic past and focused on the mid-20th century medical practices prescribed by the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges. The faculty organized and directed laboratory work and clinical research programs, and implemented the modern teaching methods of the second half of the 20th century. Hahnemann was re-inventing itself as a nationally known academic medical center with prominence in cardiac surgery and cardiology, oncology, transplantation, training of non-physician health professionals, community health and community mental health. In 1981, it became a university with four fully accredited schools: the School of Medicine, Graduate School, School of Allied Health Professions, and School of Continuing Education.

In 1995, Hahnemann University merged with the Medical College of Pennsylvania (formerly Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania) under the Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation. In 1998, with bankruptcy looming near for AHERF, Drexel University began operating the school as MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine, and in 2002, it became the Drexel University College of Medicine.

The Legacy Center’s Hahnemann Medical College records include the papers from former deans, faculty members, and academic departments. To learn more about the Hidden Collections project, visit “About the Project”. Meet our hard-working processors, Steve and Annalise, on the “Project Team” section.

Interested in reading more about Hahnemann Medical College? Check out An Alternative Path by Naomi Rogers.

On The Move … Again

 Digital history, Happenings, On the move  Comments Off on On The Move … Again
Jul 182013
 

The Legacy Center is once again contemplating a move but this time it’s a virtual one.  As part of a wider digital history project to encourage young students’ understanding and interpretation of history through primary documents, the Center is adopting a new software called Islandora to manage and preserve its repository.  Islandora

Developed at the University of Prince Edward Island, Islandora is an open-source software designed to preserve and manage the data that is associated with an institution’s collection. Since Islandora’s creation in 2006 it has been installed at over 60 institutions around the world, ranging from small research labs to university libraries to major museums.

Having looked at other possibilities such as Collective Access or building onto our existing custom system, we were attracted to Islandora because of its integration with Drupal. We had considered Fedora in the past but found it cumbersome.  Because Islandora works with Drupal’s content management system, not only does it manage objects, it makes it easy to preserve their digital form.

Legacy Center Digital Collections

Our current digital collections interface

We are still at the early stages of this process. Working with our colleagues at the Drexel Libraries,  we are just starting to learn what Islandora can do for us and how we can customize it to meet our needs. So far we have learned how to add objects like images and multi-page objects such as books and small pamphlets, add metadata, and view and modify datastreams.

We’ve encountered a few challenges so far. One of our biggest tasks is not related to the software directly but critical to our project nonetheless: prioritizing our objectives. How do we make the best use of our budget?  How do we incorporate the needs of our diverse user group, from academic researchers to high school students? Do we focus on just the digital history project initially or the entire collection?

One of our top priorities is ensuring we make the best use of our budget. Since this project is grant funded by Pew’s Heritage Philadelphia Program we have pretty strict rules about how we spend our money. Even though the software is open source we’re working with Discovery Garden (DGI), Islandora’s development and client solutions team, for the initial installation and some training. We’re still determining what other project components we’ll outsource and what we’ll manage in-house.

Another challenge we face is in understanding error messages and how to fix them.  Some of the metadata we have entered for objects seems to disappear. Thankfully, between DGI, our library colleagues, and the Islandora Google Groups forum we are confident that we can troubleshoot the problem.

Our goal is to have Islandora ready for testing in late fall, populated with all our digital history project items as we prepare for a full migration of our digital database. Eventually we hope to expand the number of resources available digitally and continually offer new ways for users to interact and explore primary documents. Stay tuned as the project evolves and we learn more about Islandora. To learn more about the digital history project, visit: http://archives.drexelmed.edu/ip_home.php

 Posted by on July 18, 2013

Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit

 Digital history, Happenings  Comments Off on Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit
Sep 172012
 

The Legacy Center was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Heritage Philadelphia Program (HPP) of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to develop Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit, a web resource that will make the our rich online Women in Medicine collection easily accessible to a new audience of high school students.

Typically, the only members of the public to interact with these materials are our researchers.  By creating a new way to access and interpret these primary sources, we hope to inspire high school students – and others – to enjoy history and encourage them to use historical documents to learn about the past.

While our project was in the planning stages, we found that high school students care deeply about gender inequality and social justice.  Using two of our ‘story’ ideas, these students read newspaper clippings, letters, and diary entries to delve into the lives of some of our early women physicians.  Approaching historical topics through the lens of individual women’s experience provides, in the words of one student, “a way in,” to history for students who are unmoved by traditional history curricula.  It provides a way for students to learn and understand that history is not just straight facts; history is people, and can be told from many differing viewpoints.

             

 

 

 

 

For those of you not familiar with us or our collections, our repository holds not only the records for Drexel University College of Medicine, but its predecessor institutions as well, including Hahnemann Medical College and Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Woman’s Med was the first medical school for women in the United States, and was founded in 1850 in Philadelphia.  With such a rich history, much of our materials are related to these early pioneering women doctors and the obstacles they overcame.

Our collections give substance and meaning to what students are facing today, while encouraging historically informed civic engagement and inspiring young people, especially girls, to pursue careers in science and medicine.  With Playing with the Past, we hope to teach students not only how to work with primary sources, but to love history as well.

More information about the grant can be found at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Pew 2012 Grantee Press Release.

 Posted by on September 17, 2012

Open for Interpretation: Squeezing more use out of our collections

 Happenings  Comments Off on Open for Interpretation: Squeezing more use out of our collections
Sep 182010
 

We’ve been preparing for three exhibits, one opened last week and two others are fast approaching:

September 24: Parallel exhibits on the early history of American Medical Women’s Association and American Women’s Hospital Service, developed through the hard work of excellent intern Alex Miller — that’s Alex setting up the case in the photo. Exhibit in our lobby.
October 6: Changing the Face of Medicine, a traveling exhibit put together several years ago by the National Library of Medicine (online exhibition at NLM) that uses a lot of our collection material. We’ll be supplementing the traveling component with a couple exhibit cases of original items.
October 21: Kickoff event and exhibit associated with the conference for the far-reaching Vision 2020 gender equality initiative. At the National Constitution Center in Philly.
“Interpretation,” if you aren’t familiar with it, is a term most often used by museum folks. That’s an understatement: Interpretation is the word that drives museum folks. It refers to selection of artifacts and archives to illustrate a certain theme or story.

Interpretation is the process that uses a story to connect the stuff to the audience.

Two different groups of archival materials could be used to illustrate the same story. Or one group of materials could illustrate multiple stories.
As an archivist, I love interpretation:
  1. Interpretation creates use: We’re not waiting for the researchers to come to us, we’re getting out into the physical and online communities to bring the stories to them. The wonderful thing is that interpretative cycles back onto itself — the increased awareness leads to more researchers becoming interested and can even result in new donations of archival materials.
  2. Interpretation creates a story: People love stories about people and events. And our collections are full of stories of people who have the grit and gumption (dagnabbit) to actually inspire people. Exhibits and other outreach efforts make these stories relevant to people’s lives.
  3. Interpretation is creative: It is challenging and fun to create something that tells a story, uses historical documents and artifacts, and appeals to a wide audience. Interpretation allows us to be partial and to tell a story from a certain point of view. Haha! Take that, objectivity!
As I understand it — I’m new here by the way — this sort of exhibit development is not something we’ve been intensively involved in until recently. But as of late, we’re all about interpretation. In addition to these three exhibits, we have our upcoming planning grant to use online archives in Grades 6-12 (more about this is a previous post).

I love researchers, they’re probably my favorite part of the job, but I think interpretation, outreach and education are the direction archival repositories need to go to really be valuable to society. For every 10 researchers who use our collections in-depth, we might have hundreds or thousands of users of our exhibits or teacher materials. The wonderful thing is that this isn’t an either-this-or-that calculation, we can do both. We should do both. And both feed into each other: Use begets use.

Want to see these exhibits? Well you’ve got me there…you’ll have to visit the places they’re installed. Or you can wait until we get our online exhibit space up and running (using Omeka, for those of you who are interested).