About the Project
This project began with a physical scrapbook of collected ephemera and ended in a digital, searchable, interactive online collection. This website was created by the Spring 2013 Digital Libraries class of the Simmons College Graduate School for Library and Information Science (GSLIS), taught by Professor Candy Schwartz. The students began this project in January 2013 and completed it in April of the same year. The class was divided into 10 committees with separate but related tasks and assignments. Students had to research options, present choices, make decisions, and troubleshoot all aspects of their committee’s responsibilities, allowing the course to function like a real-world project. In order to keep everything on track, the class used project management software and was overseen by a project manager.
The Project Manager played a crucial role in guiding the project to a timely completion. Anne chose our project management software, created agendas, ran meetings, and calculated a critical path that assigned an order and timeline to all activities. She made decisions and enforced deadlines to keep everyone on track.
The Content Committee explored Louise’s scrapbook and related the college yearbooks to gain an understanding of life at Simmons and in the greater world at the time of the scrapbook’s creation. These students composed the text of the website to convey the historical context of Louise’s life and experiences. They also added teaching materials to aid in further inspiration and learning.
Descriptive Metadata Committee
The Descriptive Metadata Committee decided on the most appropriate metadata scheme and standards to be used in item records within the collection. They presented their choices in class and wrote a descriptive metadata manual that was used by the class to describe every item in the scrapbook. The metadata seen on the final website went through a quality control check performed by this committee.
The Digitization Committee oversaw the process of converting physical items into a digital format. This meant working closely with the Simmons Archives to organize access to the scrapbook and scanners, and dividing and managing the scanning workload across their classmates. This committee also had responsibilities in: file naming, scanning processes, image editing software, and in the quality control of digital objects.
Environmental Scan Committee
The Environmental Scan Committee created a survey of similar digital library projects, which allowed the class to gain awareness of the types of projects already in existence and of which visual and usability features worked best. The Environmental Scan Committee constructed a survey for the class regarding these comparable digital libraries, compiling and presenting the results. The findings of this survey helped the class make decisions on the tools and organizational structure of this website.
Evaluation and Usability Committee
The Evaluation and Usability Committee researched and constructed an evaluation of the functionality and quality of this website. They worked in the GSLIS Usability Lab with student subjects to run tests and gather results. They presented their findings and recommendations to the class. Their work ensured the resulting web page would be well-organized and intuitive.
Rights Management Supervisor
Marketing Committee was responsible for fund raising, creating the site logo, composing the site title and other design and branding choices, budgeting, and advertising the digital library across the Simmons community. They also planned, organized and ran the celebratory final unveiling event for the project.
Working with the Digitization Committee, the Preservation Committee played a leading role in how digital files were created and saved. This committee researched options and best practices for: file formats, image quality, image size, locations of saved files, preservation metadata, and the preservation of the digital library as a whole. They also updated the Digital Libraries Preservation Plan to be worked with by students and staff in the future.
Systems Committee worked with Omeka software to construct, test, and refine the database and web pages that make up this digital library. They drafted layout and navigation ideas, presenting them to the class for feedback. This committee also worked with the Evaluation and Usability Committee to change website in response to the usability test results and to accessibility and design standards.
See more photos of the class at work on this project on our Flickr page.
Special thanks to Candy Schwartz, Pablo Morales, and the staff at the Simmons College Archives for their encouragement, leadership, and support of this project.