Friday, July 30, 2010

Muncie and Delaware Historic Maps and Atlases Collection Expanded


This month, 64 additional local historic maps were added to the Muncie and Delaware County Historic Maps and Atlases collection in the Digital Media Repository. The collection has been expanded to include additional townships and local geographic areas such as Smithfield and Selma (shown). These maps are a valuable resource for those interested in the growth of Delaware County during the nineteenth century. This collection utilizes Zoomify.

Friday, July 23, 2010

University Libraries’ Strategic Initiatives Result in Increased Use of the Digital Media Repository by Students, Faculty, and Researchers Globally

The Ball State University Digital Media Repository (DMR), http://libx.bsu.edu, a project of the University Libraries, allows students, faculty, and global community researchers to access primary source materials as varied as historic photographs, oral history interviews, films, and three-dimensional models.

In order to increase use of the repository, librarians, archivists, and system administrators have employed listserv announcements, Wikipedia, blogs, Facebook, and other social networking tools in addition to library instruction, description improvement, and metadata harvesting efforts. Google Analytics, a freely available tool that gathers Web site traffic statistics, provides insight into the efficacy of the University Libraries’ digital asset publicity efforts.



As the number of collections has grown and diversified, local and international researchers have made use of the resources for scholarly, professional, and personal pursuits. In fact, since the 2007 spring semester, the repository has seen a 67.6% increase in site visits in comparison to data from the spring 2010 semester. Furthermore, data from the spring 2007 and spring 2010 semesters indicates a 31% increase in the number of different countries and territories from which the repository was accessed.

The consistent growth of the DMR’s site visits from the local and international communities suggests that efforts to improve digital asset visibility and discoverability through increased use of social networking tools, as well as library instruction and email announcements, are effective.

Researchers find primary sources housed in the Digital Media Repository by directly navigating to the Web site, discovering a link to the DMR from another site, and conducting Web searches. A greater percentage of researchers discovered the DMR in the 2009-2010 academic year through referral sites, rather than search engines. The increased influence of referring sites is consistent with the University Libraries’ efforts to publicize digital collections in online environments such as Facebook and Wikipedia, as well as the utilization of metadata harvesting projects, such as OAIster.

For more information, contact Carolyn F. Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development and University Records, CFRunyon@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Delaware County Aerial Plat Maps Digital Collection Successfully Completed as LSTA Digitization Grant Project


Students, faculty, and researchers now have access to a collection of 858 aerial plat maps of Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana, available globally through Ball State’s Digital Media Repository (DMR), http://libx.bsu.edu, a project of the University Libraries.

The development of the collection was made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) digitization grant for $26,806 awarded to the University Libraries for 2009-10. The grant project was a collaborative effort of the University Libraries and the Delaware County Auditor’s Office, who supplied the maps for digitization.

Created in the 1970’s by the Sidwell Company, each plat map consists of an aerial photograph, which was last updated in 1992, overlaid by a Mylar plat line map, originally drawn in 1976. The aerial plat maps were used by the Delaware County Auditor’s Office to keep track of splits and combines of properties. They were kept in 15 large bound books in the public access area of the Auditor’s Office. The plat maps were periodically updated using red pencil by the Auditor’s staff to mark the division and consolidation of plats, thus maintaining current records on the residential and commercial property.

These valuable historical documents were heavily used in the Auditor’s Office, and many were deteriorating from excessive use. Digitizing them has allowed for new and increased use and 24/7 access. The digital maps can be used to research individual properties and the changing landscape of the community, including land development, land use, urban sprawl, zoning changes, community growth, and illustration of the breakup of family farms.

Researchers accessing the digital collection are able to search for specific maps using a variety of keywords, including street names, incorporated areas or towns, township name, subdivision or addition name, Public Land Survey System numbers (section, township and range), or the plat map number assigned by the Sidwell Company. Plat key maps are also included in the collection to find specific parcels of land at the township level.

This was the fifth consecutive LSTA digitization grant received by the University Libraries. LSTA digitization grants have resulted in significant Indiana-related digital collections being added to the University Libraries’ DMR and to the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Memory online resource.

LSTA grants are funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act and administered by the Indiana State Library. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Digital Media Repository Passes the Quarter-Million Mark

Since its creation, the DMR has sustained a growth rate of more than one new collection per month so that it currently contains 77 collections, plus numerous subcollections. As a result of this aggressive digitization effort, on May 26, 2010, the Digital Media Repository crossed the threshold of one quarter-million digital items – to be exact, 253,322 items are now available in the DMR collections via 92,829 individual and compound records.

To put this growth rate into perspective, Ball State University Libraries have created an average of 68 new records per day, and have placed one new item online and available to the public through the DMR every 2.5 minutes for over five years. This is an unprecedented rate of digital collection building for an institution of our size.

The key to our efficiency and overall success has been the model of interdepart-mental cooperation that was built into the project’s structure. The DMR is a joint project of three separate units, each of which have personnel who lend their particular brand of expertise in the collection building process.

The first is Archives and Special Collections where the archivists research, describe, and prepare the materials for digitization. The second is Metadata and Digital Initiatives, with personnel who digitize the artifacts, create the metadata, and construct and then populate the DMR collections. Third is Library Information Technology Services, where personnel maintain the CONTENTdm content management system and Web servers and create customizations or enhancements as needed.

Representatives of the three departments form the DMR Working Group, chaired by John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives & Special Collections. He also serves as the DMR
project coordinator.

For more information, contact James A. Bradley, Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives, JABradley2@bsu.edu, 765-285-5718.

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 Beginnings Art Exhibition in the DMR


Items from the Beginnings art exhibition, on display through July 10th in the BSU Art and Journalism Building, were digitized and made available through the Digital Media Repository's Ball State Student Art digital collection.

Pieces were photographed using state of the art equipment and metadata records were created for each item, making the artworks are searchable and accessible in an online format. View the items here. Pictured right is Figure Study (Contour of Varied Width) by Shane Eagan.

"Beginnings is an annual exhibition of student artwork completed in the first year of study. The foundation courses represented are Drawing I and II (figure drawing) and Foundations I (2-D design) and II (3-D design). These courses concentrate on media exploration and technique, the elements and principles of composition, the applied and theoretical use of color, developing a command of an artist’s vocabulary, and defining a meaningful context for visual expression" (http://www.bsu.edu/calendar/event/0,1361,--28318,00.html). The exhibitions are free and open to a general audience.