Revamped Archives & Special Collections Web Presence

We have introduced a revamped website for Davidson’s archives and special collections.   If you visit the site you may not notice any differences at first glance.  The banners, color schemes, rotating images, embedded Google search, and news & events all are essentially the same as they were a week or a month ago.      You might detect that we’ve changed some of the information in the left hand column regarding our offices hours, but a bit of text change doesn’t really count as a revamping of the site.    If you spend a couple of seconds more examining the home page we hope you realize we have streamlined the main navigation across the top of the site.  Where we used to have eight main navigation categories (Home, About, Community Space, Encyclopedia, Rare Book Room, Digital Collections, Digital Exhibits, and Indexes & Databases), we now have only five (Home, About, College History, Local History, Digital Collections, and catalogs).

Archives site

Archives site

So why did we make this change?   First we hope that the new categories will make it easier to find things.   In the old navigation some of the headings, like “Encyclopedia” or “Community Space, “didn’t make sense unless you already knew what they meant.  Secondly, the navigation tended to indicate what type of thing you would find, a digital collection or an index, but not actually tell you what the information or items you find will be about.  Would those digital collections be about the college, the town, or the region? With the new navigation we hope to offer clearer choices, and navigation by subjects like college or local history, while also maintaining tabs that allow access by type of information such as catalogs or digital collections.

The final reason for reorganizing the site is to integrate Davidson’s new institutional repository into the site.   I’ve written about the work leading up to the creation of the repository repository here and here, and we are officially rolling out the beta version. The repository will house a number of digital collections associated with Davidson including; artifacts, college publications, faculty & staff publications, honors theses and other student works, digitized items from the rare book room and student organization publications.

We hope to bring the IR out of beta status soon, but need your help in two areas.  From a functional standpoint, we are working through some bugs in the search functionality and on instituting faceting to narrow search results. Please let us know if you get strange results.  More importantly, we need the help of Davidson faculty, staff and students to obtain more content.   Within the constraints of proper intellectual property practices, we want to use the IR to put forward to the world the outstanding intellectual output represented by scholarly works created at Davidson. We will continue to engage with all of you to increase the percent of these works we capture.  If you are the author or creator of works that fall into the categories in the IR please consider contributing them to the IR.  If you think we are missing categories of works that should be included, or just of questions related to the project please reach out and let us know.    Last but not least if you can come up with a better name than “Davidson College Digital Repository” PLEASE let us know.  We look forward to your feedback.