The Digital Collections Files

Showcasing the technology, services, and contents of our digital collections platform.
A trypitch if images for our digital collections featuring fungi, a jell-o recipe, and a Chinese dancer.

Posts in The Digital Collections Files

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 items
A colorful fish dressed in a jacket and backwards cap made of newsprint holding a microphone and performing rap music.
  • Kat Hagedorn
  • Robyn Ness
In our inaugural Digital Collections Connection meeting on March 7, 2024, we shared a couple of slides that showcase the history of the technical infrastructure for digital collections at U-M Library. During the session, we heard that this overview of our systems was helpful to content partners in understanding current functionality and limitations. We wanted to take this opportunity to share the diagrams more widely and to provide more context and historical information about the origins of, and recent changes to, our digital collections platform.
An abstract painting by U-M Professor Rudolph Arnheim
  • Emma Brown
  • Robyn Ness
The U-M Library’s digital collections recently expanded to include an Audio and Moving Image (or AMI) digital collections interface. This post details a designer's journey in finding a banner image for the Hazen Schumacher's Jazz Revisited Radio Show digital collection.
Results for "polar bear" in U-M ArcLight finding aids.
  • Kat Hagedorn
  • Robyn Ness
  • Chris Powell
  • John Weise
After the successful launch of our ArcLight finding aids application on April 19, 2023 - and the deprecating of our homegrown Digital Library eXtension Service (DLXS) finding aids application - we are sharing our reflections on the project with the wider community. This blog post will describe the history of finding aids at the University of Michigan Library and what led us to develop the ArcLight finding aids application, starting in earnest in 2020. We will describe our goals for the project, the organization of the development team, and the modifications that we needed to make to effectively complete the project. We will give an overview of what a finding aids application does, and why we decided to use ArcLight as well as Docker and Kubernetes as our new containerization and hosting solution. We will discuss what was advantageous to us for this project as well as what was particularly challenging, and sum up what we learned from our archives partners and end-users, throughout the project.
Screen capture of the home page of the new Finding Aids site with call to action text Find Archival Materials above a search box and next to a featured image of a Jell-O dessert advertisement from the Culinary Ephemera collection.
  • Robyn Ness
U-M Library is launching a new version of our Finding Aids site in early 2023, replacing a homegrown system that’s been in use for over 20 years with ArcLight, an open-source system widely used by academic libraries and archives. The site is currently available as a public beta for preview and will be available at the same URL going forward.
Gallery View of new interface for image digital collections.
  • Kat Hagedorn
  • Roger Roberto Espinosa
  • Bridget Burke
It’s been nearly a decade since we last refreshed our image digital collections. At that time, we created a standard web template, constructed consistent help pages, cleaned up our collection home pages, and built what was at the time an easier way to view and interact with the images in the interface. This time, we’re doing more! We have a brand-new interface and a number of additional and improved features.
Woman Seen at Market
  • Lauren Havens
Digital Content & Collections (DCC) relies on content and subject experts to bring us new digital collections.From July 2018 to Jun 2019, our digital collections received 67.9 million views. During the pandemic, when there was an increased need for digital resources, usage of the digital collections jumped to 86.5 million views (July 2019-Jun 2020) and 89 million views (July 2020-June 2021). Thank you to the many people, too numerous to reasonably list here, who are involved not just in the creation of these digital collections but in the continued maintenance of these and hundreds of other digital collections that reach users around the world to advance research and provide access to materials.
Photo of a woman at a market in Guatemala
  • Lauren Havens
Digital Content & Collections (DCC) relies on content and subject experts to bring us new digital collections. This year, 16 digital collections were created or significantly enhanced. Here you will find links to videos and articles by the subject experts speaking in their own words about the digital collections they were involved in and why they found it so important to engage in this work with us. Thank you to all of the people involved in each of these digital collections!
Advertisement for porcelain teeth by S.S. White Dental Manufacturing company
  • Jackson Huang
Like many attempts at revisiting older materials, working with a couple dozen volumes of dental pamphlets started very simply but ended up being an interesting opportunity to explore the challenges of making the diverse range of materials held in libraries accessible to patrons in a digital environment. And while improving metadata may not sound glamorous, having sufficient metadata for users to be able to find what they are looking for is essential for the utility of digital libraries.
Image of The American Jewess periodical heading from the issue provided by Princeton
  • Lauren Havens
What started with a bit of wondering and conversation within our unit of the Library led to my reaching out to Princeton University with a request but no expectations of having that request fulfilled. Individuals at Princeton, however, considered the request and agreed to provide us with the single issue of The American Jewess that we needed to complete the full run of the periodical within our digital collection. Especially in these stressful times, we are delighted to bring you a positive story, one of collaboration and generosity across institutions, while also sharing the now-complete digital collection itself.
Photo of Harry Watkins
  • Ken Varnum
The University Library’s digital collections, encompassing more than 300 collections with over a million items, are now discoverable through the library’s Articles discovery tool, powered by Summon. Read on to learn about searching this trove of images and text, and how to add it to your library’s Summon instance.