Enhancing User Services in the Emblematica Online Portal


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Presentation given at the 2014 Society for Emblem Studies meeting at the University of Kiel.

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Enhancing User Services in the Emblematica Online Portal

  1. 1. 2014 Society for Emblem Studies Meeting August 1, 2014
  2. 2. Today’s Talk  Background  Review of new functionalities  User Engagement Study  Forthcoming for Emblematica Online @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  3. 3. Emblematica Online I  Presented at 2011 SES meeting in Glasgow by Timothy Cole and MJ Han  Provided a single access pointto the indexed digitized emblem book collections of the HAB Wolfenbüttel and University of Illinois  Concluded in 2012: ~ 700 digitized books from HAB and Illinois collections, with a selection of cataloged emblems @greenharr green19@illinois.edu http://emblematica.grainger.illinois.edu
  4. 4. Emblematica Online II  New phase funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resource program  New contributions of digitized emblem books from the Glasgow, Duke University, Utrecht, Getty Institute  New functionalities added to relaunched portal  Gathering use cases and conducting user engagement study to assess Emblematica http://emblematica.library.illinois.edu @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  5. 5. Research on Use of Digital Resources in the Humanities  Dobreva et al., User Studies for Digital Library Development  Toms and O’Brien, “Understanding the information and communication technology needs of the e-humanist”  Log Analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities Project (LAIRAH)  Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources (TIDSR)  Research Portals in the Arts and Humanities (REPAH)
  6. 6. Enhanced Search Interface @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  7. 7. New Tabbed Interface @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  8. 8. Institutional Branding @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  9. 9. Enhanced Metadata @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  10. 10. IconClass Indexing @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  11. 11. User Assessment is Necessary “While a greater reliance and dependency on digital resources is inevitable, the quality of the data and their organization and accessibility in service to teaching and scholarship are major concerns. “Without the guiding voice of scholars, the tremendous effort now being devoted to digitizing our cultural heritage could in fact impede, not facilitate, future research.” —Charles Henry, The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  12. 12. Scholars + Emblematica “The thematic research collection has been recognized as an important genre…. it will play an important role in how research materials are reconfigured in the digital environment, as libraries become more involved in providing access to digital resources collected and organized by scholars, who contribute important expertise in selection, collocation, interpretation, and integration of the sources they study.” —Carole Palmer et al. (2010), “Beyond Size and Search,” ASIST 2010 @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  13. 13. User Engagement Study  Two phases: Interviews and usability testing with students and scholars  Methodology: Semi-structured interviews with graduate students and scholars  Disciplines: English, art history, medieval studies, musicology, book history @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  14. 14. Goals of Study  Understand the research practices of humanities scholars who draw upon emblem books for research.  Understand behaviors of researchers working with Emblematica Online and similar digital archives.  Gather input from researchers to assess the new functionalities and services added to Emblematica Online, and determine future functionalities that could further enhance the portal. @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  15. 15. Use  To look up specific emblems and use as digital illustrations  To search for emblems on certain topics and themes  Challenge: Navigating the search interface and results @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  16. 16. Teaching Use in undergraduate and graduate courses for:  Analyze an emblem in conjunction with Milton’s emblematic poetry  Emblems as an Illustrative tool for artistic styles and cultural mores of historical periods  A unit on emblems planned for an art history graduate seminar @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  17. 17. Research  Digitized emblem books enable access to archives normally requiring expensive travel around the world  A way to cultivate Latin language skills for reading early modern texts  Very interdisciplinary material—could see increase of emblem use in art, literary studies, history, cultural studies etc. @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  18. 18. Suggested Functionalities  Additional information about editions of the volumes  Enable annotations  Improve interface to make the search boxes easier to find  Make IconClass easier to use  Include information that provides historical context for the work/emblem (useful for students)
  19. 19. Impact on Field  Expand the use of emblems in research across multiple disciplines  Strong illustrative tool for teaching visual culture and cultural attitudes in early modern historical period  Increase the impact and prominence of scholarship in emblem studies @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  20. 20. To Come Functionalities  Improved search speed  More emblem-level metadata  More IconClass cataloging  Annotation Tool  Collection Building tool User Study  Fall 2014: Analysis of interview responses  Winter 2014: In-person usability testing of revised Emblematica Online portal  Full results of user study will be reported to NEH and in journal articles @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  21. 21. To Remember http://emblematica.library.illinois.edu  Fall / winter 2014 for launch of new portal  Contact me at green19@illinois.edu to share your feedback and thoughts about using Emblematica Online @greenharr green19@illinois.edu
  22. 22. Thank you! Harriett Green English and Digital Humanities Librarian University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign green19@illinois.edu Twitter: @greenharr