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Catablogs: Expose your archives collections with ease


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A very brief presentation about "catablogs," using blogging software to provide access to collection descriptions for archives materials.

Presented at the "Online Presence" meeting of the Delaware Valley Archivists Group on October 18, 2010

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Catablogs: Expose your archives collections with ease

  1. 1. Catablogs: Expose your collections with ease Matt Herbison Drexel University College of Medicine twitter: @herbison DVAG Meeting October 18, 2010
  2. 2. A catablog does what? • Uses popular blog software to expose your resources • Each collection is entered as a “blog post” • Provides easy, flexible, and inexpensive setup and maintenance. • Readily supports user interaction and other community features. • Encourages (but doesn’t require) well-structured and consistent metadata. • Gives users multiple access points in a way they find both simple and familiar.
  3. 3. Who’s using a catablog? • UMass Amherst Special Collections & University Archives - “UMarmot” [link] • The “original” catablog and probably the most mature in its features, content, and slickness • Drexel University Special Collections & Archives [link] • Brooklyn Historical Society “Emma” [link] • Norwich University Archives & Special Collections [link] • Lawrence (MA) Public Library Special Collections [link] (hosted on
  4. 4. Demo of catablog admin • Independence Seaport Museum catablog (under development) • All thanks to intern Jenny Barr (you should hire her, by the way...and go to her MARAC talk in Harrisburg) • What we started with...a list of abbreviated call phrases • Went from 180 WorldCat records and 25 finding aids to 550+ collection-level records in the catablog
  5. 5. Why use a catablog? • Easy • Free • Searchable • Findable • Interactive • Low-maintenance • Low-tech Thanks to Audra Eagle, Wake Forest U,
  6. 6. Why use a catablog? • Easy: Startup in 20-60 minutes • Free: Or low cost ($80-$150 per year) • Searchable: From inside the catablog • Findable: From outside, using Google or Bing • Interactive: Comments, conversations, widgets • Low-maintenance: But easy to add features • Low-tech: But looks better than most • Fun and extremely gratifying!
  7. 7. Will a catablog help you? • Easy to maintain: e.g., If you’ve been manually maintaining online thematic pathfinders, a catablog would allow you to edit in a single place and your changes will show up across the board. • Really depends on what other tools you’re currently using to provide access to collection info. • If you have weak IT support, catablogs are good for you. • What about Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon? A catablog might end up being a redundant system