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Spotlight: A Self-Service Tool for Showcasing Digital Collections

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Presented at 2014 Digital Library Forum
http://www.diglib.org/forums/2014forum/program/65z/

Like many institutions, Stanford University Libraries (SUL) have a rich and diverse collection of content in its digital repository. While this repository content is accessible through an integrated discovery environment, librarians, curators, and collection donors often want to showcase individual collections, and faculty, students, and researchers want to work with these collections in a more focused, feature-rich environment that supports their scholarly goals. Purpose-built digital library websites can satisfy these goals, but the time and development resources required to create them limits how often an institution can commit to producing them.

In this session, we’ll describe how SUL addressed this problem by developing a digital library product called Spotlight. Spotlight is a plug-in to Blacklight, an open source Ruby on Rails gem that provides a discovery interface for any Solr index. Combined with Blacklight, an institution can use Spotlight to establish a self-service environment in which librarians, curators, faculty, and others can easily create attractive, feature-rich websites that showcase digital library content of their choosing.

As we’ll demonstrate in this session, curators build a Spotlight exhibit completely through web-based forms, using an intuitive workflow of selection and indexing, arrangement, curation, and presentation. Spotlight-based exhibits can include multiple types of media and provide curators with a wide range of “widgets” with which to build pages composed of both digital objects and curatorial content.

Because we believe it has potential value to many institutions, we intentionally designed and developed Spotlight in an open and transparent way. As the project evolves, we’re especially interested in facilitating community contributions. We’ll conclude this session by describing the steps we’re taking to seek regular feedback from peers and stakeholders, generate interest among potential future development partners, and position Spotlight as an open source project that other institutions will adopt and help grow.

Presented at 2014 Digital Library Forum
http://www.diglib.org/forums/2014forum/program/65z/

Like many institutions, Stanford University Libraries (SUL) have a rich and diverse collection of content in its digital repository. While this repository content is accessible through an integrated discovery environment, librarians, curators, and collection donors often want to showcase individual collections, and faculty, students, and researchers want to work with these collections in a more focused, feature-rich environment that supports their scholarly goals. Purpose-built digital library websites can satisfy these goals, but the time and development resources required to create them limits how often an institution can commit to producing them.

In this session, we’ll describe how SUL addressed this problem by developing a digital library product called Spotlight. Spotlight is a plug-in to Blacklight, an open source Ruby on Rails gem that provides a discovery interface for any Solr index. Combined with Blacklight, an institution can use Spotlight to establish a self-service environment in which librarians, curators, faculty, and others can easily create attractive, feature-rich websites that showcase digital library content of their choosing.

As we’ll demonstrate in this session, curators build a Spotlight exhibit completely through web-based forms, using an intuitive workflow of selection and indexing, arrangement, curation, and presentation. Spotlight-based exhibits can include multiple types of media and provide curators with a wide range of “widgets” with which to build pages composed of both digital objects and curatorial content.

Because we believe it has potential value to many institutions, we intentionally designed and developed Spotlight in an open and transparent way. As the project evolves, we’re especially interested in facilitating community contributions. We’ll conclude this session by describing the steps we’re taking to seek regular feedback from peers and stakeholders, generate interest among potential future development partners, and position Spotlight as an open source project that other institutions will adopt and help grow.

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Spotlight: A Self-Service Tool for Showcasing Digital Collections

  1. 1. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Spotlight: A Self-Service Tool for Showcasing Digital Collections Gary Geisler, Jessie Keck, Chris Beer & Stuart Snydman Stanford University
  2. 2. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Outline • What is Spotlight? • Why Spotlight? • Key features and design process • Demo • Community-oriented development • What’s next
  3. 3. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES What is Spotlight? Spotlight is software that sits on top of your digital repository and enables librarians, curators, and other content experts to easily build feature-rich websites that showcase collections and objects from the repository.
  4. 4. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? What are the options for highlighting, showcasing, or publicizing a collection? CUSTOM SITE DEVELOPMENT Depth and Complexity of Exposure Simple News or Splash Page Feature-Rich Collection Site LIBRARY SITE (CMS) Time and Resources INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY/LIBRARY CATALOG Library Catalog Record Institutional Repository Record Simple Collection/ Exhibit Site
  5. 5. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight?
  6. 6. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight?
  7. 7. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight?
  8. 8. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight?
  9. 9. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? What are the options for highlighting, showcasing, or publicizing a collection? CUSTOM SITE DEVELOPMENT Depth and Complexity of Exposure Simple News or Splash Page Feature-Rich Collection Site LIBRARY SITE (CMS) Time and Resources INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY/LIBRARY CATALOG Library Catalog Record Institutional Repository Record Simple Collection/ Exhibit Site
  10. 10. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight?
  11. 11. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? Revs Bassi-Veratti FRDA 200,000+ image collection with image annotation and other community features 672 item archive digitized, tagged, and integrated with an interactive version of the archive finding aid Combines two foundational research sources: the Archives Parlementaires and 25,000 images from the BnF Dedicated collection sites
  12. 12. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? What are the options for highlighting, showcasing, or publicizing a collection? CUSTOM SITE DEVELOPMENT Depth and Complexity of Exposure Simple News or Splash Page Feature-Rich Collection Site LIBRARY SITE (CMS) Time and Resources INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY/LIBRARY CATALOG Library Catalog Record Institutional Repository Record Simple Collection/ Exhibit Site
  13. 13. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? What are the options for highlighting, showcasing, or publicizing a collection? CUSTOM SITE DEVELOPMENT SELF-SERVICE EXHIBIT CREATION TOOL Depth and Complexity of Exposure Simple News or Splash Page Spotlight Exhibit Site Feature-Rich Collection Site LIBRARY SITE (CMS) Time and Resources INSTITUTIONAL REPOSITORY/LIBRARY CATALOG Library Catalog Record Institutional Repository Record Simple Collection/ Exhibit Site
  14. 14. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Spotlight? Full-featured • Focused website with robust features for highlighting collections Self-service • Enables curators and librarians to produce high quality exhibits without programming Integrated • Interoperates with existing discovery systems and repository infrastructure Flexible • Enables curators to customize exhibit facets, metadata, feature pages, visual themes, menu labels, etc.
  15. 15. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Design Process
  16. 16. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES User Personas
  17. 17. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES User Personas
  18. 18. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Requirements Prioritization
  19. 19. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Requirements Prioritization
  20. 20. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Wireframes
  21. 21. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Development Approach Spotlight extends Blacklight
  22. 22. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Development Approach Spotlight extends Blacklight 1 Base Rails app 2 App with app-specific Blacklight Spotlight gem 5 Exhibit app with curated content Widgets Rails app App database Solr index 3 App with default Exhibits components 4 Exhibit app with customized settings Admin configuration Curator editing Field and feature customization Page creation 6 Exhibit website made public Exhibit website End-user features Solr User management Item discovery
  23. 23. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Demo - Tour of Completed Exhibit
  24. 24. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Demo - How to Create an Exhibit
  25. 25. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Spotlight Roadmap Phase 2 development starts soon • Guided paths through feature pages • Support for more content types • Selection and indexing tools • Visual theming • Repository integration More exhibits at Stanford More adopters More contributors
  26. 26. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Community-Focused Agile Development Enable local institution customization and community contributions • Widget framework, visual themes (soon) 1 Base Rails app 2 App with app-specific Blacklight Spotlight gem 5 Exhibit app with curated content Widgets Rails app App database Solr index 3 App with default Exhibits components 4 Exhibit app with customized settings Admin configuration Curator editing Field and feature customization Page creation 6 Exhibit website made public Exhibit website End-user features Solr User management Item discovery
  27. 27. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Community-Focused Agile Development Code is publicly-available on Github
  28. 28. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Community-Focused Agile Development Detailed release notes Work tickets
  29. 29. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Interested? Maps of Africa exhibit https://exhibits.stanford.edu Project code repository https://github.com/sul-dlss/spotlight More about Blacklight http://projectblacklight.org Feedback exhibits-feedback@lists.stanford.edu Spotlight readme on Github
  30. 30. STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES Why Not Just Use Omeka? Integrating with Blacklight provides • More robust discovery environment • More focus on the object versus the narrative • Better integration with Hydra applications • Better leverage of developer skills (keep focus on Ruby, not PHP)

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