For this project I have developed prototypes, using Omeka, Shared Shelf, and ContentDM, for a digital collection of archival materials showing the history of women’s clothing in America. I am part of a working group that has been meeting since 2012 to develop innovative digital tools that will increase the educational impact of historic clothing by allowing for specialized access to diverse digital collections of historic clothing and related materials from all across the country.
Our team for HistoricDress.org recently won an Artstor Digital Humanities Award, through which I have led the project’s migration to Shared Shelf and back-end configuration, working closely with the vendor to implement Shared Shelf’s new work record functionality.
For our prototypes, I worked with Elisa Lanzi to create application profiles for metadata for artifacts and images from the research archive of costume historian Nancy Rexford. I also supervised undergraduate metadata entry using Snapdragon (a Filemaker based CMS) and GoogleDocs, using remote tools to communicate when I could not be on campus.
Our team of working group members and students has used existing platforms to explore the limits of traditional digital collection development and to develop plans for more innovative tools to build on existing and forthcoming collections. Notably, we are building on both the knowledge and the archive of costume historian Nancy Rexford to develop a tool for dating unidentified costume artifacts based on pattern recognition with documented objects. Our educational goal with such a tool is to allow novices working with material culture to more quickly move through the stages of identification and on to more nuanced stages of analysis. We also are working to bring together existing content from multiple collections across the country for enhanced access. Discussion of our progress with this project, especially including undergraduate participation, is documented in a blog at http://HistoricDress.org/wordpress. The ContentDM prototype is temporarily available at http://cdm16858.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16858coll9 and has been preserved as screenshots which will be available when the site is no longer live.