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University of Washington Libraries

The Digital Initiatives Program

This site showcases some of the online multimedia collections built under auspices of the University of Washington Libraries' Digital Initiatives Program ResearchWorks Service. The Libraries, often working with partnering institutions or faculty built the collections presented here. Projects are selected which emphasize the Libraries' strengths, or which provide technological or knowledge management challenges. Specialized curricular support material, not presented on this site, is also created by the Program and made available to enrolled UW students.

Since 1997, the Program has collaborated with faculty, engineers, students, librarians and the public to build digital libraries from a user's perspective. The Program digitizes collections of scholarly and general interest, and by including faculty's personal curriculum collections, supports using multimedia in teaching and research.

Many of the Digital Initiative's projects have been cooperative, especially with parties from the Pacific Northwest Region. The Libraries seeks partners with complementary holdings to become part of a multimedia archive.

Collection Building

A variety of scanning techniques are used to input media. Should you have any questions about a particular collection that is not answered in the collection description itself, please contact us.

The Dublin Core Metadata element set is used to create basic object cataloging with CONTENT software providing a flexible template, which is customized for each collection. Collection specific fields are mapped to Dublin Core. UW Libraries' Metadata Implementation Group develops and promotes metadata standards for digital projects, provides data dictionaries and Dublin Core mappings. You can view a summary chart of the metadata used in these collections. Many collections use controlled vocabulary from Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials and Library of Congress Subject Headings. Cataloging follows standard Library policy.

Site Technology

The collections on this site all utilize the CONTENTdm Software Suite, a product of OCLC Online Computer Library Center. ContentDM provides tools for digital collection management. It is scalable and is optimized for exceptionally large datasets. It permits the creation of multiple collections within one system and allows searching both individual collections or across multiple collections.

For more information about CONTENTdm, visit

The CONTENTdm/Library partnership and its projects are also described in "Collaboration as a Key to Digital Library Development", (D-LIB Magazine, Volume 5 Issue 3, March, 1999.)

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