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What if…..

October 7, 2010

We have been thinking a lot about better ways for people to access our collections – a better web site, enhanced description for collections, better research guides, more digital access, more intuitive ways for anyone to discover and use what we have.

This week, North Carolina Archives Week as it happens, two things occurred that have inspired me to to think in new ways about some of what we are doing:

1) I saw an article of mapping information in archival finding aids as a way to give people a new tool to search by. [Article: David Martin Dwiggins,
Putting the ‘where’ in the archives: Web 2.0, mapping and archival records.”

2) I did a class session for a History of 1812 class and to figure out how to find materials in our collections solely by date range with no information on title, author, keywords, subjects, nothing….just dates. It was a challenge but I found a round about way to do it.

So, what if….

What if we could provide timeline searching and GIS mapping for our materials?? What if we could enhance traditional search methods using language and keywords with an effective array of visual searches. I know work has been done to provide searching through visualization of keywords — see the website for the National Museum of African American History and Culture as one example — but I’m thinking of using our metadata and catalog information on all types of materials in a very different kind of way. I have no idea how to do any of this, but what if we could figure it out.  Just saying….

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