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University of Southern California
Report to the Digital Library Federation
January 15, 2002


  • Collections, services, and systems
  • Projects and programs

    I. Collections, services, and systems

    A. Collections

    1. Archival Research Center Web site

    Live in October, 2001, the ARC Web site provides access to the following new digital resources:

    Digital Archive-(formerly known as Information System for Los Angeles- ISLA - or the Integrated Digital Archive - IDA) was expanded, enhanced and made accessible via a new Web site for the Archival Research Center (ARC) www.usc.edu/arc. It currently provides access to six different collections of digital materials, mostly images, but also newspapers, maps, documents, and oral histories using BRS within the Sirsi system.

    Collections include:

    • Automobile Club of Southern California: Over 1,100 images
    • Chinese Historical Society of Southern California: Over 1,000 images
    • El Clamor Publico: The entire run (1855 to1859) of 233 issues, considered Los Angeles' main Spanish language paper during this time.
    • Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive: Over 200 images
    • Korean American Digital Archive: Over 1,500 photographs, 13,000 pages of documents as well as over 45 hours of oral histories.
    • WPA Maps: Includes the 345 maps from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Land Use survey of Los Angeles conducted from 1933 through 1939.

    El Clamor and WPA maps provide large MrSID images, viewable via a USC-custom viewer that enables zoom and pan and requires no plug-in or client software. Two additional collections from the California Historical Society are under negotiation and are hoped to be accessible shortly. The Greene & Greene Digital Archive project described in last year's report continues and will be added to the archive in FY2003. The East Asian Library Map Collection project of 182 color pre-20th century maps focusing on Korea, China and Japan currently available as jpg images at: http://www.usc.edu/isd/locations/ssh/eastasian/maps.htm

    The maps are still being converted to high-resolution MrSID images with zoom and pan capabilities and enriched metadata descriptions. They are expected to be added to the digital archive in 2002.

    2. LA Comprehensive Bibliographic Database and Thesaurus

    3. LA as Subject Database

    II. Projects and Programs

    A. Projects

    Collection Information System (CIS)
    This multi-year project, managed by the Digital Information Management group within USC's Information Services Division that began last year continues. User requirements have been drafted for the system that will provide the infrastructure to house and manage our digital collections. The requirements include digital asset management, content management, thesaurus management, ingest, review, user interface, and reporting. The RFP process for the selection of software will commence in spring of 2002.

    The design of the underlying data repository for the system is in process. The new system will employ Oracle 9i's Text (formerly known as InterMedia Text) and spatial data features to facilitate storage and retrieval of metadata. The process of testing how Oracle will parse and store information found in XML documents is underway. The metadata is in qualified Dublin Core, represented in an XML schema using RDF syntax building on work done at other institutions.

    XML in Oracle has been selected because it provides flexibility that is not available in a purely relational database. With the metadata stored in XML, fields can be added to a metadata record without changing the structure of the underlying database. This gives the system flexibility as Dublin Core and other metadata standards develop. It provides the option of storing documents using other XML schema in the same database. In theory this would allow the system to store and search for records in both Dublin Core and EAD from the same database without the creation of special indexes. It may be faster to query and retrieve XML documents from the database than it would be to execute the same type of search in a relational database and retrieve the information from a variety of tables. Storing the data in XML will facilitate transport of metadata and comply with the OAI protocol for metadata harvesting.

    Unknown at this time is how well Oracle will parse RDF syntax given local extensions to the qualified Dublin Core. The team is also exploring how to store gazetteer and thesaurus information in XML documents in Oracle. The project team would like to find other institutions that are using XML and would like to explore the relative merits of RDF as well as other schemas.

    Please contact: Barbara Shepard, Project Sponsor, bshepard@usc.edu, phone-213-821-2898, Deborah Holmes-Wong, Project Manager dhwong@usc.edu, phone-213-740-2867, or Wayne Shoaf,Metadata Analyst, shoaf@usc.edu, phone-213-740-4090 for further information.

    GeoSpatial/Temporal Interface
    This project also continues from last year. USC Digital Information Management group is working with the GIS Lab at USC and the Geographic Information and Analysis Center at Montana State University to develop a map-based Web interface to its digital collections. The interface will search for items in the Collection Information System with place names and/or geographic coordinates, temporal information, format, and keywords stored with Dublin Core metadata. Both USC and MSU are beta test sites for ArcIMS 4.0.

    The system employs a variety of ESRI products including ArcIMS to provide the interface and search features. The foundation of the system is a gazetteer of Los Angeles place names that will allow users to select coordinates on a map and locate digital objects associated with ArcGIS and conforms to metadata standards set forth by the Alexandria Digital Library Project. The team will explore how users will employ a GIS search interface and the kinds of materials and subjects that are best suited for retrieval in this fashion.

    The team is in the process of building the reference maps and integrating the gazetteer into the data repository.

    For more information, please contact: John Wilson, Project Sponsor, jpwilson@usc.edu, phone-213-740-1908, or Deborah Holmes-Wong, Project Manager, dhwong@usc.edu, phone-213-740-2867.

    Scholars Portal
    The goal of the Scholars Portal Project, a joint ARL project, is to improve the quality of information students and faculty find on the Web by creating a web-based search portal that provides integrated access to high quality research materials available from the Internet either free of charge or by subscription and from local research collections. The software has been selected, and ARL is currently negotiating the contract with the software vendor. A white paper by Jerry Campbell is available at: www.arl.org/newltr/211/portal.html; additional information about the project concept is available at: www.arl.org/access.scholarsportal.

    USC is one of six pilot implementers. The USC pilot, to be implemented in FY03, will target undergraduates. Planning for the project including identifying goals, objectives, and measures began in Fall of 2001 by USC's Digital Information Management group within the Information Services Division. A key component of the USC pilot project will be assessment including: do students and faculty find the Scholars' Portal as easy to use as Internet search engines such as Google or Yahoo; are they using it to do their research; for students with access to the Scholars Portal, is the quality of materials sited in their research papers higher than those without access; is the overall quality of papers higher; total cost of ownership of the system; scalability and interoperability of the system.

    For more information contact: Jerry Campbell, Dean University Libraries, Project Sponsor, jerryc@usc.edu, phone-213-740-7317; Deborah Holmes-Wong, Project Manager, dhwong@usc.edu, phone-213-740-2867; Barbara Shepard, bshepard@usc.edu, phone-213-821-2898; or Marianne Afifi, afifi@usc.edu, 213-740-8817.

    Please send comments or suggestions.
    Last updated: Wednesday, March 13 2002
    © 2002 Council on Library and Information Resources

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