INLS 740: Application Information Gatekeeping

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We will use several applications during the course of this semester; probably Greenstone, Omeka, and CONTENTdm. There are several more applications that are popular for building digital libraries and other digital library-like things (e.g., institutional repositories, museum collections, etc.): DSpace, Fedora, eprints, CollectiveAccess, CollectionSpace, to name only some of the most popular.

Ideally, before selecting an application in which to build your digital library, you would thoroughly evaluate all candidates. But we all know that's not the way it usually happens. Given this need, it's a little surprising that there aren't more published evaluations of digital library applications: the two that I know about are this and this. I suspect that many libraries have performed such evaluations for their own purposes, but have not made the reports publicly available.

For this assignment, you will keep tabs on the latest developments around several applications: Greenstone, Omeka, CONTENTdm, and DuraSpace. Why these specific applications? Because they are either among the most popular, or there are a lot of interesting developments lately in those communities. You will work in groups of approximately 3 students ± 1 (depending on course enrollment). Each group will "own" one application, and will serve as the gatekeeper for the class for information about that application.

There are two deliverables for this assignment: a demo, and an ongoing news feed.

Before midterm, each group will give a brief demo of their application in class. We will do all of these in one class session, so each presentation should be no more than 15 minutes. This demo should include some of the functionality of the application, architectural decisions made in application development, usability issues, etc. In the demo, you should answer the question: Why would we want to use your application as the platform in which to build our class project digital library? Or, if you don't think your application is appropriate for building our class project digital library, then for what type of digital library is your application appropriate?

Throughout the semester, each group should monitor the various sources of information produced by the organization that produces their application: check websites, blogs, and news announcements; monitor user and developer forums; subscribe to listservs, RSS feeds, and Twitter accounts; etc. Groups will digest this information and provide the class with news about their application on an ongoing basis: groups must post to the discussion forum at least every other week with news of developments.

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