SGML: California Heritage Digital Image Access Project announcement

SGML: California Heritage Digital Image Access Project announcement

Date:  Mon, 16 Dec 1996 09:03:41 -0800
Reply-To: Encoded Archival Description List <>
Sender: Encoded Archival Description List <>
From: Daniel Pitti <dpitti@LIBRARY.BERKELEY.EDU>
Subject: California Heritage Digital Image Access Project Announcement


California Heritage Digital Image Access Project

The Library and the Bancroft Library at the University of California,
Berkeley are pleased to announce the availability of the California
Heritage Digital Image Access Project demonstration database.

URL: http://sunsite.Berkeley.EDU/CalHeritage/

Brief Project Overview.

The California Heritage collection is a "digital" archive containing
photographs, pictures, and manuscripts from the collections of the
Bancroft Library. It is an "archive" because it offers the public direct
access to unique, primary source materials documenting California's rich
history "in their original archival context."  This is achieved by
embedding digital representations of the primary sources directly within
the documents -- archival finding aids -- created by the Bancroft
Library's curators and archivists to describe the collections of which
they are part.  While in the Bancroft's Heller Reading Room a researcher
must use a printed finding aid to make his way through the cartons and
boxes housing a collection in order to find the picture or manuscript he
wants, the user of the California Heritage collection finds the objects
of his search within an electronic version of the finding aid itself.
This is made possible through the use of the emerging standard for
archival finding aids, Encoded Archival Description (EAD). In effect,
this EAD-based "virtual" archive opens the doors of the Bancroft Library
to everyone the world over -- the general public, students and teachers
in their classrooms, and researchers -- with an interest in the history
of California.

This archive is the chief product of the California Heritage Digital
Image Access Project, which has been made possible by a generous grant
from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project began in
January 1995 and formally ends June 30, 1996 but the archive created in
it will continue to be augmented with new material for years to come. The
California Heritage Digital Image Access Project will serve as the seed
for an ever-growing rich new resource for scholars, educators, and the
public interested in California history and culture. In addition, a
number of other EAD-based digital archive projects inspired by the NEH
California Heritage Project (the NEH American Heritage Project and the UC
EAD Project) are beginning to lay the groundwork for other large digital
archives that will be available on the Internet.

The project's central objective has been to build a prototype
demonstration database that, by the project's end, will provide
collection-level access to 25,000 digital representations of primarily
source materials documenting California history, which have been selected
from the collections of The Bancroft Library.  By creating this prototype
system and making it available for testing on the Internet, the
California Heritage Digital Image Access Project will be addressing
important issues in digital image access and control. When fully
developed, the prototype will also use USMARC collection-level records to
provide access to its EAD encoded finding aids and digital images. While
the USMARC access component of this project is still under development,
direct access to the encoded finding aids is currently provided here
through a WWW interface (DynaWeb) that lets users directly search and
navigate the SGML encoded finding aids and digitized primary source

Project staff hope that this project will not only offer a compelling
solution to the access and control problems it identifies but also serve
as a national model for the construction of the kind of state historical
digital image database it is creating. We also hope that it will serve as
a demonstration system for archival control professionals interested in
state-of-the-art solutions to the problems associated with network access
to digital data.

Comments concerning both the technology underlying and the content of the
California Heritage database are welcome. Address comments to Daniel