This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.
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The collections of the art museum and archives at Willamette University reflect the life and work of several Pacific Northwest artists. Currently, museum and archives staff create digital copies of artwork and artists' papers using a digital camera or scanner, submitting these in turn to a digital repository. Library staff provide additional metadata services for these collections, such as controlled vocabularies, metadata mapping, and (ideally) the application of thesauri or ontologies. In addition, museum and archives staff work with art history faculty to develop online exhibits and publications that incorporate images of artwork, personal papers, audio recordings, historical documents and interpretive essays. The individuals involved in this work have little or no previous multimedia authoring experience, so a relatively simple-to-use authoring tool is required.
The tool chosen was the open source Pachyderm 2.0. In 2008, the University received NEH funding to develop an Repository Open Service Interface Definition (OSID) that integrates the Pachyderm 2.0 authoring tool with the Willamette image repository -- currently running on CONTENTdm, a software application widely used for this purpose at many colleges and universities. The artist chosen for an initial project under the NEH grant is Carl Hall, a major Pacific Northwest artist who first attracted national attention as a Magic Realist in the 1940's.
An art historian has developed the conceptual organization of the exhibit and selected the works and personal papers to be included. He will also provide most of the textual commentary, which will subsequently be added to the exhibit by museum staff using Pachyderm (via cut-and-paste). Meanwhile, museum and archives staff will digitize, catalog, and upload content to the digital repository. Preliminary work on storyboarding, visualization. and the development of early prototypes will be completed. Images and other media in the CONTENTdm repository will accessed from within the Pachyderm 2.0 authoring work flow via the repository OSID plugin. Flash presentations will be created using standard Pachyderm design templates and then customized using an online service developed at the University of British Columbia for this purpose. Final publication involves downloading a zip file of the Flash presentation, applying customizations to the presentation directory, and copying the file to a web server.
Missing currently from the Pachyderm authoring work flow is the option of cropping images to standard dimensions. Without this, images can be cropped only by downloading a copy from the repository, editing the image on a personal computer, and uploading the revised copy to Pachyderm 2.0. A more complete set of authoring tools would be helpful here. One approach to creating this editing ability is to build the tool into the Pachyderm application itself. Another approach is to use an image server not only to retrieve images from the repository, but also to scale and crop these images on demand. Similar basic editing capabilities would be useful for audio and video as well.
The particulars of this story involve a team effort in which the scholar's role is largely focused on content and high-level conceptualization. Other scholars at Willamette have a keen interest in multimedia and the process of multimedia authorship, and can articulate the possible value of methodologies that give them -- and their students -- an efficient means of multimedia publication combined with archiving for preservation and reuse of primary materials.