Uniting institutional archives and special collections in a single, user-friendly platform
Based in Fort Worth, TX, the Eunice and James L. West Library at Texas Wesleyan University chose Quartex to unite its institutional holdings and special collections, creating a single, user-friendly repository for its user community. The resulting digital collections site is “everything we hoped it would be, and more”, according to Elizabeth A. M. Howard, Library Director, and Caitlin Rookey, Digital Initiatives Librarian.
"Our faculty now has one place to go for everything they may be looking for, while uniting formerly disparate resources adds importance and relevance to our varied collections."
Elizabeth A. M. Howard, Texas Wesleyan University
"The digital exhibits are really exciting and our faculty and library staff are really impressed with them."
Caitlin Rookey, Texas Wesleyan University
"The united digital archive is everything we hoped it would be, and more."
Elizabeth A. M. Howard, Texas Wesleyan University
Managing multiple platforms
Over time, the challenges inherent in managing two disparate digital asset management systems, each with different degrees of functionality and flexibility, made the setup untenable. Difficulties that occurred in having two separate platforms included online storage costs, confusion in the locations of campus resources for users, and resistance in support from Faculty and University Administration for the institutional repository section.
“We felt the time had come to bring all these resources together into a single platform that would be more visual and much easier to manage,” says Caitlin Rookey.
An intuitive and rewarding alternative
The Library team decided to migrate both repositories to a single, feature-rich, yet easy-to-use solution that would meet the aim of uniting its resources in a visually dynamic way.
Quartex was selected for its powerful asset management capabilities and numerous options for organizing and displaying assets in ways that are intuitive and rewarding for users of the collections.
“Adopting Quartex was a big deal for the Library,” recalls Caitlin. “One of the issues with our old systems was the static look and feel of the collections sites. In contrast, Quartex provided lots of options on layouts and seeing other repositories that were already using Quartex was a great source of inspiration.”
Partnership working to fast-track publication
The Library team set an ambitious target of building and launching its new site in three months and, to achieve this aim without impacting other projects, took advantage of Quartex’s site-build service to design and implement its front-end digital collections site.
Having harvested assets and metadata from legacy platforms, Caitlin ingested these into Quartex using the built-in Uploader tool “which made it visually easy to track whatever I was doing. And in terms of controlled vocabularies, the ability to combine and view when merging metadata from our previous repositories was incredibly helpful.”
The team then worked with Quartex’s Customer Experience team to design a site that aligned the multiple search and display options available with the team’s strategic aims.
“We were keen to keep the two parts of the digital archive visually distinct and enjoyed the flexibility of picking and choosing the best approaches demonstrated in Quartex sample sites.”
Added importance and relevance of digital collections
Eleven collections were published at launch, including works by the University’s faculty and students, alongside flagship collections such as the George Anson Collection and Mason Johnson Theatre Collection, both of which celebrate the legacy of former professors at Texas Wesleyan University.
“The united digital archive is everything we hoped it would be, and more. Our faculty now has one place to go for everything they may be looking for, while uniting formerly disparate resources adds importance and relevance to our varied collections,” says Elizabeth A. M. Howard.
Initial feedback has been incredibly positive, with the digital exhibits feature singled out for particular praise, exemplified by the Texas Wesleyan Theatre Playbills 1954-1984 exhibit.
“Given the visual distinctions between the two parts of the archive, I am both surprised and thrilled that the result is as cohesive as it is. The digital exhibits are really exciting and our faculty and library staff are really impressed with them,” adds Caitlin.
The future: collection development
Following the migration and site launch, the Library team started working on additional collections and has plans to further harness the power of digital exhibits to offer curated experiences that deepen knowledge and understanding of the University’s history and special collections.
Further plans include developing the George Anson Collection and building on the much used Scholar Works collection, a resource for the intellectual output of the University’s faculty.
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