Senior Interactive Developer
Case Western Reserve University
Digital Case is an electronic repository that archives, stores, disseminates, and preserves faculty research in digital formats (both “born digital” and materials of historic interest that have been digitized). Organizing and maintaining published materials has long been the domain of research libraries. With the Digital Case project, the Kelvin Smith Library assumes a more active role in the scholarly communication process, providing expertise in the form of a set of services (metadata tagging, authority control, secure environment, preservation over time) for access and distribution of Case’s collective intellectual product.
There are several unique aspects of the Digital Case project:
1. Exploring the potential for combining commercial software with open source software: Digital Case uses a commercial content management system (Ektron) as the administrative interface. Since neither Ektron nor Fedora were designed to communicate with each other, it took some creativity to integrate the two systems. Discussing the design process as well as demonstrating the live implementation should spark some creative thinking about building a complete, functioning digital library.
2. Designing a digital library / institutional repository from the customer perspective: It would seem that most organizations take the approach of starting with what they are given (i.e. Fedora, DSpace) and attempt to turn that into a complete system. With the help of a local professional design firm (Optiem), the Case Western team started the process by asking users how they would envision a digital library. By starting with no limits or preconceived notions, the team feels Digital Case breaks new ground, in particular because institutional repositories are technical in nature and technical staff typically drive the process. This project approaches the process from a different angle.