Digital Access Coalition (DAC)
Project Number 07 – 1994
Director, Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections
Co-Director, Digital Access Coalition
2B Carl A. Kroch Library
Ithaca NY 14853
Fax: (607) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
The following DAC Participants are librarians, technologists, faculty, staff or students at Cornell University:
Civil EngineeringCarol DeNatale
Herbert F. Johnson Musem
Interactive Multimedia GroupBruce Lewenstein
M. Stuart Lynn
Marcy E. Rosenkrantz
The primary goal of the Cornell University Digital Access Coalition (DAC) is to foster the use of emerging technologies to improve access to historical, scientific, and visual arts collections campuswide and to facilitate the use of these collections to enhance teaching and research. A collaborative effort by librarians, archivists, curators, technologists, and teaching faculty, DAC is developing a new vision for organizing, accessing, and using the University’s various historical, ethnographic, artistic, and natural history collections. The Coalition is jointly sponsored by the University Provost, the University Librarian, and the Vice President for Information Technologies. It is co-directed by Thomas Hickerson (Director of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of the University Library) and Geri Gay (Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Director of the Interactive Multimedia Group).
In its efforts to improve access and use of campus collections, DAC serves as a forum for interaction, a site for testing and evaluation, and a focal point for development of new collaborative models.
Participants explore the diverse resources available and examine means of incorporating them into instruction and research. This dialogue provides curators with a sense of the larger university community and identification with others confronting similar challenges. Faculty gain the opportunity to utilize new instructional technologies in the classroom, laboratory, or studio and are introduced to the resources available across the campus.
As a site for testing and evaluation, DAC conducts pilot implementations on behalf of various repositories and faculty members, providing an effective means for illustrating and evaluating various approaches. Emphasis is placed on the use of common protocols to ensure technical interoperability and the use of common descriptive conventions and access language to improve opportunities for sharing information and providing integrated access to sources.
Realizing the full potential of digital computing and communication to both improve access to library holdings and other university collections and to enhance teaching and research is an exciting challenge, but this process will require the development of new cooperative models that are dependent on interaction across professions, as well as disciplines. These developments will have far-reaching implications for higher education.
While DAC participants are involved in a wide variety of digital projects in disciplines ranging from veterinary medicine to engineering to communication, two new projects emphasize DAC’s collaborative goals: Utopia, a project focusing on the history of art and architecture in the Renaissance for undergraduate students, and the Harriman Expedition Diary, an online exhibition of bird illustrations, sound, and accompanying text from the diary of the naturalist and illustrator, Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Each of these projects involves at least three different campus collections and will explore how students and researchers use networked information.
The DAC concept actively explores how traditional library and other resources can be made available in a networked teaching and learning process. Also, DAC fosters collaborations among disparate groups (different academic departments, different administrative entities and different collections) within a single institution of higher education. This model should be highly replicable on other campuses; it affords institutions the opportunity to not only more effectively use their own resources, but through the internet will provide access to other collections throughout the higher education community.
Geri Gay has examined information seeking behaviors of students and faculty for over ten years. Her work currently explores these issues specifically in the use of databases over networks. Testing and evaluation in these areas are being conducted in several DAC projects; evaluation techniques and initial findings will be presented.
Tom Hickerson will present a Digital Access Coalition Sampler in the form of an image-rich html document using Mosaic. An LCD-panel or computer projection system is needed; an overhead projector should be available for back-up if there are any network difficulties.