Let there be images!

I’m embroiled in our Enhancement Project at the moment, part of which is about enabling images to be displayed within the Archives Hub. Well, it’s actually more than that – it’s about using the tag and related tags to enable links to digital representations of archives and to enable images to be embedded at collection and item level. It’s something we’re really excited about, and we feel that it’s important to make this step in order to keep the Archives Hub moving onwards and upwards.

Due to the distributed nature of the Archives Hub, we aren’t able to use the element, but we’ve made the most of the tags on offer. We’re implementing options for embedded images; links to files; thumbnail links to full-size images; groups of images representing the same item.

We’ve made a conscious effort to implement this in a very standards-based way. I suppose you could say that the principle should be that if the EAD records are put into another system, everything should still work, and the markup does allow for this. I think that this approach is also important because we have a service where we are not creating the data – our contributors are – so we need to try to meet their various requirements whilst at the same time not knowing exactly what they will contribute. For example, we have to be aware that they might enter a large, high resolution image as a thumbnail and the system needs to be able to cope with this. I see it as a learning experience for both us and our contributors, and I think that it’s important to take that sort of perspective with the Hub.

I do hope that Hub contributors take advantage of this development. It will be great for them to be able to include images and link directly to content. We’ve made it very easy to add the necessary markup by providing the facility to do this within our new Data Creation and Editing Template, so there is no need to get down and dirty with the EAD markup unless they want to. We’ll be talking to our contributors about this at our workshops in March/April, which are already pretty much full, so that’s a good indication for us.

For more information, see our page on adding digital objects to Hub descriptions.