MetaScholar: An Emory University Digital Library Research Initiative
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An Emory University Digital Library Research Initiative, Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Expanded, Online TransAtlantic Slave Trade Database Project (2006-2008) The year 2008 marks the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain and the United States. This project is commemorating this important anniversary by creating an interactive educational Web-based resource about the slave trade between Africa and the New World from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Using as its foundation information about 27,233 voyages documented in the renowned Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database CD-ROM (Eltis et al 1999), this project is producing a revised and significantly expanded database that will be freely available via the Internet and will contain more than 35,000 voyages--approximately 85 percent of the entire history of the slave trade. The project will present the database and its auxiliary materials, including maps and archival documents, in a two-tier format: one tier designed for professional researchers and another for K-12 and generalist audiences. The Web-based resource will enable researchers to submit new data to an Editorial Board for vetting and inclusion in the database.

The Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities Project (2006-2008) Building on several years of digital library research, we are creating an easily manageable and reusable software suite for the creation and maintenance of humanities-oriented search portals that implements all of the experimental techniques that we have developed to date in the MetaCombine project for harvesting, automatically classifying, and metasearching information resources combined from multiple sources (Web, OAI, and other sources). We will use this software to implement a scholarly subject portal focused on Southern cultures and history that will index and organize sources reviewed and selected by an advisory panel of scholars.

The MetaArchive Project (2004-2007) With support from the Library of Congress, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Florida State University, Auburn University, and the University of Louisville are engaging in a three-year process to develop a cooperative for the preservation of at-risk digital content with a particular content focus: the culture and history of the American South. The project group members are jointly developing: 1) a prioritized conspectus of at-risk digital content in this subject domain held at the partner sites, 2) a harvested body of the most critical content at the partner sites to be preserved, 3) a cooperative agreement for ongoing collaboration, and 4) a distributed preservation network infrastructure based on the LOCKSS software.

The Quality Metrics Study (2004-2006)In this research project, Emory University and Virginia Tech are undertaking a series of studies using production digital library services to determine what criteria underlie the preferences and assumptions of different groups of users regarding metasearch systems. We have augmented existing open source search engines, adding algorithms and interfaces to handle custom search ranking metrics based on the attributes of resources and collections. Building upon this testbed, we are experimentally assessing the reactions of users to different retrieval algorithms and different quality metric weightings. The statistical responses of users will be analyzed to theoretically model user quality metrics for metasearching systems of various types. Finally, a dataset of results will be made available publicly and results will be reported in the literature and through presentations.

The MetaCombine Project (2004-2005) experimented with improved techniques for organization and access to scholarly information via the Open Archives Initiative for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) as well as the World Wide Web. Through this project, Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library has explored combinations of information and services at various levels of abstraction: combined search of OAI and Web resources, combined semantic clusters of information, and combined digital library components acting as a whole.

The OCKHAM Project (2003-2005) In this two-year project, Emory University, the University of Arizona, Virginia Tech, and the University of Notre Dame worked to improve usage and access to the NSDL by learning communities through the existing national infrastructure of traditional libraries. This project established a reference model and functioning network of testbed services enabling traditional libraries to provide access to the NSDL through their local service programs. The network initially included the four collaborating institutions of the project, and is now being expanded among a growing group of institutional partners, especially aided by DLF and OCLC.

Music of Social Change (2003-2005), an initiative of Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Atlanta History Center, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, used the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) protocol to devleop a new model for library-museum collaborations that broaden access to resources for learning communities.

The AmericanSouth Project (2002-2004) is a collaborative endeavor to improve access to scholarly resources concerning Southern history and culture. AmericanSouth seeks to make crucial material for the understanding of the Southern experience accessible to all citizens through the creation of a collaborative digital collection of Southern history and culture. In this project, Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library, in collaboration with a group of major research libraries in the Southeast, set up a central metadata server to function as a portal to selected scholarly resources at cooperating institution. Scholars provide intellectual organization for, designing an interactive structure to promote and facilitate research, teaching, and communications.

The MetaArchive Project (2001-2003) was an experiment in facilitating the research of scholars. Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library, in collaboration with partnering libraries and archives, created a Metadata harvesting and searching service that offers multiple institutions a combination of new technologies for sharing information about locally maintained resources of interest to scholars, as well as a means of seeking and discovering complementary information held by other institutions. This service aggregates metadata (information about scholarly information) from contributing institutions, and provides a publicly searchable web interface to this metadata aggregation.