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Thursday, May 12 • 4:20pm - 4:25pm
The Potential of the Past: Walking Through the Creation of an Open Access Collection of Faculty-Produced Holocaust Site Photographs

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University libraries are often called upon when faculty are ready to part with their book collections and/or their research data. This paper presents one such case, when Professor Emeritus Duane Mezga of the Landscape Architecture Program approached the library, along with a three-ring binder full of Kodachrome 64 color slides.

The photographs were taken by Professor Mezga in the early 1990s using the progressive realization technique, which captures the experience of walking through a site. Twenty-one sites in total, including concentration camps and killing centers, transit points, and other historically significant sites in Europe were photographed. Memorials present at these sites were documented. Potential in these slides was seen by the subject librarian, and cooperation with the digital curation unit led to the digitization of the slides.

The Duane Mezga Holocaust Site Photography collection is built using a free and open source (FOSS) technology stack utilizing Fedora Commons, Apache Solr, and Drupal CMS (Islandora). Metadata is deliberately foregrounded in the repository architecture: the primary navigation interface is an interactive map built in CartoDB which utilizes geocoded metadata fields to place significant sites from the photographs onto a map — clicking on the site will execute a search on that location. Additionally, because the actual XML data are indexed, searching metadata is divorced from the limitations of the traditional database structure and is amplified by the additional functionality of an enterprise indexing system including string manipulations, stemming, wildcards, highlighting, proximity searching and faceting among other features.

The Holocaust Site collection website will be launched this academic year. With the enormous changes in the political and physical landscape which occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the development of new memorials and museums at these sites, the potential use of the collection is wide. This locally-produced open access collection will provide a new avenue for exploring change over time, for the production of new knowledge across disciplines and geography, and for further conversation on war, landscape, and memorialization.


Thursday May 12, 2016 4:20pm - 4:25pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

Attendees (14)