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Published: March 15, 2001.


Building a Web-based Collaborative Database-does it work?
Nuala Bennett , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Trevor Jones , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Session: Collaborations

Designed to create a model collaborative environment, the Digital Cultural Heritage Community Project (DCHC) focuses on the digitization of materials from Central Illinois museums, archives and libraries for integration into elementary grades' social science curricula. Using teachers' curriculum units and the Illinois State Board of Education Learning Standards for Social Sciences as a framework, curators, librarians and archivists identify primary source materials from their collections for inclusion in a Web-based database to be used in third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms. The DCHC provides a means for museums, libraries and archives to identify common ground among their collections, and to provide schools with digital access to these materials. The Early American Museum (EAM) joined the DCHC out of a desire to digitize and increase electronic access to its collections. In this paper, we will discuss both the initial aims and goals of the DCHC from the standpoint of a large university library responsible for administering the project, as well as from the perspective of a smaller participant museum. We will discuss the artifact selection process for the database, and the implementation of a single database for a wide variety of collections, with particular reference to how the database design was viewed by the Early American Museum. Finally, we will explain how the project worked in reality.