Development and Use of Multimedia Archives and Databases for Humanities Education

John Paul Ashenfelter
Teaching + Technology Initiative
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 9026
Charlottesville, VA 22906

Images, in the form of slides and other media formats, are a staple of many types of humanities courses. The advent of the World Wide Web and other new computer technologies is slowly transforming how these courses can be developed and delivered, particularly at the university level. This poster and demonstration outlines the various types of technologies that can be used to develop multimedia archives for educational purposes as well as a number of specific project examples in anthropology, religious studies, and art history.

The advantages of using some sort of multimedia archive for a humanities course are those of convenience, access, management. Course development is also changed significantly by using multimedia archives. Images from multiple collections (especially personal ones) are more readily available and accessible conveniently from the instructor's desktop. Keyword searching also greatly improves the ease of finding appropriate material, especially in large collections. The cost of developing a media archive is not insignificant however.

The University of Virginia Teaching+Technology Initiative, New Media Center, Digital Media Center, and Instructional Technology Group have all been collaborating on these sorts of projects for a number of years. These project span the gamut from history of photography to French culture, to the circus but the basic development process of each is similar.

The technologies and standards involved in building these projects will be presented, including web database technology, scanning and digitization procedures, image projection techniques, metadata markup, and cross-project integration.