From Oral Histories to 3D Printable Files: DC Book Galleries Showcase More Than You Think

The book gallery structure built into the Digital Commons platform was originally designed to house traditional monographs with full-text, chapters, and a cover image side-by-side. But the structure has proven to be remarkably flexible, and many Digital Commons administrators have discovered that it can be an ideal vehicle for a broad range of collections, often including things that aren’t books at all. Many repositories are now using the unique visual layout provided by book galleries to show off everything from oral histories to 3D-printable files.

Like all Digital Commons structures, book galleries can accommodate any type of file, including embedded streaming media. This has led several libraries to use it for performing arts collections, such as Eastern Illinois University’s archive of Theater Arts Department productions. Each “book” in this collection represents a production in the department’s history and includes programs, photographs, and other related materials. Cedarville University has created similar exhibits for both theatre productions and music recordings by faculty and students. Each recording in the latter collection may include downloadable samples and links to buy copies or find them in the library catalog. A similar gallery can be found in Digital Commons@Fairfield, where streaming audio or video accompanies many recordings.

The Maine Song and Story Sampler makes use of a group of book galleries to present recordings of folk songs and stories as well as biographical information for artists and collectors. At Digital Commons @ Georgia Law, a gallery of Historic Georgia Digests and Codes allows visitors to browse original documents of the laws of Georgia and download PDF copies. The book gallery’s space for a “cover image” provided the perfect display for posters from Bond University’s Research Week, and even 3-D Printable Objects from the Chemistry Department at Lawrence University.

Our Consulting Services team is always happy to share information about Digital Commons features and provide guidance on how best to showcase unique material in your repository, so don’t hesitate to contact us whenever you’re ready to build a new collection.