Bringing Museum Collections into the 21st Century: The Digital Ark and U.S. Naval War College Introduce Interactive iPad Kiosks and Historical Collections Website

Digital archiving experts team with local museum and library to increase access to special collections,
both online and on-site

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 30 , 2013 – The Digital Ark is collaborating with the U.S. Naval War College on the design and development of interactive iPad kiosk exhibits for the college museum and a website for the Henry E. Eccles Library. As The Digital Ark continues to digitally preserve their special collections, the college has sought innovative and cost-effective ways to share the library’s archives online and engage visitors at the museum.

The Digital Ark partnered with the Naval War College Museum and Library to make the library's special collections available to museum visitors during the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Capitalizing on reduced equipment costs and uptime compared to PC-based kiosks, as well as the ease-of-use of tablets for non-tech savvy users, The Digital Ark selected an iPad in an affordable, secure freestanding kiosk which is easily transported to other locations. The Digital Ark provided digitization and book conservation of two original journals of the U.S. privateer Yankee. Content development and programming included:

  • Interactive timeline of the war
  • Flip book interface
  • Maps displaying each voyage’s course
  • Voiceover recordings of journal excerpts
  • Videos
  • Looping fact screens
  • Ruggedized signage

To allow the international Navy community access to its special collections, the library hired The Digital Ark to design and build a comprehensive digital repository enabling faculty, students, and researchers to be inspired by and learn from their cultural heritage. The library’s Naval Historical Collection serves as the record-keeper and storyteller through its rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and oral histories. The website, to be launched later this year, features rotating online exhibits which will highlight hidden treasures, and provides advanced search and browsing capabilities. Visitors can create user accounts, rate items, add comments, request materials, email Favorite Albums, and share via social media. Staff can monitor analytics data in order to track popular searches, thereby prioritizing digitization projects.

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