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Just as a library contains shelves of books, documents, maps, reference materials and other resources, we decided to organize our collections of digital resources in "shelves," by subject.
The Process
1. Brainstorm
2. Research
3. Digitize
4. Organize
The modules you'll find on a Digital Library shelf, however, are, of course, digital resources, such as the HTML text document you are viewing now. Other examples might include images, both computer-generated and photographic, audio, such as music clips or oral history recordings, video, interactive Web-based applications, and many more. Most of the digital resources you will be using in creating modules will consist of resources which you may find on other Web sites, materials you have digitized yourself through optical scanning, or documents you have produced yourself.

Most Digital Library modules are organized around an idea or a theme. This theme can be anything, from a scientific topic to a literary work or movement or from the events in a year to a biography of a historical or living person — if it's something you cover in your classroom, it's something we would like to add to our collection. Some things to keep in mind:

  • How does your idea fit into your curriculum goals?
  • What materials are available to adapt to the multimedia environment of the Web?
  • How will you and your students access the materials for class?
Some recent ideas we have received for eCUIP shelves include:
  • Virtual Egg Farm
  • Political Cartoons
  • Elementary Economic Activities
  • Interactive Periodic Table of Elements
  • African-American Politicians of Chicago

Now that you have conceived of your Web project, the next step is finding the sources which will make up the content of your module. Sources can be found both on and off the Internet. The traditional places to find sources are still applicable:

  • Chicago Public Libraries and other collections, such as the Harsh Collection of African-American History
  • The University of Chicago Library, including some special resources, such as the Jazz Archive or the Ida B. Wells Papers
  • Illinois State Archives
Then there are Internet sources:
  • Britannica Online is an excellent place to start searching on any topic. They provide an excellent list of Internet links on virtually any topic you retrieve through your search.
  • Search engines, such as: Yahoo, Dogpile, and Google

Lastly, because copyright regulations prevent us from republishing many materials, you may be called upon to prepare some materials yourself. If you find a useful resource, you can write your own summary of the materials contained within.

At eCUIP we have the resources necessary to digitize many different types of media for the Web. So far, we have digitized hundreds of pages of documents using optical scanning. Through the Digital Library or by using scanners in your own schools, digital facsimiles of your resources can be created.

Once the resources are in digital form, you should think about how they will fit together on this Web site. The Digital Library site has been organized in such a way to easily receive any modules you prepare and there are a number of ready-made navigational aides — such as the gray-striped "utility bars" at the top and bottom of every page — that we will apply to your materials. But there are a few questions you should ask yourself to help organize the components of your specific project:

  • Is there a natural starting place?
  • Do the materials need to be viewed in a certain order?
  • Do the materials fall into a few distinct categories?

If you didn't start out by outlining your project, preparing a rough outline after you've gathered your materials should help you think about how to organize the materials in your module.

We're more than happy to advise and help you at any step of this process. In fact, we'd love to hear from you as soon as you begin your project, please send us an email at Contact. Good luck!

Richard Wright's Black Boy
The first module designed at the request of our pilot school teachers contains documents found in the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library, as well as on the Internet.

Chicago in 1919
This module comprises materials taken from a CD-ROM produced by the Chicago Metro History Fair, and used here with their permission.

Chicago City Council Proceedings
These documents were digitized from collections assembled by the Illinois State Archives for use in middle and high schools.

Hyde Park Houses
A book of photographs published by the University of Chicago Press, who granted us special permission to digitize and republish the book here.

McCosh Math Magazine
This magazine was created by educators and students of James McCosh Elementary School and given to us to digitize so that the magazine's activities can be viewed on-screen and printed out.

Documenting the American South
A very ambitious collection of Southern history, culture and literature, including extensive slave narratives. Note the excellent layout of the pages and powerful search capabilities.

The Listening Booth
Part of the Academy of American Poets Web site, the Listening Booth is a list of poets with RealAudio clips of the poets reading their work. The layout is very simple and yet the resource itself is very powerful.

Amazing Space
This site was assembled by some of the HST team members. Graphics and interactivity are stressed which make it appealing to students.

Neuroscience for Kids
Students can come to this site created by a UW Professor of Anesthesiology and explore the nervous system. It contains a variety of different types of resources, including activities, links, bibliographies for further research and a guide to available software.

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