Staten Island Added Value And Search Tools

Introductory passages to this website are particularly important, as they will constitute the first and perhaps greatest metadata interaction between the project and its users. As digitized documents will simply be made available for researchers and not interpreted or analyzed for researchers, introductions must comprehensively establish a topic as objectively as possible. Introductions will be placed at the beginning of different sections, explaining the basic information about the topic including a broad, general history and the status of the subject at the present. The section for Clay Pit Pond, for example, will state when it was established, mention important events and people, and explain what happens there today. The introductions can also be used to explain why a particular subject or item is present in the project if its use is not apparent. Perhaps the most important introduction is the main or lead introduction, present as a separate, easily located page, and listed before the rest of the project. This may be quite extensive, as it will need to explain the history of Staten Island’s environment, as well as the purpose, design, and resources of the project. Each subsequent page will have its own shorter and more particular introduction, but the documents, presented after the introduction, will be left to speak for themselves.

Because of this, annotations will be used only when necessary. In other words, a document will only receive annotation to provide factual information that cannot be ascertained from the document itself. Names, dates, and locations, in addition to similar material, will be included when not otherwise available. Research, analysis, interpretation, and conjecture will be excluded to reduce effort on the staff and to provide as much neutrality as possible. If it seems that such information is necessary for some reason, users will be directed to appropriate external sources. Each annotation will include source information to enable users to see which bibliographic entry was used specifically for information on a particular topic or item. It does not seem that annotation will be a major factor in this project, as most of the materials will be self-evident and not require additional information.

Ancillary data can be divided into two broad categories: information pertaining to individual documents and items or information about the larger project. Individual documents will have their data presented with them when opened by a user. For example, a scan of a newsletter will have the appropriate metadata placed on the same page as the scan. The location and type of information made available should be placed into a standard format to provide consistency and cleanliness. Additionally, it should be present on each page for items that consist of multiple pages. Like with annotations, this will be mostly factual, and will only provide interpretation when necessary to understanding the document. Ancillary data about the project itself can probably be located on a distinct page, including recent updates, site statistics, and other metadata concerning the project that may be of use or interest to others.

Despite their low profile, the search function for this project is highly important, as it can determine whether users find what they need or not, and therefore whether they will return to the site or recommend it to others. It should be designed to search for subject names, including personal names, locations, and organizations, as well as for dates. In addition, it would be useful for people to search for document types. In some cases, it may be useful to have several different options in this regard: for example, a user could look for either 5 x 8 photographs, 8 x 10 photographs, or for photos in general. It may be useful to design a search function specifically for this site as opposed to using a pre existing model to ensure that its works best for this project in particular. Users should also be able to search for items based on their metadata, if this differs in some way from previous pieces of information. In terms of appearance, it may be useful to design the search engine to make it familiar to users - it can look like Google, Yahoo! or another common engine. However, it should function specifically for this site, as the materials are unique and will need special handling.

Links within the site are less important than the search function, but proper use will make the experience of using the site more pleasant and user-friendly. Every regular page will have either a vertical or horizontal menu bar which will allow users to move to any of the major parts of the site at any time. Once a user leaves the main page and moves to a section of the project, they will see additional links to the parts of that section, such as newsletters, photographs, and so on. Using these links will bring them to a list of items potentially presented as thumbnail images if space and time permit it. Individual items will open in a separate window to keep the main page open. This seems to be convenient, as it will not force users to repeatedly go back and forth between pages. These items, however, will need to have links to following or preceding pages located at the top and bottom of the page, as well as a link to a glossary, bibliography, or metadata, if necessary. A simple way to test links is for project workers to try and use the site. If an additional link seems useful, or an existing link seems confusing and repetitive, it will be changed to make the site more convenient.

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