background image
If our main interest is in teaching, or in otherwise showing the richness of our collections, we
might want to define paths through the collections. An example of such a facility at the Wilfred
Owen Multimedia Digital Archive is available at http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/jtap/pcs/.
Finally, once we have the emblems themselves digitized, we have the opportunity to study rela-
tions between the emblems. If we know how to integrate the data about inter-emblem relations
with the digital collections, we will be able to visualize those relations using sophisticated net-
work diagramming tools. Essentially, we would want all these tools to work from the outside.
Researchers should be able to categorize, describe, and map emblems and emblem relations with-
out necessarily being involved in one of the emblem digitization projects.The rest of this paper
describes one such tool, the Public Index Feature, now under development at the Emblem Pro-
ject Utrecht.
E m b l e m i n d e x e s : t y p e s a n d p o s s i b i l i t i e s
The German Emblem Books Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gives
us a simple example of the kind of tools we need.
4
Its "My Favorites" folder facilitates personal
study of selected emblems.
5
Basically, this bookmark-type folder can be saved as an HTML page,
and then stored on the users' own computer or even on their own website.
This is an interesting feature, because what we have is in effect a partial index into the Ger-
man Emblem Book site.A partial index? Yes, if users have been consistent in the kinds of emblems
placed in their favorites' folder, the folder constitutes a partial index on the German Emblem
Books site, based on their own current research interests, whatever they are.
The next step would be to generalize this concept: strip the lay-out information from the gen-
erated webpage, define a generic data structure which can hold the information necessary for
indexing purposes, and deliver the information to the user. Users then can decide on the way
they want to use it.
The first thing we should do, therefore, is to ask what an index is, what are the kinds of things
that one indexes, and what is it that the index entry says about these things.
6
If we think about
the type of things in our collections which could be indexed - the type of things about which
the researcher might want to say something - some candidates are:
emblems;
emblem fragments (a fragment being anything that is part of the emblem: a single word, a
group of lines, the picture, element of the picture);
4
http://images.library.uiuc.edu/
projects/emblems/.
5
This is a feature of the CON-
TENTdm product. One of the
facilities of the "My Favorites"
folder is emblem comparison.
6
In the Topic Maps paradigm, the
former would be the "occurrences,"
the latter the "topics."
Illustration 1: Structural description of events
resulting in complex retrieval actions and
highlighted results.
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