Collaboration, Cultural Resources & Digital Projects – The Texas Tides Program

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Clarke, Susan
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The electronic aspects of coordinating the collaboration of the many partners of this project will be highlighted. The Texas Tides Community Wiki was set up as a primary collaboration tool to provide a forum for our partner teachers and resource specialists to interact. The teachers develop lesson plans based on primary source material found online on the Texas Tides site. These lesson plans when complete are integrated into the site as another resource. The wiki allows them a space to brainstorm, collaborate with other professionals and receive feedback. The Tides database is currently being migrated into a new system to better serve our user's requests. When the migration is complete the database will have 10,000 fully digitized primary resource items. The CONTENTdm™ system has many user requested features. This large database will also enable us to significantly expand our collections and incorporate additional resources from our partners. Multimedia integration and the use of non-mainstream electronic advertising techniques to promote and invigorate our site will also be covered. Cultural resources are a major component in the project. Our collections are in the midst of a language translation phase also. Many of the materials on the website will also have a Spanish translation. Technology is advancing and changing the scope of the website. Due to the collaboration of the teachers and partners from Mexico the Tides site is planning to add more variety to the cultural resources presented. The multi-media technology we are using will greatly enhance some of these new and exciting projects. Museums, K-12 teachers from the United States and Texas and other multi-national organizations and educators provide material, input and feedback in a variety of way. The teachers are traveling with the Digital Projects team from Stephen F. Austin State University to film field trips in the United States and Mexico. Collections from diverse sources can be digitized for use by anyone who accesses the website. A number of issues arose while the project developed. A new library department was created to manage and coordinate its scope and also to plan for the future and how the library would deliver resources to its client base. New technology services were developed using a mix of new and established products. Focus groups were held to access various user group needs. New partners were and are continuing to be incorporated into the project. This paper will feature how some of these challenges were met with technology and how some ideas of how future technology hurdles can be managed. Specific technologies used for project collaboration in this will be Wikis; database management software; web tools; survey and other assessment tools; interactive tutorial software and marketing and tools.
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