Connect. Preserve. Share.

In the culture of the Internet, every organization needs to have a visual identity and a tag line. At the CTDA we are developing that visual identity a little at a time. Our first step was to create the minimalist wordmark that was our acronym. This minimalist approach was purposeful. The CTDA is meant to be a service and a resource that others use to preserve and make available their digital material. We wanted something that said who we were but didn’t require a lot of interpretation and did not compete with the content that the CTDA would deliver through the various presentation layers that would leverage CTDA content.

The CTDA's new tagline

The CTDA’s new tagline

As we began working with partners beyond our small implementation group, we found that of course no one knew what CTDA stood for, and in a world of silos and “complete solutions” people did not immediately understand what services we provided.  We are happy to explain that the CTDA is not a destination, but a service that organizations use to preserve their digital content and to make that content available to many presentation applications. The CTDA doesn’t itself own any content, rather it is a means of connecting organizations to preservation services so that they can share those resources with each other and the world.

As this understanding became clearer in our own minds, we got to thinking about how to better express our new sense of the service in a sound bite. We decided that we would alter the wordmark and add a tagline that succinctly explained us.  Easier said than done. After much debate and discussion we chose the three words you see above: Connect. Preserve. Share. Our mission is to Connect participants to preservation services,. We Preserve digital content and metadata for the long term, and we make it possible to Share that content with each other, and with national aggregators like the DPLA.

So there you go. I just took 300 words to say what we hope our tagline says in just three.

CTDA Welcomes New Content Participants

Three new organizations testing the CTDA

Three new organizations are testing the CTDA

The CTDA welcomes the Barnum Museum of Bridgeport, the Fairfield Museum and History Center, and the Bridgeport History Center at the Bridgeport Public Library. All three institutions are currently using our “staging” environment to test metadata and content ingest and digital object modeling. With help from the CTDA staff, they will also create “submission packages” to test batch uploading of repository content. These three institutions are the first group beyond the original institutions involved in developing the CTDA infrastructure. We thank them for choosing to preserve their digital assets with the CTDA, and for helping us improve our services and procedures. If your institution is interested in participating in the CTDA, read about how to participate or contact us for more information

CTDA signs on with DPLA


The Digital Public Library of America seeks to aggregate access to the nation’s digital cultural heritage

The CTDA has signed to become a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America ( When implemented, this means that content in the CTDA will be automatically indexed by the DPLA and made available through the DPLA search engine which combines more than 5 million digital cultural heritage resources in a single search box.

Additionally, the CTDA will offer support and assistance to cultural heritage institutions seeking to prepare their content for ingest into the CTDA and use by the DPLA.

For more information contact us.

CTDA supports new collections at UConn

Five new collections are now available from UConn’s Special Collections and Archives.

These collections represent not only new online access to these resources but the evolution of skills for the archivists involved and new file types that can be ingested and delivered through the CTDA platform.

Marriage Equality and LGBT Activism is a collection of transcripts of interviews in pdf format

New Haven Railroad Glass Negatives Glass plate originals provide high resolution still images of historical railroad rolling stock.

Robin Romano Papers A selection of photos on child labor from the renowned documentarian.

School of Nursing War Veteran Oral History is a video oral history collection used in teaching and research by Jennifer Telford of the School of Nursing. This is the first example of faculty research data in the digital repository.

UConn Health Center A collection of audio interviews with founders of the Health Center.

These five collections represent new capability available on the CTDA platform. Now that we can successfully ingest and deliver these common file types, we are looking ahead to improving the user experience and the overall design and display of content and metadata.


CTDA Launches with Nuremberg Trial Papers of Senator Thomas J. Dodd

On Thursday November 13, 2013 at 3:00pm the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) launched the Nuremberg Trial Papers of Senator Thomas J. Dodd to the public. This collection is the first publicly accessible collection in the CTDA and at launch includes just over 12,000 pages. Over the coming months additional pages will be added to this collection and we encourage everyone to check the site often as new content is made available to the public.


The Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center site within the CTDA is based on a responsive design which enables users, regardless of device, to search and view content within the repository. In addition to being mobile, tablet and desktop viewable, the archive features Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for each page which enables full text searching throughout the documents within the repository. As you discover materials within the collection, you will view the pages which are part of folders. The folder organization is based on the original print collections and through the power of keyword searching, you are able to quickly locate documents throughout the collection which are related, but may be in separate folders or boxes in the original collection.

Check out the CTDA’s University of Connecticut Libraries Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center site and explore the Nuremberg Trial Papers of Senator Thomas J. Dodd.

New features will be added in the coming weeks and months so check the site and we welcome user feedback as we continue to refine the site.


Nuremberg Trial Papers to launch as first collection in the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA)

Over the past few months we have been busy developing the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) infrastructure and we are excited to publicly unveil the first public collection within CTDA on November 13, 2013 at 3:00pm.


The first public collection within the CTDA features the newly digitized Nuremberg Trial Papers of Senator Thomas J. Dodd, Executive Trial Counsel and supervisor of the U.S. prosecution team at the International Military Tribunal from the University of Connecticut Libraries Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

The official launch will be on November 13, 2013 at the Dodd Prize Award Ceremony which is being held in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Konover Auditorium at the University of Connecticut Storrs Campus. The site will become publicly accessible shortly after the ceremony and we will include a link on this blog to the new site.


CTDA Welcomes Michael Howser

HowserMichael Howser has been appointed Digital Repository Coordinator and leader of the new Digital Scholarship and Data Curation Team at UConn Libraries. This reorganization provides more resources for both technical and service development in the digital repository

As Digital Repository Coordinator, Michael will lead the development of CTDA programs for both UConn and its partners. Many of you already know Michael from his work with the Connecticut State Data Center and UConn’s MAGIC (Map and Geographic Information Center), both based at the UConn Libraries. Michael will continue his work in those areas as he takes on leadership for the CTDA.


CTDA Partners with discoverygarden

The CTDA has signed a contract with discoverygarden of Charlottetown, PEI to develop the basic presentation and management layers for the CTDA. discoverygarden is one of the primary developers of Islandora, the open source application framework originally developed at the University of Prince Edward Island. Islandora  is a set of Drupal modules that facilitate interaction with the Fedora repository through Drupal 7 pages and forms, and leverages Drupal functionality to create flexible and extensible interactions with repository content.

Over the course of the next few months, discoverygarden will work with CTDA staff and stakeholders to develop presentation and management tools for the CTDA. As part of that development the CTDA will host conversations about features and functions for those interested in participating the the CTDA. Look for more information about those conversations coming soon.

Shhh…CTDA Serves Live Content

Magic web page offers data from the CTDA

MAGIC web page offers data from the CTDA

This morning the CTDA served its first live content from the repository. You may not have noticed, in fact we hope you didn’t notice it at all. Why? Because the digital repository is supposed to be a source of content and not necessarily a destination.

UConn’s Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) has been a source for GIS data about Connecticut for more than 10 years. Until today, they managed and maintained their own warehouse of data, and served it through their Connecticut GIS Data webpage. Now, their data resides in the digital repository, but is still served through the Connecticut GIS Data webpage.

What is so significant about that? It means that this data is now part of a managed, preservation-oriented repository, where it will be curated for the foreseeable future. The MAGIC staff can concentrate on content delivery and visualization rather than content management and preservation and use resources more effectively and efficiently.  Additionally, since these are public records with no access restrictions, these resources will be available for others to feature or offer from their sites as well, without having to load copies onto their servers.

As a library of digital content, the CTDA can support the information needs of multiple constituencies without duplicating that content in many different places.

Right now, the CTDA only serves content through a third party web site or application. There is no public interface for searching or viewing content. That will come in the next few months. We have concentrated on building a robust ingest and management system that will be able to support a variety of presentation layers.

We are working to configure an Islandora 7 presentation interface, and an Omeka presentation layer for the CTDA. This is part of our overal technology plan to “quick start” the repository using available open source applications. Once the repository services are stable on these platforms, we will begin to develop our own tools and applications.

But, for now, baby steps forward.

What’s in a Name, or a Namespace?

As we continue to develop the technical framework of the CTDA, we often run into technical questions that are really policy questions. This happened the other day when we began to think about loading permanent digital content and needed to make final decisions about namespaces.

The simplest definition of a namespace comes of course from Wikipedia: “an abstract container or environment created to hold a logical grouping of unique identifiers or symbols (i.e., names)”

(Note: this can get a little technical but is worth the read.)

In the CTDA, which is built on the Fedora Commons architecture, namespaces are used when constructing a “PID”–persistent identifier–for each object in the repository. A PID has two parts separated by a colon, the namespace and the object-id, for example: XYZ:123

Multiple namespaces can be used in a repository to associate digital objects according to some logical grouping or a single namespace could be used for all objects in the repository. These relationships are also expressed in object metadata so the namespace is not the only way relationships are expressed. However, namespaces can make repository management more efficient, especially in situations like the CTDA where content will come from multiple institutions.  (For those of you with library training, think: OCLC code in WorldCat)

The question we faced was how many or few namespaces should we have in the CTDA?  The “lumper” approach would be to have one namespace for everyone and manage everything by metadata. This had the advantage of being easy to maintain but the disadvantage of negating the usefulness of namespaces. The “splitter” approach is to create granular namespaces for “logical” groupings. This would make management and reporting more efficient, but carries with it the burden of defining a “logical” grouping, and creating and maintaining a naming convention.

In the end we settled on a relatively granular approach that not only allows for namespaces for each organization in the CTDA, but for “autonomous units” within those larger organizations. We haven’t yet defined what an autonomous unit is yet, but the structure is there for when we do. For example the PID UConnLib:1234 identifies the organization as the University of Connecticut (UConn) and the autonomous unit Libraries (Lib). The object id following the colon is a simple incremental series (1,2,3,4,5…). Other units within the UConn organization are possible and would begin with UConn.

This may get unwieldy in the future and namespaces may someday be less than descriptive (think airport identification codes: ORD for Chicago, GEG for Spokane, Washington, e.g.), but the system will work and be infinitely extensible.

No permanent content objects could be loaded into the repository until we decided on how to name them.

Now we can move on to the next step.