Embedding A Digital Repository within the Texas A&M University Library Web Services

Leggett, John
Tarpley, Jeremy
Ponsford, Bennett
Phillips, Scott
Mikeal, Adam
Maslov, Alexey
Messinger, Tina
Armstrong, Tommy
Creel, James
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The development and deployment of the Manakin theme for the digital repository at Texas A&M University provides an informative case study in embedding DSpace repositories within an institutional web presence. Last year, the Texas A&M University Libraries began a redesign of the existing web interface in accordance with a new institution-wide branding initiative. A collaborative effort between administrators, designers, and developers has yielded a look and feel for the institutional repository that integrates seamlessly with the library's and university's other web services while providing the unique functionalities required by various and diverse collections. The use of Manakin themes ensured that the development process was modular and employed well-established web development techniques and technologies.

The design of the digital repository theme began with consultations between library designers and TAMU branding authorities. The designers used Photoshop to produce mock-up pages for primary use cases with colors, fonts, and graphics that adhered to the institutional branding mandates while satisfying usability heuristics. These designs underwent iterative refinement with comments from administrators and developers. When all parties were satisfied, the design team translated the images into HTML and CSS mock-ups for web browser rendering.

Designers handed off the HTML code to the Manakin theme developers, who coded XSL to produce such HTML from XML DRI data generated from the repository. Developers coded additional Javascript to implement the UI vision of the designers.

Developers produced two Manakin themes of different specificity - A theme for the repository in general, and one that specifically applied to the Geologic Atlas of the United States map collection. That theme, known as "Geofolios," employs the Yahoo! Maps API and Google Earth overlays to allow patrons to browse the collection in the context of manipulable maps indicating the geographic context of the folios.

In summary, embedding the digital repository in the institutional web presence required no more effort than other XML-based content would have. The pre-development design process and use of XSL transforms are standard practices in institutional web development. Manakin's ability to apply themes to specific content enabled a neat separation of development between the Geofolios theme and the general theme. THe augmentation of additional collections with customized interfaces in the future would be a similarly modular activity. Importantly, the use of Manakin themes provides a seamless integration between the repository and the library's existing web presence, reducing patrons' cognitive overhead in navigating between the repository and other services.

Presentation slides for the 2008 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).