Browsing and Curated Content
Desk View and Serendipity
One of the features of Americana's home page is what we have been referring to as “desk view”. Each time the site is reloaded, the desk view displays random items of our collections, in their relative dimensions. The objective of this tool is trifold:
First, it encourages readers to consider on the materiality of the collection—something that is usually lost in digital collections, where all items seem to have the same dimensions to fit the computer screen;
Second, it speaks to the diversity of the Americas, bringing to light items that belong to different cultures, geographies and historical moments that help us to understand the transcultural nature of an “Americana collection”;
Third, the desk view works as a serendipity tool, by allowing users to perform unexpected or fortuitous discoveries while piercing through historiographic bubbles.
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Exhibitions and Stories
Exhibitions can serve a variety of purposes, such as showcasing the library's unique or rare items, highlighting the work of a particular artist or author, or providing historical context or background information on a particular subject.
Since foundation in 1846, the John Carter Brown Library has produced over two hundred exhibitions, all of which are currently being migrated to Americana. The greatest quality of these exhibitions do not rely on notions of authority or completeness, but on the lights that it sheds on the public and scholarly perception of the collection—and particular items—through the years.
We now want to create new and exciting pathways into the collection, by creating new exhibitions in collaboration with our community of knowledge.
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Projects are groups of items that can be selected, described and annotated by anyone. Using Americana's workspace and very intuitive tools, users can collaboratively create a wide variety of projects: simple lists of items; entire catalogues or bibliographies; annotated editions; teaching materials; presentations; conferences; research logs; publication companions; and even blogs — without having to pay for hosting servers or worrying for their preservation!
Every month, a number of special projects are selected to be featured on Americana website.
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Selections are preset searches and legacy collections that have been based on a specific theme, subject or purpose (such as “books published in Peru"; “items published by Juan Pablos”; “books published in indigenous languages at the John Carter Brown Library”; and so on).
At Americana, we understand these selections as a dynamic, living approaches to our holdings that can grow organically as our knowledge of these items expands, rather than a static "collection": an anachronistic entity that gives a misleading sense of completeness or authority.
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Have you found an item that you're interested in and want to browse through similar items? Great! Simply go to the bibliographic card associated with the object and click on the relevant tags. This will show other items that were tagged with the same concepts by our catalogers or librarians.
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