What users say…

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Using BigDIVA to search the ARC Catalog takes the onus off scholars and students to start with a specific research question, instead allowing questions to arise naturally as they explore the catalog. It is not simply a search interface but also a discovery tool.

Johanna Drucker – Distinguished Professor of Information Studies, UCLA

Free for open-access resources and materials.

Subscriptions are available for access to an institution’s licensed proprietary databases along with the open-access resources and materials.

Accessible on phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and large screen installations.

On and off for the past two years, I have looked for a photograph or picture of Allan Forman, the influential editor for a newspaper trade magazine called The Journalist published in the late 19th century. I’ve searched everywhere because I need that likeness. I plan a biography of Forman. Today, I decided: “Let’s give BigDIVA a try.” I did a simple, name search that hit pay dirt the first time I used it. Buried somewhere in the New York Public Library, there is a series of cigarette trading cards from the 19th century of famous New York editors. Forman was in the collection. BigDIVA found the digitized version.

Randall S. Sumpter – Associate Professor, Department of Communication, TAMU

Three common themes were apparent from the participants’ self-reports: that the novelty of BigDIVA’s networked browsing was either “fun” or “interesting,” that BigDIVA could be most useful for specialized archives or for use in scholarly settings, and that the networked visualizations may be pedagogically valuable for demonstrating relationships between scholarly sources…. Networked browsing helps users conceptualize archives as agential or living material bodies. In doing so, searching through an archive is no longer a linear act of retrieval, but an exploratory and contingent act of meaning-making.

Joel Schneier, NCSU, conducted a usability study report titled “BigDIVA and Networked Browsing” (forthcoming)

Visualize by resource, genre, discipline, and format.

Timeline feature allows results to be filtered according to date.

For me, BigDIVA is an astounding accomplishment given its context. From humble origins, its staff has managed to secure funding and produce a large scale collaborative endeavor that seems nearly ready for inclusion into all university libraries. BigDIVA’s visual components make the pre-existing structure of library databases easily perceptible to its users. Not only is BigDIVA itself intuitive, I would imagine it would have a recursive effect of better clarifying the structure of library collections for library users that have not yet had that particular epiphany.

Alexander Monea, “A Primer on BigDIVA and the Future of Search?” HASTAC Blog Posting, 23 October 2015.