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Harvard is exploring user interface technology concepts for a Harvard Digital Library.

The vision for the digital library is that as a researcher or academic who needs to locate web accessible digital collections and content made available by the Harvard Library, the user needs to easily discover what content and collections are available, to search and browse those collections, to have immediate on-line access to all Harvard Library on-line digital content, and to create personalized and annotated research portfolios for research teaching, and learning.

Technology assessments for some interesting sites that share some of the attributes desired in Harvard;'s digital library are listed below.


 EuropeanaNYPLHarvard Art Museums
Public URL
Documentation URL

Blacklight, rails,

Wrote blacklight extension to use Europeana API instead of solr index (like Library Cloud API)

Custom ruby on rails application

Custom site using Laravel PHP framework. Used the firm Area17 for design and implementation.

Uses the Art Museums collections API

MetadataEuropeana data model/ linked open dataCustom Metadata Management SystemThe Museum System (TMS) SQL database plus MYSQL analytics database
Digital ObjectsHosted by providing sites, including IIIF compatible sites

Local Fedora repository

IA Book Viewer

Custom image viewer (image carousel and deep zoom)

All images served from the DRS image delivery service
Collections data model

Europeana data model -


  • Collection
  • Container
  • Item
  • Capture

A key for the Europeana REST API, available from:


based on MODS, like Library Cloud

MODS has linked data URIs in many cases supported by node.js and ElasticSearch

IIIF Presentation API (eg

  • Ruby 2
  • ImageMagick
  • PostgreSQL

released 180K images as high res

user friendly text on site, eg "View this item elsewhere" rather than our "Related Links"

Collection pages have  "Meta" tags for SEO





  1. NYPL Labs. Based dually at the Library's landmark central branch on 42nd Street and at its cutting-edge services center in Long Island City, NYPL Labs is an interdisciplinary team working to reformat and reposition the Library's knowledge for the Internet age. Labs combines core digital library operations (digitization, metadata, permissions/reproductions, etc.) with a publicly engaged tech, design, and outreach team focused on enabling new uses of collections and data, collaborating with users on the creation of digital resources, and applying new technologies to library problem-solving.


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