IRIS Brings the History of Science to Life

Tue, 2014-03-25 12:02 -- carol

In the spring of 2013, the Lille 1 University - Science and Technology embarked on a mission to re-imagine online access to collections with an extraordinary historical value. Over 1200 printed texts illustrate the history of science in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. With a clear focus on unrestricted access, the university and its project partners guard the digital preservation of these materials. The collections do not solely benefit researchers, as the history of science and technology is part of everyone's cultural heritage.
 
History of coal mines in the North of France? The best photographs of Louis Pasteur? A map of the planet Mars drawn in 1884? IRIS has it all.
 
A unique visual experience
In order to bridge the gap between academia and the general public, the project steering group strongly emphasized a visual approach. In collaboration with @mire, the team wanted to venture far beyond the traditional look and feel of a DSpace repository.
 
The colorful homepage featuring a dynamic carousel invites users to browse through different items, organized in 5 collections. @mire's Document Streaming module was integrated to offer in-browser access to documents. The "Pièce de Résistance" of this repository is without a doubt the virtual exposition functionality. This feature brings different items together in a seamless visual browsing experience, showing casing both images and bite sized descriptions.


 
National impact thanks to a strong regional network
As a project, IRIS is financed by the Lille 1 University - Science and Technology and the Nord-Pas de Calais region. The system is managed by the university library and the emergent research team SCité. The digitized content has been contributed by the university library and its partners, notably the Geological Society of the North (France) and the center for the history of sciences and technology at the University of Liège. Some content even originates from private collections owned by researchers.
 
Together with IRIS, additional resources and services will be proposed on the near term in the context of a brand new Learning center Innovation at the heart of the university.

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