McMaster University, Library • 2007-2008

PW20C was the revis­it­ing of a col­lab­o­ra­tion between me and Dr. Kath­leen Garay, but this time with her wear­ing her archivist’s hat, and the spon­sors the Cana­dian Cul­ture Online Pro­gram of the Depart­ment of Cana­dian Her­itage, Library and Archives Canada and the Cana­dian Coun­cil of Archives. We were for­tu­nate to have Jeff Trze­ciak on board as the Uni­ver­sity Librar­ian, and the coop­er­a­tion of the William Ready Divi­sion of Archives and Research Col­lec­tions, as well as a team of archivists and assis­tants, con­sul­tants, pho­tog­ra­phers, and espe­cially all the affil­i­ates who wrote the 53 fas­ci­nat­ing case stud­ies that com­ple­ment nearly 2800 records com­posed of let­ters, posters, leaflets, diaries and pho­tographs cov­er­ing a cen­tury of con­flict and res­o­lu­tion.

Peace and War in the 20th Century



Designer and devel­oper


1 year, half time


Ini­tially I was slated to offi­cially shoul­der more of the tech­ni­cal man­age­ment of the project, but with the restruc­tur­ing of the Library, we ended up enjoy­ing the ben­e­fits of a far larger team to provide us with the nec­es­sary guid­ance and sup­port for this huge under­tak­ing. Begin­ning with the meta­data, I con­sulted with mem­bers of the team in vary­ing roles and cre­ated a struc­ture to con­form to stan­dards, as well as a basic inter­face for ini­tial data entry. Scan­ning and dig­i­ti­za­tion pro­ce­dures were imple­mented and over­seen by me, after I care­fully selected the equip­ment we would use to scan and pho­tograph the mate­ri­als. Using feed­back from team mem­bers, I began to con­struct a frame to con­tain the new dig­i­tal archives in such a way that they were acces­si­ble and manip­u­la­ble by archivists and would end up being easy to find and access by the pub­lic. Ulti­mately, the work­flow was devel­oped by the team in a cyclic method, ensur­ing that they were aware of any tech­ni­cal lim­i­ta­tions and impo­si­tions, and that I would con­struct an inter­face that best met all of their needs. This inter­face was care­fully crafted and coded by me using an open source con­tent man­age­ment plat­form called Dru­pal as the base, and a huge num­ber of pre-built and cus­tom-built mod­ules that I com­bined in to a very scal­able, pow­er­ful engine to receive and feed dig­i­tal con­tent. With the skele­ton in place, I used orig­i­nal art con­cepts designed by our illus­tra­tor, and skinned’ the inter­face.

McMas­ter Uni­ver­sity, Library

The teaching experience

Listen to me read some Pagnol