FLOODING THE MARKET: Diana Coderre, co-owner of The Digital Ark, says the company began work with the U.S. Naval War College with the preservation of two log books, both from 1812. It’s part of a long-term collaboration to develop the Naval Historical Collection website.
As the digital world rushes forward with new developments, The Digital Ark continues to expand its offerings in areas such as interactive kiosks, to widen the geographical territory of its client base and to upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand to serve as a repository for large, digital collections.
One of The Digital Ark’s clients is the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, said Diana Coderre, who founded the company with her husband, Edward Coderre, eight years ago.
An interactive kiosk unveiled during the summer at the U.S. Naval War College Museum is just the most visible part of a multilayered project.
“We began with the preservation of two log books, both from 1812, from the privateer Yankee,” said Diana Coderre. A privateer is a privately owned ship authorized by a government to attack enemy ships during wartime.
“The U.S. Naval War College Library asked us to do digital preservation and conservation and create an exhibit around those journals,” she said.
The iPad kiosk created from the initial preservation project includes videos, interactive maps showing the course of each of the voyages and a flipbook interface that links to either of the two journals and allows visitors to zoom in, click to the interactive map, go to a corresponding page in the journal and hear the voiceover for that section.
In addition to the War of 1812 kiosk, The Digital Ark is in a long-term collaboration with the Naval War College to develop the Naval Historical Collection website, expected to be launched later this year. The website will feature rotating online exhibits and provide advance searching and browsing capabilities. Visitors to the website will be able to create user accounts, add comments, request materials, email favorites and share information via social media.
“It will include the logs from 1812 and material from other collections. They’re continuously sending us collections to digitize,” said Coderre.
The Naval War College staff will be able to monitor analytics data to track popular searches, which will help in prioritizing digitization projects.
The demand for hosting of large collections for cultural heritage and historical societies, among other clients, and the need to upgrade infrastructure overall has prompted The Digital Ark to move twice since its founding. It moved from Newport to Providence and then in October to a new location on Westminster Street in Providence.