Representing Collections

Here in the Special Collections department, we often hear the question, “What kind of stuff do you have?”

With 134 archival collections in over 6500 boxes on our shelves, that question can be a bit tricky! From our website, users can keyword search or browse an A-Z list to discover our collection holdings.

But what about other ways of taking a quick snapshot of our collections to reveal the types of research materials we collect and preserve?  
As an experiment, subject terms assigned to our collections were loaded into Wordle, a free online word cloud generator.  After a few tweaks to font, color, and word count, a snapshot of the archives took shape:

While in no way comprehensive or standardized, this word cloud is an example of alternate ways to represent collections and make them more accessible to users.  The most commonly-assigned terms are displayed in a visual way to reveal themes that run through our collections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *