A few weeks ago, the McGraw Center hosted a faculty panel entitled Teaching with the Archives. This session highlighted several courses in which students are working with objects in library and museum archives and the ways in which those resources, or at least digital facsimiles of those resources, are being used in the classroom. The McGraw Center’s Educational and Classroom Technologies group and Digital Learning Lab are keenly interested in coming up with ways for faculty and students to work with archival objects and in the session I mentioned a couple of technologies, specifically IIIF and APIs, that hold promise for expanding the possibilities for learning interactions with digital objects. Using these technologies, for example, several projects that the McGraw Center has collaborated on such as the ABCBooks, Komonjo, and Playing Soviet archives have pulled images of book pages directly from Princeton University Digital Library collections and placed them into platforms in which students can tag, annotate, discuss, and comment. A practical application of APIs can also be found in a recently developed plugin for the McGrawCommons course website platform. When enabled in a course website, the PUAM Search plugin adds a search interface to the Princeton Art Museum‘s online collection. Because the Art Museum has made their collection metadata available online via APIs and images available using IIIF, users of the McGrawCommons platform can search the collections and pull images and associated metadata directly into a course website. It is our hope that with this plugin, and more to be developed in the future, that we can encourage the classroom use of library and museum resources both in and outside of the archive.

Once the plugin is enabled, authors of posts and pages will find an additional tab in their media library allowing them to search and import Princeton Art Museum resources into the course website.

If you are interested in setting up a course website or in learning more about this and other features of the McGrawCommons platform, contact the Educational and Classroom Technologies group at mcgrawect@princeton.edu.