NYPL’s new digital collections with annotation and juxtaposition tools

Earlier this semester, Karoline posted about NYPL’s Digital Gallery. However, last summer the NYPL Labs team launched their new Digital Collections, now in beta, to draw together all their digital materials, including video. In addition, there are video composition tools that allow users to search for content based on their copyright and usage details; place items side by side, annotate, save, and share them. I actually got to play around with the tool as it was being built and content was being digitized last summer in a fellowship.


The new interface is more interactive, and communicates more about the items available than the previous digital gallery. Less clicking, more faceted browsing, and streaming video hopefully brings more traffic and attention to the new platform. The video composition tool allows users to search for NYPL content, but also YouTube content. The idea behind this is that many people are creators of digital content, and the tools support their use of existing content. I actually used the tool to show a middle school class that one of Beyonce’s music videos was “inspired by” or “lifted” moves straight from Bob Fosse’s 1969 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. When more archival content is digitized and accessible, users can learn and discover facts that would have been less findable.

Because I wasn’t familiar with other simple mashup tools, and I knew about the NYPL Video Tools, I went ahead and used their tool. Sometimes the interface and playback is buggy, so I recorded the playback with Screencast-o-matic, but all in all the tools are great and allow researchers or teachers to use digital content in the classroom.


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