Now in its 9th year, the Metamedia digital archive project, sponsored by the d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education, continues to develop interactive media archives for use across a broad range of topics in the humanities and social sciences. The platform is called m:media, serving as rich media modules that teachers and students can use to explore a variety of subject areas; create, annotate, and share rhetorical multimedia collections; and collaborate over the Internet, Metamedia archives have been integrated into a variety of curricula, fostering students’ critical analysis of historical and contemporary media texts. Recent projects include the Historical Punch Archive, the Archive on the Revolving Door as a Metaphor, the Contemporary French Arts Archive, the Belgian Contemporary Culture Archive, and the Asian Games Village Archive, strengthening the international reach of the project and making the most of the project’s decision to develop a system based on widely accepted open standards.
The Metamedia project focuses on creating shareable multimedia archives for use in MIT humanities subjects, and, increasingly, in collaboration with outside arts and humanities organizations. Flexible learning tools allow teachers and students to use the archives to create customized teaching modules for use in the classroom.
Humanities subjects often rely on collections, and our approach allows for the creation of “mini-archives” which can be navigated, sorted, and annotated by students. The Metamedia model allows a wide variety of possible navigation interfaces for a given archive, as well as among archives, while maintaining a standardized backbone among all the projects. For this reason, our digital projects are not simply websites; they’re flexible and highly interactive learning environment, adaptable resources which teachers can use to build teaching modules according to their specific needs.
The m:media framework provides a flexible learning environment including:
Metamedia provides access to the digital archives of several classes and groups through one interface. Customization for Metamedia communities and collections allows for flexibility in determining policies and workflow.
A wide variety of digital formats and content types can be archived, including texts, images, audio and video. Each item is tagged and organized through bibliographic data stored in an open souce format.
Each item or user-defined groups of items in the archives can be annotated. In order to encourage collaborative learning, these annotations can be viewed and responded to by other users.
Search and Retrieval
The Metamedia submission process allows for the description of each item using a qualified version of the Dublin Core metadata schema. These descriptions are entered into a relational database, which is used by the search engine to retrieve items.
Metamedia allows contributors to limit access to items in Metamedia – at the collection and the individual item level.
Personal and Group Collections
Metamedia users will be able to save media items from the archive, as well as upload their own work into personal and group collections.
Using online composition tools built into the Metamedia frameowrk, users will be able to create multimedia essays comprised of material from the archive as well as their own work. The essays can be saved back into the framework and tagged and searched.
The Metamedia framework stores metadata in standard markup formats such as Dublin Core. As standards for Multimedia Markup mature, the framework will allow projects to annotate images, audio and video, making the framework a cross-media repository.