Member Story: Texas A&M Libraries chronicles African-American farm life in DSpace collection

Image of men and boys with hog, from "Toward a Better Living" collection

From the Texas A&M Libraries collection "Toward a Better Living: African American Farming Communities in Mid-Century Texas." Courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University,

TDL founding member Texas A&M Libraries has published an exciting set of images in its institutional repository dealing with African-American farming life in Texas during the middle of the last century. The Digital Library group there has also incorporated open-source image viewing technology in their DSpace repository that lets users zoom and scan the high-quality images.

Here is an excerpt from the news release announcing the collection:

Because the Texas A&M Repository contains many digital collections of varying nature, the Digital Library wanted customizations added to the “out-of-the-box” DSpace open-source repository system. So, they enlisted expert help from their developers to customize special themes for the various collections in the Repository.

“This is just the first of a few different interfaces we have in development,” Mercer said. “We see this not only as a way to share and preserve historical photos, but also a way to display books, where you can flip through pages, view maps and study details in oversized images.”

The pilot collection chosen to show off the features of the new viewer highlights 100 photos in the 7,000-photo collection acquired from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (now AgriLife). The collection brings into focus a rich part of Texas and African-American heritage, according to Smith.

Read the full announcement about the collection and technology here. You can view the collection at the Texas A&M Repository.

Posted in Institutional Repositories, Member Story, TDL Member news
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