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This article discusses the provenance of a partnership between the Digital Projects Department (DPD) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) Libraries and NIU's Art History Department that seeks to improve art education at NIU. Academic librarians and other library personnel have unique skills, which along With providing traditional library services, should be utilized to meet instructional and educational challenges. Since DPD has a history of providing access to multimedia content via the Internet, it seemed natural to partner with the art history department to create a tool for accessing slides of artwork via the Web.
In an age when students and faculty underutilize library services, librarians need to better market their skills in order to remain relevant on today's campuses. Many articles routinely cite the need for library-faculty collaboration in the pursuit of this goal, but these calls generally describe programs of traditional library instruction and information literacy. (1) While these are important objectives, today's librarian can offer much more. Academic librarians in particular have a technical skill set that can be use not only for providing access to materials, but also for developing tools for instructors to be used in the classroom. (2) As an example, the Digital Projects department (DPD) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) Libraries is currently working with the Art History department to offer image slides via the Web that can be searched and integrated into classes. This paper reviews how this library-faculty collaboration emerged, and how all parties are working together to make this a reality.
The DPD at Northern Illinois University Libraries (NIUL) has produced a series of multimedia Web sites dedicated to Illinois history. (3) The sites provide searchable databases of primary documents and images, historians' video and textual evaluations of important events, interactive maps that show demographic and voting information for the United States and Illinois from the years 1820-1860, and lesson plans that integrate these materials for use in the classroom. The success of the DPD comes from its collaboration with other departments on campus and with other institutions throughout the state of Illinois.
DPD staff works with partner institutions to provide the technology and primary sources that make up the Web sites. The database and search scripts come from a partnership with the University of Chicago. Other partner institutions provide content, including the Newberry Library, the Illinois State Archives, and Illinois State University.
In addition to working with other institutions, DPD has worked with departments on campus to develop digital resources that incorporate their unique skills and knowledge, the …