About the Library

This Digital Library of Wisconsin Children’s Authors and Illustrators was created as a project for the School of Information Studies course, 511: Information Organization, offered at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. The course was taught by Margaret E. I. Kipp during Spring 2010. Header image found on Flickr, courtesy of Dawn Endico, used through the Creative Commons license.

Contributing students are:

  • Amanda
  • Angela
  • Liza
  • Lizzy
  • Pam


The theme of our digital library is authors and illustrators who either live, have lived or have some other kind of connection to Wisconsin. We wanted to show a variety of different people with different kinds of backgrounds, from the very well known like Laura Ingalls Wilder to the less well known like Jill Militzer. Ethnic and gender diversity was also considered, as we wanted our selections to reflect a wide array of authors/illustrators. We also wanted our digital library to show if and how Wisconsin influenced the authors and illustrators in their writings and their illustration. In order to find lists of candidates, we consulted the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and Milwaukee Public Library websites.

Criteria for Inclusion

Each author/illustrator has, as mentioned above, a concrete connection to the state of Wisconsin. Some of these are more tenuous connections than others, and some connections required a little digging, but each has a viable connection to the state. Some were born and raised in Wisconsin and have lived here their entire lives. Some were born elsewhere and moved to Wisconsin at a young age, remaining here for a while. Some attended college here; some taught at colleges in Wisconsin. Some moved to Wisconsin in their adult lives and stayed. Some moved to Wisconsin in their adult lives and later moved on. Some have served on boards in Wisconsin, or were involved in important events that took place here (“important” may refer to the state’s history or the author’s career). Each page includes, in the “Biography” section, a mention of that author/illustrator’s connection to the state.

Organization of the Library

When we were talking about how to organize each author/illustrator’s page we had to come to an agreement about what was the important information that needed to be there, and how we were going to arrange that information. We decided that a brief “Biography”, or introduction, to each author/illustrator needed to be the first thing that the patron saw. We want to make sure that the patron knows what information they are viewing.

Directly after the biography we choose to put the item that we have in the library. This we choose to call the “Selected Work” because we wanted to make sure that the patron understood this item was different from the rest. We added metadata to this work.

Following the selected work we have “Other Works” where we list a short (1-5 books) bibliography for each author/illustrator. Here we just wanted to make note of some other work done by each author/illustrator.

The final section we choose to add is the “More Information” section. This is where we have links to the websites for each author/illustrator. This is where you can get more information that is not listed on the webpage.

This organization scheme was designed to read almost like a book, without the full text. The Biography is the cover, where you learn some information. The Selected Work is the Title page and versa with the important information. Other Works is the chapters of the book, and More Information is the author’s note from the end of the book. This digital library is one big book of authors and illustrators!

Metadata Schema

The metadata we attached beside each “Selected Work” consist of detailed information of this item. Referring to other websites’ conventional metadata schemas for books, such as Amazon’s, we established our own metadata schema, involving these subjects: title, author, illustrator (if applicable), publisher, (publishing) year, reading level, format, and ISBN. Information of “reading level” is included because it would be helpful since all the books in our library are specifically for children. “Format” actually is comprised of three parts: hardcover or paperback format; number of pages; height (cm) by width (cm). And “ISBN” gives ISBN-10 followed by ISBN-13. Information of those subjects together gives a brief and clear description to the items. The data for the subjects are acquired from OPACs of libraries, publishers’ websites, or Amazon.com, etc. In some cases, additional, related metadata like video clips, were available and included.

Additionally, we added MARC record for each “Selected Work” as well. It can be found after the metadata, or as a child page under the page of each author/illustrator on the right side. Those MARC record are acquired from Library of Congress Online Catalog.

Design of the Library

We created this library using free wordpress.com templates rather than a Wiki or other free blogging or web hosting software because we felt that the preset design elements would be easy for all group members to use, allowing us to focus on developing the content of the library. It also provided easy tools to make each of us equal administrators and editors of the site, allowing for simple collaboration without any artificial bottlenecks.

We would have preferred a design in which the main content of the library, the blog pages about each author, appeared in the largest section of the web site layout. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a free wordpress.com template where pages occupy the central section of the design. Using blog posts instead of blog pages as our primary publishing tool would have caused our authors/illustrators to appear in the reverse order in which we entered the information, rather than in alphabetical order by last name, which we felt was a more significant problem than the right-hand navigation column.  Using pages also limited our ability to add metadata such as tags to the library contents.


2 Responses to “About the Library”

  1. Kathleen Ernst Says:

    What a great project! Thanks for taking this on.

  2. Sharon Addy Says:

    Well done! I hope this library continues to grow.

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