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Compass is Here! Explore Unique Digital Collections

Girl Reserve conference delegates from Passaic March 1940

We are pleased to announce the launch of Five College Compass: Digital Collections a site bringing together digital scholarship with cultural and historical materials contributed by Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.  

The site is a collaborative implementation of the Islandora/Fedora open source framework and represents an ongoing commitment between the institutions to showcase and preserve our unique digital materials. With over 3000 individual items currently available this initial launch of Compass features diverse collections of letters, photographs, oral histories, campus newspapers, and student research. Smith College collections are currently populated with materials from Special Collections and include materials digitized for Smith’s Psychology of Political Activism MOOC, the Gloria and Wilma School for Organizers, as well as collections of Smith undergraduate life. This summer and fall materials from the CLIR YWCA digitization grant project, College Women project, as well as collections from ARTstor, the Women of Rock Oral History Project oral histories, and other collections will be added. Users can easily search across all institutions, or browse the materials of a specific collection or school. Most of the content on the site is publicly accessible.

Compass began in late 2015 with project planning by the three institutions and, by July 2016, work had begun to prepare the first round of collections for ingest. The colleges engaged Common Media, a digital firm, to build out and design the repository using the Islandora/Fedora framework. The Compass institutional teams and staff from Common Media continue to develop and grow the site and collections; enhancements to metadata, search, interface and integration with other systems are ongoing. Opportunities for expanded content from the Five College community is being considered for the future.

Compass would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of many people. The Smith team includes: Elisa Lanzi (Smith Lead Team representative), Jasmine Jones (Metadata Team) and Tristan Chambers (Design and Technical Team). In addition, Maureen Callahan and Rose Reynolds provided advice. The other colleges’ members include: from Hampshire, Abigail S. Baines, Bob Crowley (Lead Team), Chris Kitzmiller, Sarah Ryder, and from Mount Holyoke, Sarah Goldstein (Lead Team), Rachel Leach, and Shaun Trujillo. Staff at Common Media, include Liza Coburn, Pat Dunlavey, Gavin Morris, and Noah Smith. Neal Abraham and Barbara Lucey at Five Colleges Inc. provided administrative support.

We encourage you to explore Compass! Please let us know about your experience by making use of the Feedback button found at the bottom right of any page on the site. We are actively tracking and planning for improvements and your input is very important. You can also reach us by using the Compass contact form.