The Marmot, a Wayfinder
UMarmot is an online interactive catablog containing information on all manuscript and archival collections held by the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the UMass Amherst Libraries.
Each UMarmot record contains a brief description of each collection, including the collection name, size, and date range, a brief description of its contents, selected subject terms, and links (when available) to detailed finding aids and other online resources. Each record is also indexed under one or more general subject categories, which may be selected using the drop-down menu on the right side of the page.
Searches in UMarmot cover the complete contents of all records, including the detailed finding aids when available. Finding aids are cross-posted on the Five Colleges Consortium finding aids website.
We welcome comments on collections or the website and thank you for bearing with us while we burrow into the future.
- Manuscript collections: personal papers, organizational records, and documents
- Papers of faculty, staff, and administrators from UMass Amherst
- University Archives from UMass Amherst
- Photographic collections, some containing thumbnails of individual images
- Book collections: overviews at the collection level only. Individual titles are cataloged in the UMass Amherst Libraries’ online catalog.
- Digital collections, including those that are part of manuscript, archival, photographic, or book collections
UMarmot was launched in early 2007 as a response to two perceived needs. First, we were seeking a low cost solution to maximizing public access to our collections, and second, we hoped to find a solution that could be shared with colleagues in institutions with less support for technological initiatives. After completing a comprehensive survey of our holdings and generating standards-compliant, minimal descriptions of each collection, we recognized that the indexing capacity, web-readiness, and familiarity of blogging software made it easy to adapt into an online catalog. Thus the “catablog” was born.
After reviewing surveying options for blogging software, we selected WordPress for its superior combination of power, ease of development and maintenance, and flexibility in design. Because our goal was to make catablogging accessible to all, we initially refrained from developing UMarmot beyond installing freely-available plugins, and although we have subsequently delved into building our own themes, we have sought to keep the focus on keeping UMarmot as an inexpensive, easily implemented, open source alternative. The UMarmot approach had been taken up by many institutions and projects, some of whom have added their own interesting twists.
We are always glad to share our experiences with UMarmot and are available to help anyone interested in building their own catablog.