IDEAS Header Photos
About the Ideas Project
an Image Database to Enhance Asian Studies [IDEAS]

The goal of the Image Database to Enhance Asian Studies [IDEAS] is to unify digitizing efforts already in progress at various campuses into a shared searchable database, open to anyone with access to the World Wide Web. IDEAS focuses on the generally underrepresented area of Asia in an attempt to make multi-media materials more widely available for specialists and non-specialists alike. The scope of the IDEAS project will allow for the continued addition of new materials over time, encouraging participation in both use as well as development of the database through faculty and staff workshops. IDEAS is the first multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, pan-Asian searchable database in the country.

The IDEAS project is one of the initiatives that grew out of the Digital Imaging Symposium at DePauw University, August 2003. Initially, IDEAS will be built utilizing several existing collections of digital still images. Eventually, the database will include a range of digital assets from a variety of disciplines, including still images, along with video clips, sound recordings, and scanned text documents.

The goal of the IDEAS project is to establish a database specific to Asia that will augment the limited resources in the field of Asian Studies available on any given liberal arts campus. In some cases, our database will provide digital information that, by virtue of its highly specialized nature, is not readily available on the Internet or in print. For example, there may be documentation of an Indian religious rite that is vital material, but too specialized to ever attract the interest or support of a publisher. A Japanese garden may require numerous images to convey the dynamic experience of changes over time or through movement, but texts usually present only one static image. The same is true of most works of three dimensional art and culture. Most of our collections will also offer users the wisdom about selection and sequencing that experts using these materials can bring to these resources. It is hoped that IDEAS will create a model that could be employed by faculty and students in virtually any academic discipline for the purpose of sharing scarce or unusual information resources across campuses.

Conference and workshop presentations about IDEAS

Present participants in the IDEAS Project include:

  • Sarah Withee, Colorado College, Academic Technology Specialist, Associate Project Leader
  • Steve Lawson, Colorado College, Humanities Librarian
  • Mike Thiedeman, Earlham College, Professor of Art
  • Amy Bryant, Earlham College, Information Technology Reference Librarian
  • Cathy Benton, Lake Forest College, Lecturer in Religion, Project Leader
  • Cory Stevens, Lake Forest College, Head of Public Services, Lake Forest College Library
  • Kris MacPherson, St Olaf College, Asian Studies Reference Librarian & Associate Professor
  • Karil Kucera, St Olaf College, Assistant Professor, Asian Studies & Art History

For information on how to become more involved with IDEAS, please contact or any of the participating members directly.

If you'd like your collection to be part of the IDEAS Project, please visit the collection submission page .

Last Updated 01.17.07

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