November 27, 2006  Vol. 9 No. 46  

Ball State University creates Digital Media Repository for entire campus and beyond using CONTENTdm

30 digital collections of images, videos, audio files, newspapers, journals and handwritten documents provide a global access point to eContent for students, faculty and the world

By Carrie Benseler

In 2004, Ball State University Libraries in Muncie, Indiana, decided to use OCLC’s CONTENTdm® Digital Collection Management Software to create a Digital Media Repository to bring together the various digital collections and activities of the University into a single, cohesive and accessible Web-based environment.

Today, two years later, that effort has resulted in a centralized, coordinated and user-focused resource to serve the teaching, learning and research needs of students, faculty and researchers at Ball State and beyond.

Jim Bradley, Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives, arrived at Ball State University Libraries in December 2004, and completed the first CONTENTdm collection in February 2005. The initial images digitized were a few hundred photographs from the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.

“CONTENTdm is a very user-friendly system and has a wonderful support library to draw on from the Web site,” said Jim. “It is very easy to learn, and has made my job here a lot easier.”

After the first collection was created, the Libraries’ staff decided they wanted to provide a global access point for all types of University eContent that would allow students, faculty, researchers and community members to have a central place to share ideas, data and discoveries. They also wanted to enhance Ball State University’s contribution to the growing amount of international digital content.

With CONTENTdm software, Jim and the Libraries’ staff developed an ever-growing number of digital collections, including:

  • Reusable learning objects for Ball State University faculty and students

  • Student and faculty work

  • K–post-graduate educational resources

  • Community resources

  • General interest

The digital collections cover a wide range of disciplines, including: architecture, student artwork, student filmmakers, World War II historic films, U.S. Civil War resources, Muncie Times newspapers, campus photographs, theatre costumes and documentary videos, among many others.

As of October 2006, Ball State has 30 digital collections containing more than 60,000 objects available through its Digital Media Repository, including:

  • 45,000+ images

  • 2,000+ pages of handwritten documents, letters and diaries

  • 10,000+ pages of newspapers and academic journals

  • 750+ videos (more than 100 hours available)

  • 170 audio files

The Ball State Digital Media Repository has many participants and partners, including: Ball State University Libraries; Ball State University; Archives and Special Collections; state and local organizations and groups; other cultural, historical and educational institutions; and faculty and academic departments.

Moving forward, Ball State University Libraries hopes to create even more digital collections with assistance from additional grants and funding, as well as through new partnerships at the University and in the community.

Browse Ball State University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository at

For more information about CONTENTdm, visit