The Atlas of Maine, a series of independent research projects developed by students in the Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing environmental studies class, is being used by the Digital Commons software developers as an example of how the repository can be used to create a data-rich journal online.

The Colby libraries adopted Digital Commons, a standard platform for scholarly publishing developed by the Berkeley Electronic Press, for archiving a variety of scholarly work produced at the College. Science Librarian Susan Cole worked with BE Press to put seven issues of the atlas online, publishing research dating to 2005 conducted by students of Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Philip Nyhus.

“BE Press had never done anything like this before,” Cole said, adding that company representatives now use the journal as a showcase for what Digital Commons can be adapted to do. The images, charts, and visual requirements of the journal pushed the company to expand what the software can do, she said.

Cole said future uses of Digital Commons at Colby may include an archive of lake studies conducted by senior environmental studies majors analyzing watersheds in central Maine. A compilation of reports from the senior practicum on Maine’s environment is another potential use, as is a peer-reviewed journal of exceptional papers in any discipline. “There’s a lot of possibilities,” she said, noting that discussions were underway regarding migration of the archival volumes of the Colby Quarterly literary journal to Digital Commons. (One Quarterly issue is already online.)

The Digital Commons platform offers permanence, search-engine optimization, and a hosted repository for student work, Cole said.