The Madison Digital Image Database is a freely distributed, open source web application developed at James Madison University. MDID is a digital media management system with sophisticated tools for discovering, aggregating, and presenting digital media in a wide variety of learning spaces. The project started in 1997 in response to increasing curriculum requirements within the School of Art and Art History and evolved over time into a cross-disciplinary instructional application used at several hundred institutions in the United States and around the world.
Work on MDID3 began in 2008. This version is completely redesigned and re-coded from the ground up in order to meet emerging user expectations, such as support for audio and video, integration with Blackboard and other web sites, more flexible metadata structures, a richer and more robust discovery interface, granular access controls, PowerPoint compatibility, shorter development cycles, support for composite objects, and novel presentation mechanisms. It runs on most operating systems. MDID3 ships with a companion application, the MediaViewer. The MediaViewer is used primarily in mediated classrooms to display slideshows (groups of ordered images). It features intuitive zoom and pan controls, intelligent navigation, image caching, catalog data display, and support for dual monitors.
MDID3 is running in production mode at JMU and in test mode at several other institutions. It is freely available for download from the Internet under an open source license.
MDID has dramatically changed the way art history is taught in the United States and in parts of Canada, Europe and Australia. In the late 1990s, it quickly replaced 35mm slides and the slide carousel at JMU and dozens of other universities. Its features and metaphors have been imitated by other organizations. Its relevance and impact extenda beyond the discipline of Art History. JMU’s MDID3 installation holds almost 100,000 digital objects organized into dozens of collections. Highlights from this repository include JMU’s Art and Art History collection of 42,000 still images, 13,500 faculty-uploaded videos, and over 2,500 feature-length educational videos. MDID3 pulls additional content from Flickr and other repositories.
MDID3 is also a platform for building innovative web-based multimedia applications. We have built a YouTube-like video application for storing and delivering videos, an oral history web application that synchronizes audio files with transcripts, and several custom interfaces for JMU-owned collections.
MDID3 serves as JMU’s digital media hub, an integrated and centralized set of tools and services for faculty and students to manage, publish and share multiple kinds of digital content in a variety of Internet spaces.