Help with Creating Your Collection Description

Collection descriptions are displayed in the “Explore” section of The Portal to Texas History or the UNT Digital Library. The descriptions allow you to attract users to your collection. By expressing what makes your collection interesting and important, you’ll be able to provide the best description possible.

If you’re having trouble getting started with your description, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

Core Information About the Digital Collection

Most descriptions should include at least this much information. Ask yourself:

  • What is the theme/purpose of the collection?
  • What is the source of the collection?
  • Are there other iterations of the collection online?
  • What types of materials are included in the collection?
  • How many items are in the collection?
  • What dates are covered in the collection?
  • What languages are represented in the collection?
  • How were the items in the collection originally distributed or used?
  • Which items in the collection will be most interesting to users?

Because each collection is unique, there are many additional kinds of information you could include in your description. Pick and choose from these categories, or come up with your own:

About Serials

Is the digital collection composed of issues of a particular serial?

  • How frequently was the serial issued?
  • Which volumes/issues are included in the collection?
  • Was the serial published under any other titles?
  • Has the publisher/owner of the serial changed? What is the history?


About the Creator or Issuing Agency of the Materials

Do all the materials in the digital collection come from one creator?

  • Describe the background of the individual, or
  • Describe the issuing agency
    • History and purpose
    • Enabling legislation/termination notes
    • Links to agency web site
    • Links to related materials


About Access and Terms of Use

  • Is online access restricted for any of the items?
  • Are there specific terms of use for the digital collection?
  • Are there any disclaimers about contents or use of the digital collection?


Additional Resources

Does your own web site provide more information about the items in the digital collection?

  • Provide links to
    • Details about individual items
    • Resources such as bibliographies, discographies, essays, biographies


About the Project

Was the digital collection developed as a special project?

  • Describe the project
    • Scope
    • History
    • Purpose
    • Details of how the materials were selected/collected/harvested/digitized
    • Information about metadata and indexing
    • Information about scanning and processing
    • Requests for partners
    • Requests for donors of materials or funding
    • Requests for helpers
    • Requests for project participants


About the Physical Collection

Was the digital collection drawn from a larger physical collection?

  • Describe the physical collection
    • Scope
    • History
    • Location
    • Access



Do you want to make any acknowledgments related to the collection?

  • Institutions that contributed missing materials
  • Donors of materials or funds to obtain materials
  • Project participants/facilitators