University of Notre Dame

The Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame

The Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame

 The Seaside Research Portal

Seaside screenshot #1The Seaside Research Portal[1] is a tool for students, scholars, and the general public that seeks to encourage learning, discovery, and engagement with the rich urban planning and architectural heritage present in the community of Seaside, Florida[2]. It is comprised of two applications: a public-facing search and discovery interface and a private, restricted management interface for uploading files and editing metadata. The public-facing application was built using Blacklight[3]. The content is curated via a Hydra-based metadata management interface.

The ultimate goal of the Seaside Research Portal[1] is to describe every structure in Seaside, the architects who designed them, the contractors who built them, and the owners who commissioned them – insofar as those involved give their consent. It is meant to be a celebration of the richness of design present in the community of Seaside and confirmation of its significance in the history of American urbanism.

The collection contains original essays from the founders of Seaside, professors, and students. These texts are presented alongside digitized photographs, plans, sketches, and archival documents describing the foundation and philosophy of the community as a whole as well as individual structures. Documents and materials provided by Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Company[4], who created the plan and code for the community of Seaside, have been instrumental in our ability to capture the history of the town of Seaside. We have also received contributions from many of the prominent architects in who have built or planned projects in Seaside.

Each digitized holding is further enhanced with technical and qualitative metadata compiled by our archivists. Within the management interface this information is transparently mapped to established metadata standards, including VRA Core 4[5] and EAD[6], to simplify the archival workflow. Throughout the data entry process the management interface aggregates, indexes, and creates appropriate derivatives of materials being added to this growing collection.

Seaside research portal mapThe archival holdings are presented to the public via the Seaside Research Portal. In the Portal information is presented in a variety of ways including long-form text[7], a faceted search interface[8], a searchable map[9], and interactive visualizations[10].

Nearly all of the infrastructure for the initial deployment of the Seaside Research Portal was built over a period of six months. This would not have been possible without being able to leverage the tremendous amount of work that was already done for us by the hydra community. We would specifically like to thank the University of Virginia for making their Libra[11] project open source. Our administrative interface was heavily influenced by their work.

The Seaside Research Portal is a joint venture of the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture[12] and Hesburgh Libraries[13] and the community of Seaside, Florida[2].

Current Status: In production as of October 2011. Additional content and features will follow.














Main website:

Hydra website:

Status: production


The Seaside Research Portal (approx 5 minutes)