Documentation/Manual for the Belle Epoque Erotica Collection Website

Based on the goals for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Belle Epoque Erotica Collection website that Librarian Caroline Szylowicz, staff member Tony Hynes, and I discussed at the beginning of this project, and starting from the skeleton home page created by Caroline, I have set up the new Proust Era website at the following URL:

How the web site meets identified design goals

This site has been designed in order to showcase our Proust Era Collection online, to give this currently scattered print collection a web presence and to make it more accessible to scholars and researchers worldwide. The format of the site is simple and user-friendly, to make it easy for all interested parties to navigate and explore. A simple, bold, and readable color scheme has been chosen, which is based on the cover of an emblematic work from the collection, Willy’s Le troisième sexe . The page layout is consistent from one page to another, so that the site is cohesive and that all pages clearly belong together in one website. The navigation bar makes it easy for users to jump from one page of the site to another in just one mouse click. The longer pages of the site (the Cultural Context page, the Recommended Resources page, and the Recent Acquisitions page) have been divided into sections in order to facilitate users’ finding the titles of most interest to them. The Author Database has been designed to be simple to use, with a sample search included on this page so that researchers are aware of the different formats in which they can enter search terms. While content to the Author Database, Cultural Context, Recommended Resources, Recent Acquisitions, and Wish List pages will continue to be added and edited on a long-term basis, we do not foresee major structural or stylistic changes to the site as necessary in the near future. Below, you will find descriptions of the different pages that make up the website as well as notes on how the website can be maintained in the long term.

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Files that make up the website:

This site is organized into the following pages, found on the Cooper server in the kolbpweb file’s PE (Proust Era) folder:

Home page (“About the Collection”)–This page provides a brief description of the purposes of the Proust Era Collection and its relationship to the Kolb-Proust Archive.

Author Database –This page enables researchers to look up authors and their works in a My SQL database, which was set up for us by the Systems office. A search performed on the Author Database page leads users to a results page (“aresults.php”) which gives the birth and death dates of the author, brief bio-bibliographical information on him or her, and a link to a canned search of the author’s works in the UIUC online catalog.

Cultural Context of the Collection –This page provides bibliographical information on works that will help researchers explore issues related to the Proust Era Collection, both within its own time and in relation to current research. Categories on this page include: historical retrospectives on homosexuality, medical and psychological studies of homosexuality published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, works focused on particular writers, writings by Proust-era author Joséphin Peladan on aesthetics and other topics, the Church’s position on homosexuality, and works on homosexuality in Europe today.

Recommended Resources –This page serves as a beginning reference guide to researchers looking for critical works on the era and/or on gender/gay studies. Several of these titles were recommended by Proust-era specialist, Professor Larry Schehr of the UIUC French Department.

Recent Acquisitions –This page lists titles that we have recently added to the collection, given in alphabetical order by the last names of the authors. Titles are organized in two categories: primary texts and secondary texts (criticism). The month and year in which each title was received at UIUC is included in order to help Modern Languages and Linguistics Library employees decide when to retire titles from this page once they are no longer very recent acquisitions (perhaps after they have been in the collection for about six months).

Collection Development –This page outlines our criteria for selecting works to be included in the collection and provides a wish list of titles that we would like to acquire but that are currently difficult to find. Titles on the wish list can be found in the French folder’s Gay-Proust Access database; these are titles that have not been ordered (yet) because we have not been able to locate vendors that currently offer them.

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Maintenance of the website

Note: It is recommended that any changes to be made to the website first be approved by Caroline Szylowicz and/or Tony Hynes, who have been involved with the set-up of the website from its outset and have worked with French Professor Larry Schehr on this project. Besides Caroline and Tony, Modern Languages and Linguistics Library Graduate Assistants will sometimes be responsible for updating the content of the site.

General style

Maintaining the website should be relatively simple. The individual pages are set up in XHTML and linked to an external Cascading Style Sheet (also found on the Cooper server in the kolbpweb file’s PE folder, under the title “new.css”. Therefore, if stylistic changes are desired (such as in colors or fonts), these changes can be made and saved in the CSS and will then be applied to each of the individual pages simultaneously. However, major stylistic changes are not foreseen in the near future. The colors (maroon, black, and gray on a white background), other stylistic features (such as fonts), and basic structure (header, main text, navigational sidebar, and footer with contact information) were chosen in consultation with the parties most closely associated with the development and maintenance of the site (Caroline Szylowicz, Tony Hynes, and Larry Schehr).

Content of individual pages

Changes to the content of individual pages (such as additions of new titles to the Cultural Context, Recommended Resources, Recent Acquisitions, or Collection Development / Wish List pages) can be made in the appropriate HTML documents. These pages were created using Dreamweaver 8, which has been installed on one of the computers in the Kolb-Proust Archive and on the G.A. computer in Room 425A, so additions and corrections can easily be made by opening the necessary HTML files within Dreamweaver on either one of these computers and editing the documents while working in either the “Code” or “Design” view, as the person doing this editing prefers.

Note on the Author Database

Since the Author Database search page links to canned searches of the UIUC online catalog, titles of works by a given author will automatically be added as they are cataloged. This means that, although new authors in the collection and biographical information about them will need to be added to the database on an ongoing basis, the titles of their works held at UIUC will not need to be added individually by Modern Languages and Linguistics Library employees as we acquire these works.

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