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Ward Irish Music Archives

Software Development | Website Development

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The Ward Irish Music Archives (WIMA) is dedicated to the preservation of Irish and Irish American music in all its forms. WIMA functions as a year-round educational arm of CelticMKE, home of Milwaukee Irish Fest. Since 2010, Northwoods has been a trusted digital partner of this internationally recognized organization, providing digital strategy, user experience, information architecture, digital marketing, and website design services across a range of digital properties.

Northwoods Develops Award-Winning Website for Digital Music Collection

WIMA houses one of the largest public assemblages of Irish music in North America. For more than a decade, this nonprofit organization has relied on Northwoods’ technical guidance and design assistance to release three digital collections — the Dunn Family Collection, Irish Sheet Music Archives, and Irish Fest Scrapbook — as well as an umbrella website that offers enhanced storytelling capabilities and access to materials.

The Situation

  • WIMA holds a vast collection of cultural assets and needed to make that information easily accessible to researchers, archivists, and scholars.
  • The organization wanted to provide its visitors with means to browse and search more than 5,000 pieces of sheet music, as well as rare cylinder recordings, online exhibits, and Irish Fest videos and artwork.
  • An overarching website was needed to offer direct support for the nonprofit and its materials, traveling exhibits, and volunteer opportunities.

The Solution

  • Utilizing the powerful search and content filtering abilities of Northwoods’ enterprise content management system, Titan CMS, WIMA brings an abundance of cultural resources to its users with speed and ease.
  • Northwoods design and development experts combined visual appeal with an easy-to-navigate information architecture.
  • The Northwoods team developed the Irish Sheet Music Archives and Irish Fest Scrapbook websites to fully integrate with the museum software PastPerfect, displaying each collection as a catalog of archival materials.

The Outcome

  • WIMA’s digital collections and website are all easily managed from one central content management system, Titan CMS, which allows administrators the ability to edit content without having to log into numerous individual sites.
  • Catalog data helps users quickly find what they need across nearly 50,000 audio recordings, videos, and sheet music.
  • With the help of the UX and IA experts at Northwoods, WIMA received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Leadership in History Awards for the Irish Sheet Music Archives website. This is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
  • When the Irish Sheet Music Archives site was launched, it was heralded as a leader in online archival usability and design and provided invaluable metadata about copyrighted material.

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