For the People: Digitizing Hearings from the 60s, 70s, and 80s


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Presentation on the U.S. Hearings Digitization project at the Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans. Presented at the Louisiana Library Association Annual Conference in Shreveport, LA on March 22, 2012 at 8:30am by Sonnet Ireland.

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For the People: Digitizing Hearings from the 60s, 70s, and 80s

  1. 1. FOR THE PEOPLE Digitizing Hearings  from the 60s, 70s and 80sLLA Conference 2012
  2. 2. EARL K. LONG LIBRARY  UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANSUniversity opened its doors in 1958Library became a depository in 1963 and beganreceiving documents in 196491% selection rateDocuments added to the collection since 1976 are in theonline catalog
  3. 3. WHAT WERE DOINGDigitizing hearings and making them freely accessible onlinein the Louisiana Digital Library:Link http://louisdl.louislibraries.orgClick on Collection Name (under Browse Collections By)Click on United States House and Senate CommitteeHearings and Publications(You can also Google us or the hearings)
  4. 4. WHY HEARINGS, IN PARTICULAR?Since depositories can range in the focus of theircollections, we wanted to digitize something that wouldbe the most useful for the most people.There are hearings on all sorts of topics, making it a goodchoice for digitization.Hearings also make up a fifth of our federal documentscollection.
  5. 5. WHY THE 60S, 70S AND 80S?Since our depository began in the 60s, we do not havemuch material before that time.As for the 70s and 80s, weve found that most of thedocuments available online are from the 90s on.  We areworking to digitize items that are not already freelyavailable online.
  6. 6. THE PROCESS: CHOOSING THE HEARINGS1. Pull hearings from the shelf2. Sort them into two piles: those in the catalog, those not3. Those not in the catalog are returned to the shelf.  Those inthe catalog go on to the next step.4. The hearings in the catalog are then checked foravailability online.5. Finally, information is gathered: e.g. item numbers
  7. 7. THE PROCESS: DIGITIZING THE HEARINGS1. The hearings are disassembled: usually cutting along thebinding2.  The hearings are then hand-fed into a feeder scanner thatscans both sides at once into pdf format3. Once the document is scanned, we go through each page ofthe scan and fix any errors.  4. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program is run onthe document, allowing for keyword searching.
  8. 8. THE PROCESS: SAVING AND UPLOADING1. The document is then saved to the hard driveand uploaded to ContentDM with such details as the SuDocnumber, subject terms, etc.2. After several hearings have been scanned, they are backedup on an external hard drive and burned to a CD.3. The hearings are also backed up by OCLC offsite.4. Once uploaded, the records are modified in the catalogand the reference URL is added to the record.
  9. 9. THE PROCESS: WHAT COMES AFTERThroughout this process, we use a spreadsheet to trackthe documents.  Once scanned, we try to accumulateabout 200 documents.At 200, we turn that spreadsheet into a list for offering toour regional depositories.  At this point, we go throughthe procedure for offering items up.  We also use this asan opportunity to promote our online collection.Whatever is not requested, we discard.
  11. 11. F.A.Q.Why do you pull the hearings from the shelves and gothrough them manually?Our catalog isnt perfect.  Sometimes items are listed asmicrofiche when they arent and vice verse. Pulling themfrom the shelves gives us a better idea of what is and isntin the catalog. It also gives us a chance to fix thoseerrors in the catalog.
  12. 12. F.A.Q.Why are you only scanning the documents that are inthe catalog?Since work is being done by others to catalog oldermaterials.  Our goal is to go through our collection anddigitize what has been cataloged.  Once we finish that,we will go back to the start of the collection and scaneverything.  Whatever hasnt been cataloged bysomeone else, we can catalog ourselves.
  13. 13. F.A.Q.Why all the back-ups?Murphys Law.  If our system comes crashing down, thedocuments are backed up in so many ways that accessshould not be lost.  
  14. 14. F.A.Q.How can we use your database?Any way you want.  You can add our database into yourresources...or you can even use our reference URL inyour catalog if you wish.  Were doing it for everyone touse!
  15. 15. THE FUTUREWe have currently slowed our digitization, as we are preparing tomove the collection from the third floor of our library to the firstfloor.  The pace of the project will depend on whether or not we have astudent worker in our department.Once the hearings are complete, we hope to add more hearings tothe database through N&Os lists.  We may also consider digitizing other parts of our collection. Infact, we are already looking at digitizing our Louisiana/NewOrleans Census collection.
  16. 16. QUESTIONS? Sonnet IrelandHead of Federal Documents Earl K. Long LibraryUniversity of New Orleans @sonnetireland @feddocs
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