VRA 2012, Beyond These Four Walls, Developing Digital Collections at Plymouth State University


Published on

Presented by Jen Green at the Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association, April 18th - April 21st, 2012, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Session: Beyond These Four Walls: Optimizing Traditional Collections Through Outreach and Collaboration

With the advent of digital technology, image repositories are no longer limited to a single physical presence on campus or in a museum. This provides motivation for creative thinking and prompts the establishment of new working relationships within our own institutions as well as on a national level. As curators, librarians, and faculty become well versed in the use of digital technology, many have been able to optimize the development of their resources through successful collaborative ventures. This session will highlight some of these recent projects at academic institutions, museums, and cultural archives.

ORGANIZER & MODERATOR: Karin S. Whalen, Reed College

• Jen Green, Lamson Library and Learning Commons, Plymouth State University
• Marianne Martin, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
• Laura Anne Heller, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
• Stephanie Post, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & Jenni Rodda, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Introduce Plymouth State University Digital Repository and provide outline for presentationGoals—Work with a variety of departments across campus to build, manage, and provide access to digital collections in CONTENTdmCollections involved-- Current relationships and collections emergingProject Timeline—go over the steps of assessing department resources, researching and purchasing software, establishing buy-in from departments and administrators, successes and failures, project status and future
  • Current contributors to the CONTENTdm Digital Repository:--Spinelli Special Collections and Archives: located in the Lamson Learning Commons. Archives images and publications related to the history of Plymouth State University. Digital resources will enhance research and teaching on campus and provide access to the public.--Museum of the White Mountains (main focus of this presentation): The museum is a new department on campus and its building is currently under construction. Digital collections consist mostly of images related to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Public digital collections will help market the new museum and provide access to permanent collections.--Draper and Maynard Sporting Goods Collection– Located in the Department of Health and Human performance, which is in a building that was once owned by thte Draper and Maynard company, which produced baseball equipment and other sporting goods. When the university purchased this building, the Health and Human performance department inherited documents and images related to the Draper and Maynard company.
  • Title slide
  • This was the first department that I worked with mainly because they had been cataloging images before the purchase of CONTENTdm and were the first ready to import files and metadata. The first collection thatSpinelli Archives added to CONTENTdm was the Plymouth State Historical images collection. Featuring images primarily of the campus.
  • This was the second collection added to CONTENTdm, and we will talk more about this in a few moments.
  • Title Slide.
  • The third collection added to CONTENdm. Strategically, it was important to work with this department early on as archiving this collection was a “pet project” of the Provost, who financially supports our CONTENTdm digital repository through the Provost budget. Babe Ruth purchased all of his gloves from the Draper and Maynard company and made several visits to Plymouth and the factory. There are many interesting images of Babe Ruth in this collection which will be made available publicly through CONTENTdm.
  • Next up to work with…--Office of Public Relations (massive amounts of images)--Art Department—I did a feasibility study for them early on, which outlined how they could transition from a slide library to a digital collection. They are interested but resistant because of staff, time, and technology limitations.--Music Department—student projects and scores of music
  • And more..--The Center for the Environment and other departments in the sciences have expressed interest in managing data sets in CONTENTdm--Faculty would like to consider CONTENTdm as a venue for pre-publication--others…
  • Back to the Museum of the White Mountains to articulate how I have approached new collections to be incorporated in CONTENTdm
  • Their first collection of images includes a large set of stereoviews of the White Mountains region. They have scanned these and cataloged them before importing both the images and the metadata into CONTENTdm.
  • The White Mountains timeline
  • This timeline spans from the summer of 2010, when I was hired into the new position of Digital Projects Librarian, through present day 2012.
  • July 2010: It was announced that the University would be building a museum that would focus on highlighting all aspects of the White Mountain region where Plymouth State University is nestled. The Museum director had an interest in building digital collections right away to help promote the new museum and needed guidance on how to create images for access and archival purposes. They wanted collections to remain publicly available. I spent several weeks getting to know the needs of the museum, what had been digitized so far, and whether digitization standards had been employed. It was quickly determined that I would need to work first with the museum and other departments on campus to establish scanning and cataloging standards for the University. That summer was spent researching, writing, and distributing these standards to the first few departments that I worked with. Images in this slide are of the museum’s construction site where they are converting an old church into the Museum of the White Mountains. This is analogous to using the structure of what was in place for scanning/cataloging on campus and re-designing it by determining project focus and a implementing standards and specifications to meet that focus.
  • Between November 2010- March 2011 was spent researching digital repository software that would meet the needs of the 3 department that I was working with. We met individually and as a collection to identify individual and common needs for the software. I kept each department abreast of what software I was investigating an what I had learned about them so that I was sure to establish buy-in for use of the software. These meetings were highly structured by me, and required that I make sure that each department felt that their needs were being equally considered. I looked at CONTENTdm, Canto Cumulus, and Extensis portfolio. Ultimately, we agreed that CONTENTdm would be the best choice for our campus. It handles a variety of objects, manages permissions in a variety of ways, had an intuitive learning curve that the department managers felt they could handle, could be access from a variety of locations on campus (each department manages their own collections and I consult and facilitate that management), and most importantly is a hosted service. We have historically had restrictive IT support on our campus for the management, storage, and backup of digital content.
  • Throughout this research process, the museum used the digitizing/cataloging standards that I provided to create collections that could be imported into the system once it was in place. In hindsight, I would have met more frequently with the museum about the use of these standards to avoid problems that arose later. The museum was also purchasing their own collection management software at the same time, which caused some confusing about how the images should be cataloging in spreadsheets.
  • During this time, I realized that the museum had strayed away from the accession numbering schema that I had recommended and implemented a numbers schema that ran the risk of redundancy. I assisted them on backtracking their cataloging in order to resolve this before the data import into CONTENTdm. This took several weeks for the museum to correct, but we all saw this as a learning moment and took it in stride (luckily). The museum had also added fields to the excel cataloging template that we’d initially created that reflected the needs of the other collections software that they were using. They had hoped to import data into that software and then migrate it from there to CONTENTdm. We discovered through much trial and error that this was not going to work smoothly, so we reverted to importing data into CONTENTdm using the initial cataloging templates that I’d recommended. We discovered that it would be easier and cleaner to migrate digital collection data from CONTENTdm to the collections management system rather than vice versa. Again, much patience was required in this learning process.
  • We currently have four collections in CONTENTdm, and the Provost will make a campus announcement in May 2012. After that, I will begin working with some of the departments mentioned at the beginning of this presentation.Thank you!
  • http://digitalcollections.plymouth.edu/cdm/
  • VRA 2012, Beyond These Four Walls, Developing Digital Collections at Plymouth State University

    1. 1. http://digitalcollections.plymouth.edu/cdm/