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From Project to Program: Building Sustainable Digital Collections
 

From Project to Program: Building Sustainable Digital Collections

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Presented at NCLA 2008 by Amy Rudersdorf and Emily Gore

Presented at NCLA 2008 by Amy Rudersdorf and Emily Gore

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From Project to Program: Building Sustainable Digital Collections From Project to Program: Building Sustainable Digital Collections Presentation Transcript

  • Building Sustainable Digital Collections: From Project to Program Emily Gore, NC ECHO Project Manager [email_address] Amy Rudersdorf, NCSU Digital Technologies Librarian [email_address]
  • Digital Project (Program?) Planning
      • What is a “Digital Project”? “Digital Program”?
      • Why digitize?
      • What does a digital project involve?
      • Build a timeline
      • Understanding costs
      • Delivery considerations
      • Moving from Project to Program
  • What is a “Digital Project/Program”?
    • Projects
    • Eastern North Carolina Digital Library
      • http://digital.lib. ecu . edu/historyfiction/
    • Digital Forsyth
      • http://www. digitalforsyth .org/
    • North Carolina Postcards
      • http://www.lib. unc . edu/dc/nc_post/
    • Green ‘N’ Growing
      • http://www.lib. ncsu . edu/specialcollections/greenngrowing/
  • What is a “Digital Project/Program”?
    • Programs
    • Collaborative Digitization Program (began as Colorado)
      • http://www.cdpheritage.org/index.cfm
    • NYPL Digital
      • http://www.nypl.org/digital/index.htm
    • Digital Library of Georgia
      • http: //dlg . galileo . usg . edu/
    • UNC - Documenting the American South
      • http: //docsouth . unc . edu/
  • What is a “Digital Project/Program”?
    • Digital Project
    • From New York Public Library :
      • Converts printed, manuscript, and pictorial information into electronic images for use in computer-based applications.
    • From Harvard Law School Library :
      • Conversion/digital reformatting projects
      • Online exhibits
      • Electronic publications and research guides
      • Web publishing and archiving projects
    • Digital Program
    • Long-term, mission-driven, funded, administratively/ organizationally supported, systematized, planned, documented, staffed
  • Definition of “Digital”
    • Of, pertaining to, or using digits; spec. applied to a computer which operates on data in the form of digits or similar discrete elements (opp. analogue computer )
      • First used 1938 by C. CAMPBELL U.S. Pat. 2,113,612 9/1 (OED)
  • Why Digitize, or, What is a Digital Program
  • A means for sharing your holdings more broadly
    • Highlight your unique, “star” collections
    • Opportunity to
      • provide new services for current users
      • draw in new user base
  • A means for providing access to your collections
    • Access through context and other added value
      • Descriptive context
        • Histories , biographies, bibliographies
      • Enhanced metadata
        • Subject terms, descriptive fields
      • Interesting means for delivery
        • Video display , etc.
  • An opportunity to enhance material you already have
    • You’ve already got:
      • Catalog records
      • Finding aids
      • Card catalog
    • With a digital project, you could make them better!
    • If the information does not already exist, however, these tasks can be time intensive and very expensive.
  • What a Digital Project/Program IS NOT, or, why NOT to digitize
    • A quick fix to get information on your holdings out to the public
    • A cheap way to provide access to your holdings
    • An easy way to impress your boss/board/trustees
    • A way to preserve material and make space for items not often used
  • What does a project involve?
    • Steps:
    • Identifying project goals/requirements
    • Selection
    • Metadata creation
    • Reformatting
    • Quality control
    • Context creation
    • Delivery
    • Long-term maintenance
    • Each step takes about the same amount of time. Don’t underestimate!
  • What does a project involve?
    • 1. Identifying project goals/requirements
      • Develop project mission/scope of project
      • What do we want to achieve? Can we do that?
      • How can we build on others’ success?
      • What/who will we need? Who is responsible?
      • Who is our audience?
      • What materials will we digitize?
      • Formalize answers on paper! This is your reality check!
      • From Arizona State Library: http://www.lib.az.us/digital/dg_a2.html
  • What does a project involve?
    • 2. Selection
      • Size, physical condition, needs, abilities
      • How will it be done? Who will do it?
      • How long will it take? (a long time)
      • Example – NC Maps
  • What does a project involve?
    • 3. Metadata creation
    • Required for discovery of objects
    • Staff needs to have information about the objects that will be digitized (who?)
    • Found on photographs, letters, books, cassette tapes, and/or created by subject experts
    • Often entered into a database or spreadsheet to be displayed online with digital objects
    • Don’t start your metadata until selection is complete!
  • What does a project involve?
    • 4. Reformatting
    • Scanning, digital photography, enhancement, OCR, or other means of creating digital objects for sharing
    • Requires technology, support, staff, storage
    • Digitize according to accepted standards of DL community (do you know them?)
    • Often reformatting happens after or at the same time as metadata
      • Possible scenario:
        • Specialists/librarians create metadata and assign filenames
        • Once metadata is complete, students/volunteers can be given list of filenames and directory structure for reformatting
  • What does a project involve?
    • 4. Reformatting – OUTSOURCING as an alternative to in-house production
    • When to consider?
      • Small staff
      • No support for equipment purchase/maintenance
    • Concerns
      • Quality - Make sure you select a reputable vendor who will supply references
    • Keep in mind
      • Conduct a representative pilot test
      • Timeframe
        • Need to write a bid? Samples inspection? Vendor’s schedule? How long will it take to review work? What if there are problems?
  • What does a project involve?
    • 5. Quality control
    • “ Editorial process”
    • The perfect is the enemy of the good
    • Do as you go or all at once?
  • What does a project involve?
    • 5. Quality control
    • Typically involves two levels of checking:
      • initial & basic quality check for spelling; formatting/technical issues
      • final and complete check for subject term consistency; data consistency; “correctness” of information
        • Does object match metadata?
    • This will take longer than you think. I promise.
  • What does a project involve?
    • 6. Creating context
    • The “stuff” that goes on the website
    • Supporting documentation – essays, bibliographies, biographies, or simply enhancing records
    • Lesson plans
    • Are you going to do it? Why not? If you are, do you have subject specialists on staff?
  • What does a project involve?
    • 7. Delivery
    • The means by which you will provide access to your digital collection
      • Web pages (new or existing?)
      • Online database
        • Research, research, research
      • Circulating CD/DVDs
        • Relatively inexpensive alternative, but does it satisfy your users?
    • Do you have staff, technology, and specialists in place to do what you plan to?
  • What does a project involve?
    • 8. Long-term maintenance
    • Of digital objects
    • Of website
    • Of metadata
    • Of your sanity
      • File backups – do you have server space to store working copies?
      • Standards suggest three “archival” copies
        • Server storage – ideal (at this point)
        • CDs, DVDs – good, but more transitional media
      • No matter what, at some point you’ll need to migrate your data
  • What does a project involve?
    • 8. Long-term maintenance
      • Standards still developing, needs will change over time
      • If you leave, will your replacement understand how to maintain?
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • A nearly impossible task?
    • Work backwards from drop-dead date
    • Some work can happen concurrently
    • Holidays, vacations, and “snow” days
    • You can’t plan for everything…
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • …But consider the time it takes to care for a single item…
      • Housing
      • Accessioning
      • Scanning
      • Resizing
      • Creating a catalog [metadata] record
      • Applying file to system
      • Long term maintenance and migration
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • To begin, allow*:
      • 5 minute/item for selection/planning
      • 15 minutes to describe an image or page in Dublin Core
      • 15 minutes to reformat an image or page on a flat-bed scanner
      • 5-10 minutes/item for quality checking
      • 90 minutes per web page
      • 5 minutes/item for miscellaneous
      • What’s missing?
    * CAVEAT: These are VERY general numbers. With time, you’ll better understand your institution’s requirements. These shouldn’t be applied to projects that include digital photography, audio, or video production.
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • Activity #1
    • My library or archive will be digitizing its first collection to coincide with the opening of our new local history room. The collection is comprised of 500 photographs. The opening is scheduled for May 15th, and our project URL will be published in the program given out that day. We plan on creating five contextual web pages.
    • According to the estimates on the previous slide, when should I start working on this project?
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • Activity #1
    • My library will be digitizing its first collection to coincide with the opening of our new local history room. The collection is comprised of 500 photographs. The opening is scheduled for May 15th, and our project URL will be published in the program given out that day. We plan on creating five contextual web pages.
    • According to the estimates on the previous slide, when should I start working on this project?
      • 5 minute/item for selection/planning
      • 15 minutes to describe an image or page in Dublin Core
      • 15 minutes to reformat an image or page on a flat-bed scanner
      • 5-10 minutes/item for quality checking
      • 90 minutes per web page
      • 5 minutes/item for miscellaneous
  • Building a digital project timeline
    • Step 1 – minutes/process
      • 2500 minutes for selection/planning
      • 7500 minutes for metadata
      • 7500 minutes for scanning
      • 4000 minutes for quality (8 min)
      • 4500 minutes for web pages
      • 2500 for misc
      • TOTAL 28,500 minutes/60 = 475 hours
    • Step 2 – how much time do you really have?
      • vacation/holiday; other responsibilities
      • At 20 hours per week, 475 hours = 23.75 weeks
      • Add one week for spring break/vacation = 24.75
      • Add two weeks for winter holidays = 26.75
      • Always round up = 27 weeks
      • Months (27 / 4 weeks) = 6.75 months
      • Always round up = 7 months
    • Step 3 – look at a calendar
      • Any other due dates to figure in during that time? Trips to Europe? New staff training?
      • If not, October 15
    • Making an assumption that IT staff will be concurrently taking care of your tech needs …. Hmmm, maybe we should add few more months?
  • Understanding costs, or, WHAT??!!
    • Considerations:
    • Staffing: hidden or hiring? Subject specialists ain’t cheap!
    • Technology: do your current computers have what it takes?
    • Software: how are you going to view those TIF files?
  • Understanding costs, or, WHAT??!!
    • Considerations:
    • Storage: will the IT department share their storage space – for free? Or, is it time to buy lots and lots and lots of CD/DVDs?
    • Facilities: is the digitization staff, technology, and stuff you want to digitize all going to fit in your current space?
  • Discerning costs, or, WHAT??!!
    • Estimating production costs
    • Per item cost, based on previously expressed times and at $15/hour wage
      • Selection = $1.25
      • Metadata = $3.75
      • Scanning = $3.75
      • Quality checking = $2.00
      • Webpages = $22.50
  • Delivery considerations - 1/3
    • How will you present your material to the public? What do your users need?
      • CD/DVD
        • (+) Local distribution, circulation statistics, cheap
        • (-) Local distribution only, replace media, data – high maintenance on large scale
      • Website
        • (+) Wide distribution, relatively easy to create
        • (-) Searchability low, data – high maintenance on large scale
  • Delivery considerations - 2/3
    • How will you present your material to the public? What do your users need?
      • Digital asset management system (database)
        • (+) Good search/retrieve-abilities, data - low maintenance on large scale, often integrated delivery/administration
        • (-) Expensive, tech support required, still need web pages for context
  • Delivery considerations - 3/3
    • Digital Asset Management Systems
      • Package Solutions
      • ContentDM (OCLC)
      • MDID (James Madison)
      • Greenstone (free, open-source)
      • Other Custom Solutions
      • Fedora
      • Dspace (MIT)
  • Moving From Project to Program
    • A Digital Program is...
      • long-term
      • mission-driven
      • funded
      • administratively/ organizationally supported
      • systematized
      • planned
      • documented
      • staffed
  • Programs Must
    • Be integrated into the fabric of library services
    • Be focused primarily on achieving mission-related objectives
    • Be funded from predictable streams of allocation, be they external or internal
    • Include a plan for the long-term maintenance of digital assets
  • Projects Don’t Equal Programs
    • However, multiple digital projects centered around a mission or theme often make up part of a digital program
    • Even if you have a project or a few projects now, you can still develop a program
    • Projects tend to focus on collection strengths and while programs do the same…
      • Programs have broader institutional goals
      • Therefore, your projects may become fully integrated into your program
  • More About Digital Programs
    • Can be collaborative or single-institution
    • Revisiting Examples
      • Collaborative Digitization Project
      • Documenting the American South
  • Why Would You Want to Build or Be a Part of a Program?
    • Ideas? Have you completed projects in the past? Why is a program better?
    • Times they are a changin’...
    • The expectation of users is changing – “everything is/should be online”
    • Access to special collections material has been fairly restricted -- digitization of this material opens up a world of possibilities
    • Projects are often not sustained -- there is no one to maintain them or administration/support changes (especially if grant funded)
  • Projects to Programs
    • Break down of definition of digital program:
      • Does the development of a digital program fit within the mission of your library ?
        • If your mission is to serve your local community or region - how will a digitization program help?
        • A “program” is something that is long-term
        • Is your administration willing to make the commitment to a long-term program?
  • Projects to Programs
    • Do You Have the Funding That it Takes?
      • Digitization is not cheap. Grants are usually supplementary not sustainable. Institutional commitment of funding is the key to the establishment of a program.
      • In 2000, digital conversion costs for DLF member libraries surveyed with digital programs ranged from $38,000 to $1.1 million
  • Projects to Programs
    • Administrative support is essential for the development and sustainability of a digital library program
      • Your administration will have to be convinced often , so be ready to provide documentation.
      • Your program will be integrated into your library
      • Digital programs require the support of other library units - IT, Cataloging, Special Collections, Archives, etc.
  • Projects to Programs
    • Digital Programs have strategic plans and often have mission statements that clearly define the scope of the program
      • Mission of the CDP@BCR Program:
        • “ To achieve high quality digital access to cultural heritage collections. To provide resources and training to create digital surrogates of primary source collections. The CDP works with partners across the western United States.”
      • -- Digital Library Plan of Carnegie Mellon University
  • Projects to Programs
    • A program is well-documented .
      • A program adopts or develops best practices in accordance with national standards. Programmatic partners often look to the leading institution to set best practices.
      • These may include technical specifications, metadata guidelines, and collection development policies
        • Examples:
          • NC ECHO Digitization Guidelines
          • CDP Collection Policy
          • Syracuse Digital Checklist and Proposal Forms - handout
  • Projects to Programs
    • Last, but certainly not least - a program is staffed .
      • Building digital programs take people -- yes, typically more than one! They must be talented and engaged with evolving standards, digital asset management system development, digital preservation best practices, etc.
  • Staffing Examples
    • Some Jobs in a Digital Program:
      • Program Manager
      • Imaging Specialists
      • Programmer(s)
      • Web Developer
      • Metadata (may be in Cataloging unit, but is essential)
      • IT Support (program updates, server maintanence)
      • Subject specialists (often in another unit)
  • Strength in Collaboration
    • There is strength in collaboration -- more resources, more staff, more collections, more experience
    • Administrators often look more favorably on sharing costs than taking them all on
    • If an organization can’t build a digital program on its own, then collaboration might be the only way to build a program (most organizations fall into this category, and it is OK if yours does)
  • Ready to Build or Join a Program?
    • Exercise:
    • Develop strategies for building a digital library program by dissecting the definition of a digital program discussed today. (ie. What would you do to go about seeking funding? Convincing administrators?)
    • After developing strategies, share them with your neighbor - ask questions, share ideas