Rapid digitization & online access of collections


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This presentation is devoted to explaining rapid digitization, the benefits, and then providing online access to cultural collections online.

For the San Jose State University chapter of Society of American Archivists.

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  • Talk about rapid digitization of archival materials for online access, and some methods for getting there. Introduce myself – Project Manager for Digital Asset Management and Online Access at the Balboa Park Online Collaborative in San Diego. 20 institutions, some of which have archival materials. Prior: Magnes, now at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Digitized and catalogued museum, archive and library materials and made all image assets available on Flickr. Also had a groundbreaking project integrating archive, library, and museum information into an integrated database. Got my start photographing and cataloging the permanent collection at the Nelson Gallery at UC Davis, and working as a slide librarian to increase digital access of art and architecture images to faculty and students. Program Chair for American Association of Museums Media and Technology Committee, a blogger for Musematic, and have written two chapters about museum collections digitization.
  • Rapid digitization of cultural collections was conceived in the 1990’s
  • NARA minimum guidelines for access is 20 MB for master images, 3000 pixels at largest side
  • Rapid digitization of cultural collections was conceived in the 1990’s, but the workflow was pioneered by the Yale University Art Gallery (and Cornell?) as a way in increase public access to collections. Often these collections are accessed through the institutional website, either via a collections database or as curated presentations. But social media outlets are great ways to increase public knowledge about archival collections, as that’s where the audience is…
  • Access – obviously, there’s work involved to get the images available. That’s step two. Preservation – Egypt and Iraq. Image-based records can help evaluate the condition of archival collections or artifacts over a period of time. Is that spot mold or foxing? Is this document degrading?
  • Non-rapid digitization is costly, and may only be able to have 700 images done per month, instead of per day. Graph is of BPOC’s digitization of images (photographs, slides) since February, 2010.
  • “highest” quality digitization means that there’s a chance item will need to be physically accessed again and reshot. But 99.9% of asset use relies on the lower qualities – web, researchers, educators, etc. seemingly exponential storage requirements will require long-term digital preservation policies and practices, and servers and storage become expensive Staff will need to recognize that images will need to be linked to database records
  • Once materials are digitized, then they need to be made available to the public. Can either be done through own website or by using social media sites or consortiums.
  • Granting bodies really want to see evidence of digitization efforts and a willingness to put materials in the public sphere Increased public awareness also means online visitors will be able to go to your site for information, instead of going to some other website for information Workload reduction – staff won’t have to respond to research requests for online materials, allowing them to focus on neglected collections Increased R&R – seems ironic, but increased visibility increases people asking for materials for publication
  • Crowdsourcing – general public can develop stories or expand upon partial information in catalog Highlighted area: “My father earned his living painting signs on store windows. Mostly later on long sheets of butcher paper. Safeway, Piggly Wiggly, Save a Nickel and later King's Super were some of his clients in Denver in the 40's and even into the early 50's. As a youth in the 40's these scenes are wrenching as I'd go with my dad and he'd try to convince the grocery owner of markets like these that better signs would mean better business. Both the owner and my dad so close to poverty and trying to make a better living would try to compromise to help us all to live.”
  • People become protective of places they use regularly or know about. If institution is threatened by budget cuts, people will speak out in defense of their trusted resource. Been seeing much of this with libraries. Marketing = increased viewers = more opportunities for marketing = increased grant opportunities
  • Copyright: need to determine what copyright is of materials being released and what reasonable risk the institution is willing to assume for in-copyright works. What size will images be released? Creative Commons license? Will public domain photos be released in large format or small format? R&R: Revenue is rarely a moneymaker for an institution, and shouldn’t be considered as a top priority if the mission for the institution is educational access to materials. Even if R&R fees are a significant source of revenue that pays for staff time, monies can be made up through increased donations and grant funding. Paradoxically, may be increased R&R requests, that impacts staff time. Conclusion as to what actually happens appears to vary from institution to institution. Unintended use of images may lead to potential embarrassment for institution, but highly unlikely Images may be taken without permission. But people who are going to pay for use anyway aren’t going to risk a lawsuit.
  • Database-driven is best solution Requires marketing around site and SEO “ Build it and they will come” doesn’t work Authority of collection information is maintained
  • Increase public access to collections because social media outlets are more findable Better SEO on Flickr, Wikipedia, Twitter, etc. and will almost always be found before institutional websites and collection records
  • Increase public access to collections because social media outlets are more findable Better SEO on Flickr, Wikipedia, Twitter, etc. and will almost always be found before institutional websites and collection records
  • Mosman falls – didn’t know the location of these falls. Put them up on Flickr, asked a question. Someone had seen the location on the right in a real estate listing in downtown Sydney and went out and took a snapshot of the falls.
  • Put up a set of images about Jews in China. Contacted by several teachers working abroad who were able to use the materials in their classrooms.
  • Moses Mendelsohn visit Lavater and Lessing. First hit in both google images and in regular web was to Magnes Flickr site. Institution has control over the asset. Compare that with…
  • If you perform a web search for “starry night van gogh”, MoMA is the third hit . But if you perform an image search , Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is displayed prominently, but you won’t find MoMA as a source until … somewhere? Not in the first four pages.
  • Tons of anecdotal comments about specific experiences, types of planes, information about people, etc. Traffic from Flickr is increasing traffic to their institutional website
  • Rapid digitization & online access of collections

    1. 1. Perian Sully for San Jose State University chapter of Society of American Archivists January 31, 2011
    2. 3. <ul><li>Fast method of digitizing collections of like size </li></ul><ul><li>Great for photographic, text, manuscript, map, print, and other document collections </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizes highest capture quality of digital SLR camera </li></ul><ul><li>Access-level images, not for large-scale publication </li></ul><ul><li>Inexpensive setup - $7,000 for camera, laptop, copy stand, lights and cart (storage extra) </li></ul><ul><li>One imaging technician can capture 700-1000 images/day </li></ul>
    3. 5. <ul><li>Mission-promoting - as more images increases potential for public to learn about and work with collection </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation – Opportunity to rehouse collections as they’re being digitized, and can assess condition when material is out. If there is a disaster or theft, images can be used to determine damage or loss. Images provide substitute for handling delicate materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Collection survey – Range of images allows curators or archivists to evaluate scope of collection and determine resources for further collecting. </li></ul>
    4. 6. <ul><li>Speed and cost of rapid digitization allows an institution to make their materials accessible in a short period of time. </li></ul>
    5. 7. <ul><li>Not highest-possible digitization quality </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure and storage needs must be planned in advance and can be expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Images can be “lost in the shuffle” unless staff are actively linking images to metadata and catalog records </li></ul>
    6. 9. <ul><li>Mission-driven – offers additional opportunities for scholars and public to learn about and from collections </li></ul><ul><li>Additional grant opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Increase public awareness of primary source materials </li></ul><ul><li>Protects institutional “authority” as trusted repository for information and knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Workload reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Focused exhibitions or exhibition materials based on view and access count </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Rights & Reproduction revenue </li></ul>
    7. 10. <ul><li>Opportunities for crowdsourcing </li></ul>
    8. 11. <ul><li>Increases public goodwill and feelings about the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity for marketing around collections </li></ul><ul><li>Drives traffic to other areas of institutional website and may increase foot traffic due to increased awareness </li></ul>
    9. 12. <ul><li>Copyright status and policies </li></ul><ul><li>Rights & Reproduction revenue impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Increased R&R requests affects staff workload </li></ul><ul><li>Public use of public domain images isn’t legally policeable by institution </li></ul><ul><li>Non-public domain images being used by individuals in non-academic or “frivolous” ways </li></ul><ul><li>Images being taken from websites without consent </li></ul>
    10. 13. <ul><li>Institutional website </li></ul>
    11. 14. <ul><li>Social media </li></ul>
    12. 15. <ul><li>Social media – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flickr (photos) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube (video) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WorldCat (finding aids and collections. requires account) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet Archive (sound, books) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikimedia (images, sound, video. public domain only) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SoundCloud (sound) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter/TwitPic (links to website pages and photos) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 16. <ul><li>Powerhouse Museum – Australia </li></ul>
    14. 17. <ul><li>Magnes Museum – Jews in China </li></ul>
    15. 18. <ul><li>Magnes Museum – Oppenheim Painting </li></ul>Lavater and Lessing Visit Moses Mendelssohn (1856) by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim
    16. 20. <ul><li>San Diego Air and Space Museum </li></ul>
    17. 21. <ul><li>Perian Sully </li></ul><ul><li>Project Manager: Digital Asset Management and Online Access </li></ul><ul><li>Balboa Park Online Collaborative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>psully @bpoc.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter: @p_sully </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website: www.emphatic.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog: www.musematic.net </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slideshare: www.slideshare.net/psully </li></ul></ul>