Creating Digital Collections for Small Organizations


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Talk given in Spring 2012 about how to create digital collections for libraries and historical societies in Vermont.

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  • Forrest Holzapfel President of the Marlboro Historical Society Photographer and local historian Jess Weitz Porter Thayer Thesis on digital collections Survey and guide - sign up on email sheet Reminded for the reason for study/talk: Next Wednesday Digital Directions (NEDCC) conference - $575 to $650 to attend. --cut out of conversation
  • REVIEW SLIDE What to consider when starting a digital collection --Details and resources will be contained in the handout --You are the content experts of your own collections - I am here to help you navigate tools to sharing your knowledge Please interrupt me - most valuable to discuss questions as they come up and share common knowledge
  • Preservation and Access Both can be addressed in a collection BUT I will focus on the value of access and single collections complete archives and preservation adds another more complex layer historical society talk example 75% of VT libraries think digital collections relevant and others say role of historical societies
  • From Digital Public Library of America planning session (national plan to keep eyes on) -no matter the size of the project this is what our brains look like trying to figure it out Internet is essentially a visual medium --Photographs, objects, manuscripts, postcards, newspapers, songs, video Catalog vs. collection? --historical societies --no need to tackle whole collection Could this collection be expanded or joined in the future? Consider larger value/appeal, size of project for time/cost -- EXAMPLE: PT was 1261 images, took 15 minutes per object to scan and catalog = 325 hours + set up, troubleshooting; realistic 400 hours
  • Equipment is basic CMS Look at handout What is your goal? --Purchased products made for collections --Open source (omeka) --For single image collections (esp. for photo) - dynamic ways to present content --State collection Hope for a joint state venture: Great value in repository but larger undertaking; CDI not available, Sepiatown, Maine memory 90% from survey want state repository
  • Make a plan before starting --excellent advantage of writing a grant --create a notebook (paper or digital) if using variety of staff/volunteers (samples on site) --one person in charge to designate tasks, troubleshoot but not get burned out Specifications of scans (sheet) Identifier = links record to image and image to object Metadata = information in MARC record What information to include with image - next slide….
  • Standard set of fields used in digital collections -allows information to be moved between collections and added to others Most programs designed for collections has Dublin Core as an option but sheet contains link to describe each field Can create metadata DC using Excel file and then import to software Fields - standardized, cover important information, okay if you don’t have all the information for each record Encourage interaction with collection: Comment field or form? Capture the common knowledge, encourage interaction
  • Same issue in library catalog… What is this? house, abode, dwelling, victorian, mansion Want to be sure all records called up in a search Can create own or use already formed (CONSISTENCY) Library of Congress most common Sheet of others Will need to create your own headings for local names, places, authors Tags can be generated by public - encourage collaboration, interest --crowdsource information - is generating enthusiasm = to all facts being correct
  • Keep costs low start small collaborate use volunteers Look for local business connection to content Advocate to change priorities for existing funds Kickstarter Grants grant writing requires you iron out a lot of the details before start lots of grants for larger or multi-year projects per image cost - no more than $4 per object
  • PR o Local media coverage o Physically respresent the online collection with brochure, fake book, computer in space o Public talks o Links: library catalog, to other collections o Facebook, Pinterest, Blog to highlight collection o Invitation to public to help add content Maintain --Working technically --Make sure links work --Moderate comments, new information
  • Creating Digital Collections for Small Organizations

    1. 1. Creating Digital Collections** On a tight budget, with limited staff, no technical training
    2. 2. Overview The Broad Strokes (review handout for the details) Discuss other’s digitization experience Look at some specific projects
    3. 3. Why Digitize? Access Preservation Public Demand Small organizations hold gems 24/7 Online Conserve historic items Access from Afar
    4. 4. What to Digitize?
    5. 5. Nuts and Bolts • Equipment • Computer station • Basic flatbed scanner • External hard drive for backup • Software • For images, Adobe Photoshop • OCR for typed text (optional) • Content Management System • How are you going to present your information? • Consider: cost, online access, type of material, size of collection or multiple collections in future • Choices listed in handout
    6. 6. The Plan (K.I.S.S.) • Project plan and notebook • Contains workflow and specifications • Helps organize participants • Don’t forget PR and maintenance • Specifications of scanning • File format (TIFF for images) • 600 dpi (for preservation and access) • Unique identifier • Metadata record • Choosing fields of information • Subject headings
    7. 7. Dublin Core Simple Data Set Title Format Creator Identifier Subject Source Description Language Publisher Relation Contributor Coverage Date Rights Type
    8. 8. Subject Headings AND TagsControlled vocabulary?
    9. 9. Funding
    10. 10. PR & MaintenanceEasy to Forget but IMPORTANTIf the public doesn’t use your digital collection because they don’t know about it or because it is out of date… What is the point?
    11. 11. Traditional CollectionsUVM’s Center for Digital InitiativesIrene Digital Memory (Omeka)Middlebury College Collections (ContentDM)Vermont Historical Society: Rugg CollectionChronicling America: Vermont Newspapers ProjectMaineMemory (Statewide Collection)
    12. 12. Less Traditional CollectionsThe Commons (Flickr)SepiaTownHistory PineHive