Research in the Digital Age
Why go to the bother and expense of
making digital copies of materials
that already exist in hard copy
• 1. The more that they are used, the more
your own success helps to destroy or
deteriorate them. You need the content, not
the actual original format.
• 2. In a public setting, you risk theft and
mutilation since your archival options are
• 3. Multiple users can see an item, and
obtain prints under controlled conditions.
• Examples – city directories almost 200
years old; 500,000 item 19th century
newspaper index; 25,000 item picture file;
manuscripts 200 or more years old, and in
What are Rochester initiatives?
• We have tried, over the past half dozen
years, to make parts of our collection more
accessible and useful to our users – mostly
the general public – through the Rochester
Images project, Rochester History
pamphlets, and by providing cataloging and
descriptions of the materials that we hold.
What else is being worked on?
• Rochester Life Records (750,000 name
birth, marriage and death indexes to entries
in the local (Gannett) newspapers, 19592005.
• Compiled in house by staff, converted to a
searchable database by a contractor.
• Rochester Images; Approximately 18,000
images of pictures, postcards, maps, etc.
from the Rochester Museum and Science
Center, town historians, city archives, and
the Library's own collection. All cataloged
to MARC standards and are available on the
web at the library web site.
• Images can be quick-downloaded as JPEG
format, or can be ordered as TIFF format on
• Used by publishers and media personnel for
• RBDB (Regional Bibliographic Data Base)
• In 2004, this project amplified the
collection in Rochester Images by adding
another 500 maps to the collection. These
included city, railroad, topographic and
town maps, all useful in historical and
• This database production and sharing grant
has been extended to add several hundred
more items to the online databases: Civil
War and WW I images and portraits,
religious movements, architecture,
industries, and street scenes.
• In early 2005, the library purchased a Kirtas
Technologies BookScan 1200, capable of
scanning over 1000 pages per hour.
• Can adjust for book curvature, post process
the images, and is capable of being OCR’d.
What does the library do with
• We use them daily in the provision of
reference and referral services; help inhouse patrons use them; guide people who
call, email or write to us; and give
presentations to community and educational
groups letting them know of the databases’
• This includes inviting about 20 volunteer
researchers from community groups to
assist patrons with their family histories,
and training the volunteers in the subject
matter and use of the databases.
• We sell production quality copies for use in
films and books.
• We show teachers and classes what we have
available that could be useful in their
Library decisions about format
• The staff knows what’s in the collection and
it’s condition. They also want to have it
used as much as possible.
• But they are not professional image workers
or programmers. Consulting with people or
units (DCAPS at Cornell) that have
experience with this is crucial.
Money, money, money
• Groundwork needs to be done to get an idea
of how much equipment and software costs.
• How much equipment do you have or must
• What level of staff is needed? In house or
Where and when will it appear
What format is to be used?
Don’t cheap out on supplies or
equipment. Today’s advanced machine is
tomorrow’s midrange or lower.
• Back up your product.
• Life span of project and who maintains it,
where and in what format.
• Dublin Core (www.dublincore.org) for
100+ pages of explanatory material.
• MARC – can be used off the shelf for most
online catalogs in use now.
• What format does your current catalog
support[[ort at no extra cost?
Don’t get bitten by a bad D.O.G.
• Deed of Gift. Many archives and colleges
have these. Many public libraries do not.
• Don’t accept something that’s not yours
without a clear, legally approved written
• Handshake agreements are worth the paper
they are printed on…
• Make sure that you have rights to digitize,
and give permission for use – you do not
want to have to refer users to outside groups
that may or may not respond to inquiries.
• Do you split the money made on sales? Do
you chare fees to publishers, producers or
for profit organizations?
• Essentially, wok on only what you own and
what is not subject to restrictive copyrights
– you want to produce a useable product,
not spend time in court.
• Draw up and adhere to timelines for
production. Your reputation will suffer if
you are a year or more late with a project
and have no reason. But – have a workable
timeline, not a best case, nothing goes
You have the project going…
• So do you mount it partially and slipstream
• How do you provide copies? Web items can
be copied onto a user's desktop; how to you
provide in-house copies and at what fee?
Who provides copies?
• People at the desk?
• People at a copy center?
• What options – B&W, color, scanned,
emailed, faxed, on CD or DVD, etc.
What is restricted and why?
• In our case, people can look at whatever is
in the database. We can only give
permission to use for library owned items,
and must refer users to our partners for
• We cannot now digitize anything that isn’t
ours due to legal action