Our adventures in digitization


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A panel presentation prepared for Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries conference 2011. It discusses a public library's transition from early digitization efforts to using ContentDM at Wisconsin Heritage Online. Downloaded version includes speakers notes.

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  • Presentation prepared for the Wisconsin Public Library Association Conference 2011. Andy Barnett – McMillan Memorial Library – 490 East Grand Avenue – Wisconsin Rapids WI 54494 715-422-5144 / abarnett@mcmillanlibrary.org
  • Being an early adapter can get in the way of staying an early adapter. Think of the 1950’s state of the art automobile factories or pre-automation paper mills. They are too big to modernize easily, so they stay in operation until they are totally abandoned. In 1993, McMillan started digitizing some photos and documents, to make rare and fragile items available. By 2002 our project had grown and the Library won the 2002 WLA/Highsmith Award for innovation. By 2010, the project was in danger of being bypassed by advances, so we moved to using ContentDM through Wisconsin Heritage Online.
  • Fortunately, we were able to recycle and repurpose most of our content. Most of the images were large enough and a local foundation rescanned many of rest for their own purposes and gave us large format copies. Our descriptions were full enough so that creating metadata was not a major hurdle. Much of it could be cut and pasted. We had a number of documents in PDF format with OCR done. They could be loaded and searchable. We had already moved our collection to a Creative Commons license, so we didn’t need to modify that to accommodate greater visibility or use. We have always had a strong local focus, serving our local audience. Our selection policy reflects this, but now we can bypass items we think Google will get to and stay with those where we can “value-add”, by providing access to things they won’t (soon), that are of strictly local interest or that are too fugitive even for them.
  • We gained a lot by moving to Wisconsin Heritage Online. See our collection at http://content.mpl.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/mcml Access is improved, since the metadata is more regular and better organized. We expect better visibility for the items in the collection, though Google Image Search still finds them on our pages before finding them on WHO. This should change over time. We also have the flexibility to create subcollections by linking to guided searches. All photos of floods, all photos of libraries, all postcards, etc. The database approach offers flexibility that html pages can not. Our collection is now off-site, which is fine with us, as more and more of our services live in the cloud. Using ContentDM should provide us with protection for the next move, as any future system should be able to import our content.
  • We are not done and don’t view what we have done as an end state. We recently picked up an 11x17 scanner. It is part of a all-in-one and was much cheaper than a large format flatbed. It also came with a sheet feeder, which has already been very helpful. Our latest microfilm reader is a scanner too, so we can get excellent full or part page scans at high resolution. We have mined a few old newspapers for valuable information. We have the rights to digitize and post several copyrighted local history titles, which were self published. We have also obtained several books by early area poets. These are in the hopper. We have moved into social media too. Like some larger organizations, we put many of our photos on Flickr to increase their visibility. We also created some mashups, showing where county cemeteries are, former library locations and placing old photos on a map of the city. See them at http://www.mcmillanlibrary.org/programs/mapping.html We plan to use Print on Demand to revise and reprint our Library’s history and maybe to make available a one-of-a-kind photo album. These and our other recent programs are available at: www.slideshare.net/mcmillanlibrary
  • Our adventures in digitization

    1. 1. Our Adventures in Digitization: McMillan Memorial Library Andy Barnett – abarnett@mcmillanlibrary.org
    2. 2. Law of the Retarding Lead <ul><li>Being in the lead can get in the way of staying in the lead. </li></ul><ul><li>Mid 1990s – McMillan starts digitization project. </li></ul><ul><li>2002 – McMillan wins WLA/Highsmith Award for innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>2010 – McMillan needs to revamp access to its digital content. Moves to ContentDM. </li></ul>
    3. 3. What We Kept <ul><li>Most content OK. </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptions -> metadata. </li></ul><ul><li>Many PDFs. </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons license. </li></ul><ul><li>Local focus. </li></ul><ul><li>Selection policy (with nod to Google). </li></ul>
    4. 4. What WHO Gave Us <ul><li>Better access/metadata. </li></ul><ul><li>Better visibility. </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility to create collections within the collection, both old and new. </li></ul><ul><li>Off-site (they are our cloud). </li></ul><ul><li>Standards. </li></ul><ul><li>content.mpl.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/mcml </li></ul>
    5. 5. What Else Are We Up To? <ul><li>Ledger sized scanner (<$250). </li></ul><ul><li>Microfilm scanner. </li></ul><ul><li>Several copyrighted but fugitive books. </li></ul><ul><li>Early poetry of Wood County. </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr and Google Map mashups . </li></ul><ul><li>POD in our future. </li></ul><ul><li>See us: www.slideshare.net/mcmillanlibrary </li></ul>