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Stose bplstudio


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Stose bplstudio

  1. 1. I. Face SheetDate: July 29, 2010 Draft: Final versionA mock proposal for "", a digital library system in fulfillment ofrequirements for a course in Digital Libraries (IST 676) at the Syracuse University School ofInformation Studies.Name of proposing institution/organization: Indexedelic, LLC www.indexedelic.comFull contact details for primary contact: Project partners (if applicable):Name: Stephen J. Stose Boston Public Library (BPL)Position: Principal Thomas BlakeEmail: Digital Reproduction StudioAddress: 84 Hood Street 700 Boylston St.Northampton, UK NN1 3QU Boston MA 02116II. AbstractThis proposal outlines the intellectual merit, need and future impact of, a digitallibrary repository developed for the preservation, management, use, and dissemination of over50,000 Boston Public Library (BPL) images residing across four departments and including over30 distinct collections relevant to historians, graphic artists, photographers, students, teachers,and hobbyists. These high-resolution images owe their provenance to flood insurance moniesearmarked for equipment, but BPL funding issues have both constrained the proper staffing ofits use and of the preservation of the otherwise deteriorating physical originals. Digitizationsuccessfully proceeded, yet without digital management software in place. Such a solutionwould ensure the longevity of these digital surrogates, reduce contact with the physicalcollection, provide access to the nation’s second largest library’s otherwise unknown treasures,and create the branding and visibility on par with comparable institutions with open digitalcollection portals in place for public use. DSpace is proposed as an open-source solution thatwill allow for the cost-effective creation and management of an accessible web portal for usersof all ages to browse and search within and across the digital collections. The proposal specifiesthe development of a user-friendly resource of catalogued images that includes harvestablemetadata, a controlled vocabulary for graphic images, and a taxonomy of the various collections.Its creation will conform to the latest industry standards, and will be developed according to atimeline of deliverables that include a plan for the digital library’s evaluation, dissemination, andpost-prototype maintenance and sustainability.
  2. 2. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 2III. Description A) Introduction and brief descriptionThe Boston Public Library (BPL) is the first publicly supported library in the United States andthe first public library to lend out materials to patrons. The library holds approximately 34million items (including 1.7 million rare books) and has one of the busiest circulation systems inthe nation. Nevertheless, funding and staffing for preservation and digital innovation is dismalcompared to its peers (the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library)1, and localbranches are closing2. Many people are stressing digital preservation efforts to resolve theinevitable loss of physical materials over time, especially given that these funding issues areendemic to public institutions across the United States in general.The Open Content Alliance is busy digitizing rare volumes within the BPL3 and an extensiveflood left insurance monies to purchase a state of the art digitization studio. Despite suchinnovation in digitization and photography equipment, the BPL studio operates with one merefull-time staff member, and thus the knowledge and skill rotating part-time interns andvolunteers do acquire is not internally propagated as required by a successful digitizationprogram. Nor do they always bring in the expertise necessary to uphold correct standards inquality and services deployed. Nevertheless, the director, Thomas Blake, remains committed andpersistent in continuing efforts in mass digitization.Such efforts have led to images now boasted on the privately funded Norman B. Leventhal MapCenter4, a top-rate digital library. The other digitized collections are currently displayed in acomplete, coherent and well-documented manner on Flickr5, a makeshift solution neithersustainable, extensible, inter-operable, nor independent (i.e., the solution depends on Yahoosservices and interface). There are a few sharing agreements with institutions such as theInternational Children’s Digital Library (see the Jordan Collection6), and a few innovative webdesigners have also developed stand-alone collections by using open-source contentmanagement software (see the Fore-Edge Book Painting collection7 and the Leslie Jonesphotography collection8, the latter spearheaded by the current author).1 MacQuarrie, Brian (2006-10-06). "Library lacks means to repair old tomes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-06-04.2 Ryan, Andrew (2010-02-18). “Library may cut 10 of its branches”. The Boston Globe. ge=full. Retrieved 2010-06-04.3 Retrieved 2010-06-04.4 Retrieved 2010-06-04.7
  3. 3. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 3Despite these fragmented approaches, no large-scale institutional repository of images federatedinto a series of collections accessible via a front-end digital library portal exists, unlike its peersat the New York Library9 and the Library of Congress10. This is a serious omission given thecomparable value and size of the collection at the Boston Public, not to mention the interest itwould otherwise generate if published and localizable online instead of being restricted toappointment-only physical viewing sessions by a public that barely knows of the items it holds.For this reason, we propose to develop a pilot digital library (DL) for digital image storage,preservation, search, management and use.In what follows is a proposal for 1-year project funding towards the development of aninstitutional repository of images, called "," that serves long-termpreservation goals, as well as allows for the management, search and retrieval of these imagesacross and within each of the separate collection spaces. In this proposal we outline a statementof need for BPLstudio, the intellectual merit this DL will have and its future impact to both BPLas an institution and the public it serves. We will also describe the goals and objectives of theDL, the key staff needed to implement it, the timeline for its implementation, an evaluation plan,how we will disseminate the product, and our plans for its future sustainability. B) Statement of needDespite massive ongoing digitization, the BPL lacks the infrastructure for digital objectpreservation and dissemination. In August 1998 disaster struck and the basement of the BPL wasinundated with flood waters11 from a burst water main, leaving many of the librarys soundarchives and 16-mm film collection soaked, as well as damaging thousands of other materialsonly some of which were rehabilitated by freeze drying. The upshot was insurance moniesearmarked for physical infrastructure, which formed the basis for a fully furnished digitizationstudio, with state-of-the-art Sinar cameras and lighting, scanners and flatbeds, Macintoshworkstations, and photography and editing software.However, with branches closing and public funding far less than any comparable institution withcollections of this stature and prestige, the library and studio are left with few options. Firstly,the physical collection itself is deteriorating. "If money isnt raised soon and consistently incoming years, the library can expect significant losses of its rare and historic treasures beginningwithin five years," said the chair of the Associates of the Boston Public Library, Vivian Spiro12.The usual staff of seven conservators is now at two. Secondly, since the digital studiosinception, there has only ever been one full-time staff member to utilize it. Thomas Blake,9 Retrieved 2010-06-04.12 Ryan, Andrew (2010-02-18). “Library may cut 10 of its branches”. The Boston Globe. ge=full. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  4. 4. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 4however, has taken full advantage of library and photography interns, but this is on a part-time,rotating and often volunteer basis. That is, the digital studio takes a perhaps understandablesecond seat to physical preservation issues, which means often the high-calibre equipment goesunused and knowledge and skills are not internally propagated.The current proposal seeks to ameliorate these losses indirectly. Given Tom Blakes massivecommitment to continued digitization, and the cooperation of the preservationists in selectingmaterials to digitize, over 50,000 high quality images are now available, each assigned withdescriptive, technical and administrative metadata. Thus, even if physical preservation tacticstake precedence over current Boston public digital financing, the efforts the studio havenevertheless made towards preserving the digital surrogates of these same objects should nolonger go unnoticed.Two further items complement our statement of need: 1) the intellectual merit of the proposedDL, and 2) the impact such a DL might have on the public, and on regenerating funding andsupport for future BPL initiatives: 1. Intellectual meritFirstly, most if not all of the digitized objects we aim to disseminate within BPLstudio belong tothe public domain. That is, little of the collection falls under copyright protection, and thus itsopen use cannot be exploited if unexposed to user communities with the rights and establishedinterests in its free online publication. Also, the value of this content is comparable to programswith digital library infrastructure long in place (e.g., New York Public Library and the Library ofCongress). The collection holds immediate value to photographers, graphic artists, historians,filmmakers, hobbyists, and teachers and students across all levels of the educational system. Thisinterest is especially true if focused on the Greater Boston region, as many of the collections arespecific to Boston, its history, its visitors and its present and past institutions across the 19th and20th centuries. The site will thematically cater to these interests, and provide a portal to search,browse, and explore these documented images and the collection spaces within which theycohere and will be contextualized, and thereby serve to visually transport the user to the times itvisually and graphically represents.The various digital objects can be categorized into a coherent taxonomy of collections, as can beseen on the BPL Flickr account. The full breakdown of these collections and the number ofimages in each can be found outlined in Appendix A. The items listed in there have already beendigitized and span across four (4) different BPL departments: Music, Print, Rare Books andManuscripts, and BPL neighborhood branches. Indeed, due to the fact that no digitallibrary/repository is in place, nor is BPL prepared in its current state to fund one, it is remarkablethat these images (low resolution versions of the TIFF digital objects) are indeed presentlyviewable within Flickr13.13
  5. 5. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 5While fortunate these images are available as such to the public, it is unfortunate that theopportunity-cost of having already uploaded these images into Flickr results in an unsustainabledigital collection of low-resolution versions separated from both the preservation of the digitaloriginals, and separated from the BPL catalog referencing the original physical instantiation ofthe digital surrogates. Neither are there many (if any) viable solutions to migration, whichbasically implies the current digital Flickr collection is not extensible. Basic search features areavailable, but few other tools or options exist to properly exploit the educational and researchvalue these collections offer.The items and collections are fully documented and contextualized. The repository we proposewill serve to preserve the digital objects themselves, a strategy that should long outlast whateverphysical preservation tactics one employs. Additionally, web access to these images within adigital ecosystem that exploits the item- and collection-level metadata in an educational way willopen the collection worldwide to audiences that never otherwise would view it. 2. ImpactThe immediate impact BPL studio will have is to expose the public to a collection of imagesboth unknown and otherwise very difficult to view in physical form. Viewing these itemsrequires making an appointment with an already limited staff. The DL will obviously notpreclude personal visits, but it will allow these visits to become more productive and efficient.Thus, not only will the exposure bring more potential visitors to the library, those who visit will--having already seen the digital surrogates--be better informed about the items they wish tocontinue pursuing in physical form. This has the added value for physical preservation also, asdigital rummaging will undermine the unnecessary damage physical rummaging has.Additionally, many of these items are large and unwieldy to view. For example, the collectionincludes large posters easier to see and zoom in on digitally; it includes folded posters/mapswhose creases incur damage at every unfolding; fragile glass plate negatives that smudge andeasily break; and painted book edges on fragile books. Given that items have been digitized inhigh resolution, users are afforded the luxury of digital zooming, printing, enlarging, anddownloading. A user-friendly interface will permit faceted searching, browsing and display in aworkspace in which users may collate, compare and contrast digital objects otherwise residing indistinct physical locations, thereby impacting research, artistic and educational novelty andinnovation. C) Target audienceAccording to 2008 American Library Association statistics14, Boston Public Library holds thesecond largest number of holdings, at 23,595,895 volumes, after the Library of Congress. It also14
  6. 6. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 6boasts some of the highest circulation rates, implying the people of the greater Boston regionreally depend on this library and its 26 branches. Well, as of February 2010, the libraryannounced it would be closing 10 of its 26 branches, and is limiting the opening hours at theothers15. With such high circulation statistics and branches closing, we argue that by increasingthe exposure and prestige of the BPL by opening up its otherwise hidden collection to theInternet and hence the connected world, the library will be giving itself a public relationsmakeover that will stimulate city, state and nationwide interest in the first public library in theUnited States, and in a city considered our nations cradle. It is likely that a populace alreadyactive in library services will display a curiosity towards what is hidden in the librarys off-limitvaults.By following Dublin Core metadata standards, the data embedded in BPLstudio can eventuallybe harvested and integrated as part of web services (SOAP and REST protocols) that bring theimages to anybody with an Internet connection and search capabilities. Once the audience hasarrived, the interface of BPLstudio will be tailored to best practices in current user-orienteddesign standards.While boasting a collection very worthy of research in graphic design, photography, and history,it is important that it be equally accessible to younger students, hobbyists and older generationsalike. That is, such a legacy of images can invoke a contextualized story of past circumstancesand history in the minds of the young, as well as reawakened in older minds alike. In this way,the library rejuvenates itself in its role as public educator and provider of community knowledge,while simultaneously attracting a wider global audience regarding its holdings and importance.Given that each item and collection is well documented, this metadata will be available withsections that easily unfold when research demands are required by users with more focusedintentions. That is, simple information discovery through recreational browsing will not deterfrom the research value of this resource. D) Project goals and objectivesIn preparation for this open repository of Boston Public Library (BPL) digitized images, wewould here like to outline in more explicit form the objectives presented as a set of deliverablesthat will ensure this projects success. The repository has as its goal the bringing to light ofmaterials otherwise unseen and inaccessible to researchers, hobbyists, filmmakers,photographers, students, and the general public. It will simultaneously serve the goal of digitalpreservation of digital originals, while providing various user levels of accessing, managing andsharing the Web friendly versions both within and across each collection, and the associatedcollection- and item-level metadata.Given that the BPL is a publicly-funded institution with limited capacity to match the funds for15 Ryan, Andrew (2010-02-18). “Library may cut 10 of its branches”. The Boston Globe. ge=full. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  7. 7. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 7this proposal, and in order that the maintenance of the system is adopted as part and parcel of theyearly workflow when this funding ends, it is important that these goals be achieved through aset of efficient objectives that are cost effective and have a proven record of past success. Theplanned objectives that follow will help fulfill this goal.We will not be reinventing the wheel here, except insofar as ensuring that BPLstudio interfacehas its own "look and feel" branding relevant to the context of the various collections. The opensource software repository DSpace16 has a proven track record of success in providing digitalasset management (DAM) solutions to now over 900 institutions across the globe. Many of theseare cultural heritage institutions with image collections, such as the Smithsonian Institution17, theAmerican Museum of Natural History18, and New York Universitys Afghanistan DigitalLibrary19.This DAM will operate as the back-end architecture of BPLstudio. Installation is "out of thebox" and estimated to take less than a day for those familiar with basic web applicationinstallations on Linux servers (e.g., the LAMP stack). A range of tutorials and documentationhave been released20 to help less technical users (i.e., non-engineers) operate DSpace.Configuration occurs at the interface level, such that preferences, permissions, database fields,taxonomy settings and metadata values can be set or changed at the click of the mouse with nocoding required, not unlike most ordinary Content Management Systems today (e.g., WordPress,Drupal, Joomla). Programming skills are only required if deeper changes to the default settingsare desired, something our proposal does not require, at least on the back-end.However, our teams scripting expertise will allow front-end customization, with the use of theManakin interface layer21. Manakins interface toolkit allows for CSS and Javascript tweaks tooverride the default setting, as well as XSL templates for more structural changes to the XML-based metadata within DSpace22. Institutions already successfully use Manakin for DSpace,most notably the creators of Manakin, Texas A&M University Libraries Digital Collections23.The point is to customize and brand the look, feel and tools (e.g., social media tools, tag clouds,specialized searches, shopping carts) of the site, as otherwise the DSpace architecture, beingboilerplate for easy back-end installation, can be rather bland in features and design.This first prototype will allow non-registered public viewing (later versions will allow cachedsearch histories, user-profiles, and multimedia preferences) and registration for administrators.16 www.dspace.org17 See the DSpace online course at: or For a tutorial, see Scott Phillips, Cody Green, Alexey Maslov, Adam Mikeal, John Leggett. "A New Face for DSpace", D-Lib Magazine, Volume 13, Number 11/12, December 2007.23; see also for other examples
  8. 8. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 8Metadata fields will be standard Dublin Core to allow eventual integration with OAI-PMHharvesting (not initiated yet in this prototype), as well as a flat system of cloud-tagging thatutilizes the controlled Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM) subjectvocabulary. Thus, there will be three points of browsing and search: 1) TGM vocabulary, 2) theDublin Core metadata values, and 3) the taxonomy of collection spaces outlined above.Additionally, for persistent item-identification, this initiative will register each item in alocation-independent (machine and platform) way with global handle servers using the HandleSystem24 infrastructure, an initiative supported within the DSpace framework.The interface itself will be very visually oriented (not textually), with random images andfeatured collections appearing in the sidebar. A "gallery" of collections will utilize visual images(image items from each collection itself) as clickable points of entry to each collection space, yetusers will always have the option to search and browse both within and between the collections,giving a sense of federation to the site. Advanced search features will allow metadata dropdowns for filtering, and faceted refinement/broadening options will always be available in asidebar, along with recommended content using internal synonyms and recommended externalcontent from other digital libraries (e.g., using the OER Recommender tool25). To allow simplebrowsing with no information overload, image thumbnails within a grid-like interface willprovide only basic information about each image, with the possibility of unfolding the completerecord beneath the item with Javascript-like buttons. Also, users will always be completelyaware of their location within this space, aware of whether they are viewing items within only oracross collections, and be able to retrace their movements through the use of breadcrumbs. E) Key staffTwo (2) FTE staff (at 40 hours a week) will be employed to install, configure, test, populate andevaluate the digital library prototype. Both employees will have knowledge and experience inthe use of content management and digital asset management systems. One employee will have abackground in basic computer programming and middle-ware and front-end scripting, as well ashave experience in communicating with system engineers to ensure safe and correct installationof the digital architecture with the BPL, to ensure its smooth functioning, and to ensure theserver space is properly configured for storage and preservation of the digital originals. Thissame employee will be primarily responsible for designing the font-ends look and feel, brandingthe site, scripting the functions and in directing the work of the second employee. The secondemployee will have an information science/management and/or library education, and beprepared to develop metadata schemas, taxonomies, subject vocabularies, and digital imageversioning and collation systems. This second employee should also be prepared to spend longhours uploading images and entering metadata, according to the proper workflow established bythe two employees together. The infrastructure will be developed such that one (1) employeewill suffice for future maintenance and sustainability after the development of this prototype,24
  9. 9. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 9unless future development on the prototype is deemed necessary and advisable. F) TimelineA month-by-month timeline will outline six (6) phases of deliverables at each level ofarchitecture development. These are outlined as follows. The full month-by-month grid of themilestone deliverables can be found in Appendix B. 1. DSpace installation, configuration, and server architecture testing, scalability 2. Metadata schema development/integration, database fields, taxonomy development, faceted/adv search, indexing 3. Workflow development for simple uploading of image & metadata, administrator interface/workflow design; populate across taxonomies 4. Add on functionalities added/tested (e.g., sidebar tag clouds, recommended content, metadata foldouts, breadcrumbs) 5. Front-end interface design and development, browsing/search & taxonomy layout/design 6. Performance, QA testing, sustainability plan, usability questionnaires & testing G) Evaluation planThe evaluation plan will be both formative and summative. Formative evaluation will follow thetimeline in Appendix B. in regards to each deliverable (1 - 6). The general evaluation willinclude reports for each deliverable, the strategy behind each report being to ensure that eachdeliverable stands up to high-level industry-wide standards, using methods of which will includesoftware QA testing, user-administered questionnaires (for usability and design), metadatastandard comparisons to ensure future inter-operability and portability, and link-testing to ensurepersistence over time. Summative evaluation will be a library-wide evaluation, including testingby all future parties (e.g., systems, technical services and digitization labs) that will utilize theDL as part and parcel of their workflow, but also more user-administered questionnaires (usingrandom sampling of library patrons) for usability, design, and other standard evaluation criteria. H) DisseminationDissemination will include poster-size and 1/4 page leaflet advertisements strategically placedwithin each BPL branch announcing the portals opening, as well as special invitations to browsethe collection on clickable icons within each of the computer terminal catalog stations in eachbranch. The BPL website will also announce the opening of BPLstudio on its main page, and avisible link to the portal will become a continual part of the BPL web space, just as is the catalogand other special features of the library. Given that BPL also participates as part of socialnetworking sites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), special web announcements will seek to virallypropagate knowledge of its opening.
  10. 10. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 10 I) SustainabilityAfter development, one (1) FTE employee will be charged with daily administration,management and system maintenance. This will include maintaining a means of properdissemination via public announcements (see part H. above), ensuring the ongoing digitizationendeavors (e.g., metadata schemas, file formats, subject vocabularies) for future collections areproperly managed for eventual DSpace integration, and ensuring these collections are uploadedand properly integrated to maintain back-end scalability and conformation with front-end designelements. This position will include the training and formation of any future need of part- or full-time employees on the utilization of DSpace should the library and studio undertake any newproject spaces for incorporation into the DSpace repository (either BPLstudio or any otherDSpace "community" formation). The position will also include basic training of other staffmembers (e.g., technical services; digitization staff) insofar as their workflow (e.g., BPL catalogintegration; digitization; staff image uploading) will eventually involve logging into the DSpacerepository, in order to streamline more library-wide services. Also, yearly reviews will evaluatethe system on all levels (see 1-6 in Appendix B.) to allow for discussions of future use and need.
  11. 11. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 11Appendix A. The digitized collections ready to be incorporated into the proposed DL, and thenumber of images (xx) belonging to each sub-category • Three (3) sets of posters ◦ Boston brewery posters (21) ◦ Travel posters (351) ◦ War posters (81) • Three (3) sets of original artwork ◦ Alphonse Legros (22) ◦ George Wesley Bellows (69) ◦ Ships through the ages (14) • Two (2) sets of lithographs ◦ Louis Prang & Company (1,055) ◦ Sheet music lithograph covers (219) • Two (2) sets of costume designs ◦ Ariadne auf naxos (56) ◦ Jana (36) • Two (2) sets of book arts ◦ Fore-Edge paintings (214) ◦ Sarah Wyman Witmen bindings (352) • Three (3) sets of ephemera ◦ Boston matchcovers (436) ◦ McGreevey memorabilia (13) ◦ Produce crate labels (102) • Three (3) sets of manuscripts ◦ Anti-slavery manuscripts ◦ Emily Dickenson manuscripts ◦ John Adams Boston Massacre • One (1) set of postcards ◦ Tichnor Brothers Inc. postcards (seven sub-sets: 4,521) • One (1) set of scrapbooks ◦ Tupper scrapbook collection (10 sub-sets: 476) • Ten (10) sets of photographs ◦ Boston pictorial archive (114) ◦ Cased photographs (54) ◦ Eadweard Muybridges animal locomotion (783) ◦ Charlestown lantern slides (618) ◦ Leon Abdalian collection (781) ◦ Michael T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevey photographs (183) ◦ Frank A. Rinehart photographs (American west) (113) ◦ Boston stereograph collection (623) ◦ Trustees McKim (BPL building) construction photographs (404) ◦ Leslie Jones photography collection (30,000+)
  12. 12. Stephen J. StoseDigital Libraries 676 Aug 2, 2010 Assignment 5 12Appendix B. TimelineDeliverables Month O N D J F M A M J J A S (2010- c o e a e a p a u u u e 2011) t v c n b r r y n l g p1. DSpace installation, Econfiguration, and server varchitecture testing, ascalability l2. Metadata schema Edevelopment/integration, vdatabase fields, ataxonomy development, lfaceted/adv search,indexing3. Workflow Edevelopment for simple vuploading of image & ametadata, administrator linterface/workflowdesign; populate acrosstaxonomies4. Add on functionalities Eadded/tested (e.g., vsidebar tag clouds, arecommended content, lmetadata foldouts,breadcrumbs)5. Front-end interface Edesign and development, vbrowsing/search & ataxonomy layout and ldesign6. Performance, QA Stesting, sustainability uplan, usability mquestionnaires & testing E v a l