Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What people are teaching in digitization/digital library classes

I've been asked to post the information that people have sent to me.

The Rogue Librarian, who teaches at the Pratt Institute in NYC, posted her syllabus in her blog in August, looking for feedback. So you can go there and see her syllabus for "Projects in Digital Archives." She's using the book The Social Life of Information which is partially available for free online as well as other readings.

The final project is quite interesting:
Each student will participate in a real-world digital preservation project. This is a group project. The scope of this project will be ambitious; we will be using NYPL's LOCKSS cache to preserve a small number of blogs. Students will be creating a collection development policy, working with publishers to obtain permission to preserve their blogs, coordinating with members of the LOCKSS team at Stanford, and creating a policy for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of this collection. Students will leave this course ready to participate in the digital library and digital preservation community at a sophisticated level.
Thanks to the person who e-mailed me about this syllabus. And since she had already posted it publicly, I'm glad to be able to point others to it.

There's another class being given this fall entitled "Developing Digital Collections." I'm not sure if the instructor would want the syllabus announced to the world, so I'll not do that. Looking at the web site, two things stand out to me about this class:
  1. The class covers planning, executing, and managing projects. I like the inclusion of the word "planning." That really gets it out in the open that one must plan a digitization project.
  2. The instructor has built an extensive web site for the class. This class is taught on campus, but using the Internet in this way allows for a continues flow of information. Undoubtedly, the instructor put a lot of work into the site.
My syllabus from the spring 2005 semester is available here (MS Word format). The class is taught online using WebCT and is called "Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets." Since it is taught online, I've had students in this class from across the U.S. as well as from other countries.

The first and fourth assignments are connected, and give the students a chance to think about a specific collection. The third assignment is a vendor interview assignment and teaches the students not only what digitization vendors do, but also how to find them. (Interestingly, some vendors refuse to talk to the students even though many of the students are working in libraries AND will be working on digitization projects in the future. In other words, they could be the vendor's customers.)

The second assignment deals with copyright. If you look at the syllabus, you'll be able to imagine all of the various answers I get. I end up writing a memo to the students telling them what I would do and why, etc., and giving it to them with their grades. BTW there's much to think about with the assignment, but sometimes the students make it harder than what it is.

If other people have suggestions, etc., please e-mail them to me or post a comment. The sharing of these ideas related to teaching about digital assets is very important.

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