Wednesday, August 31, 2005
October 31 - November 4, 2005
Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY
Cornell University Library is offering a digital preservation training program October 31 - November 4, 2005 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The workshop targets managers and other professionals at organizations that are facing the digital preservation challenge and highlights the need for the integration of organizational and technological issues to devise an appropriate approach. This limited-enrollment workshop has a registration fee of $750 per participant. Online registration is now available for the upcoming workshop. This workshop will also be repeated May 14-19, July 16-21, and October 1-6, 2006.
Go to http://www.library.cornell.edu/iris/dpworkshop/ for additional information.
Questions may be directed to Nancy McGovern, email@example.com.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Federated search allows users to search many sources at once. A federated search tool is often called a silo buster, because it breaks down the barriers between information repositories. The speakers talked about trends, products to watch, etc. All good stuff.
Stuivenga's final comment on the session notes the best trend of all:
Soon you may not need a federated search tool. In a few years you may be able to link at least some databases without any extra expense or effort via built-in XML, API's and the like.
Early Bird registration is now open for Museum Computer Network (MCN) @ Boston, November 2nd - 5th. Registration forms, secure online registration and travel information are available at http://www.mcn.edu/Mcn2005/mcn2005registration.htm
In addition to great sessions addressing digital longevity, standards, and other technological issues in museums, the conference will feature:
Alexander Rose, Executive Director of the Long Now Foundation, delivering this year's Blackaby Keynote address. Mr. Rose's talk, entitled "Designing for Longevity," will weave elements of his work in long-term preservation with current issues in electronic media.
Howard Besser, Director of the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Program at NYU, and one of the most thoughtful mentors of our community, will deliver a plenary address during the Thursday evening reception, offering a look backwards and into the future of our collective endeavor.
Thursday night reception at the Fogg Art Museum Conference attendees will spend a wonderful evening with friends and colleagues viewing the Special Exhibition:
Degas at HarvardPre and post conference workshops:
- The Nuts and Bolts of Building a Digital Collection for the Whole Museum.
- Cataloging Cultural Objects Bootcamp
- Managing a Digitization Project
- Content Management Strategies and Systems
Stewardship of Digital Assets.Register for both today!
Full conference program is available online at http://www.mcn.edu/Mcn2005/mcn2005sessions.htm
During the session, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, said:
Users don’t care about the container! LIS schools spend so much time on encyclopdediae [sic], almanacs, gazetteers, etc.
True! This has become my criticism of many digital libraries. They expect you to know the container to look in rather than allowing you to search all of the containers at once. If they don’t want to provide federated search options, then they should at least put all of the containers together so that the user can see them all at once. Don’t separate the fee-based services from the full-text journals and ready reference sources.
Also don’t separate the local digitized content from everything else. We – the creators of the content – know that it is different and why its different, but our users do not. Find ways of integrating the digitized content in with everything else. For example, place records for it in your library’s catalogue. Link to it from various locations on your web site. Tell people how it relates to the other content that you own.
However you do it, remove the idea that the user must know what container to look in. Merge the containers in whatever ways are possible. Remember that it is not the container that matters, but what is in the container.
O'Reilly is pro Google Print, but is willing to openly debate the issues involved. What he sees is a new business model for all publishers and writes:
Even if I'm wrong about the legal issue (because, after all, I'm not a lawyer), I believe that Google (along with Amazon with their Search Inside, as well as more specialized services like O'Reilly's own Safari Books Online service) are exploring new business models for publishing online. I will lay pretty strong odds that those publishers who are whining now about the illegitimacy of what Google is doing will be desperately trying to play catch up once new models become established.Food for thought, eh?
This is definitely a blog posting that is worth skimming (and reading in detail, if you have the time).
Monday, August 29, 2005
Sept. 21: Workshop - How to Create a Blog for Your Business (Syracuse) http://www.HurstAssociates.com/Blogging_Workshop.htm
This workshop was born out of a conversation with another blogger from Rochester who encouraged me to do a public workshop on blogging. I maintain three blogs (yes...this one and two others -- here & here) and she felt that I had knowledge that business people needed on the subject.Oct. 14: Digitization Discussion Series: Creating a Successful Digital Imaging Project (Buffalo) http://www.wnylrc.org/calendar/current.htm#Oct14
I'm facilitating a series of discussions as part of the planning project for the Western NY Library Resources Council. Carole Ann Fabian, director of the Educational Technologies Center for the University of Buffalo, will be joining me for this first one to talk about the steps and mindset needed to create successful digital imaging projects.Oct. 28: Presentation entitled "Born Digital" at the New York Library Association annual conference (Buffalo) http://www.nyla.org
I spoke at NYLA two years ago in a session about digitizing special collections. My presentation was on deed of gift forms and was quite enjoyable and informative because institutions don't often think of how the forms (or lack thereof) can impact a digitization project.BTW looks like the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University is having an alumni reception on Oct. 27 at NYLA. Since I'm adjunct faculty, I'll be there too.
This presentation on materials that are born digital will also be an eye-opener. Born digital is normal, yet ensuring that those materials last is not.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
We tend to forget how much has changed in less than 100 years here in the U.S. These pictures are good reminders. It is a nice collection to wander through and get lost in...
Here's the process: I review law journals and law reviews (and a great many other legal periodicals) as they are received in the library. I examine the table of contents of all of these publications and identify any article concerning U.S. copyright law. I then input the basic bibliographic information about each article into this database, and scan the first page of the article. The availability of the first page of the article should better enable readers to know if they are interested in reading the whole article.
There is also an RSS feed of the site available at http://web.austin.utexas.edu/law_library/copyright/rss.cfm.
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The Joint Information Systems Committee of the UK (JISC) has recently released two briefing papers on digital repositories, written by Helen Hayes. These are concise introductions to digital repositories, designed to provide background information to various constituencies. They can provide good models for educational institutions in other countries. One paper is aimed at the higher education community and one is for the further education community.
The papers are now available in Word or PDF format at:
Presentations and a summary report are now available at:
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
So...what does this mean to you?
As you build new services or eliminate old ones, consider how you might communicate with your users and gather their input. Could you use a blog to facilitate the dialogue or use e-mail discussion lists? If you didn't want to engage all of you users, could use at least engage your power users or major stakeholders? When considering a digitization project, could a blog be used to tell your users what your doing (e.g., how you are selecting materials) and garner their comments and reactions? [Imagine really lifting the veil on the section criteria and getting good feedback on what people want?!]
Remember that blogs and discussion lists can come and go. Consider building temporary ones when you need to transmit information or build discussion.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY: STEWARDSHIP OF DIGITAL ASSETS -- A pre-conference to the Museum Computer Network's 2005 Conference, November 1-2, 2005, The Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
WHAT IS PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY?
This conference, taught by leading experts in digital preservation, addresses the question of managing and preserving digital assets over the long term. Institutions are rapidly acquiring collections of digitized or born-digital resources. Without intervention, these materials will not survive even a single human career. Participants will learn about evolving best practices for digital preservation. This conference will help institutions take the next steps to preserve their investment and create a framework for ensuring sustainable collections. The conference is co-sponsored by the Museum Computer Network (MCN) as a pre-conference to MCN 's 2005 Conference, "Digits Fugit! Preserving Knowledge into the Future."
CONFERENCE TOPICS INCLUDE:
- Mandates for Digital Preservation
- Internal Cooperation and External Consortia Obsolescence and Risk
- Technology: Storage and Backup
- Financing Digital Preservation
- Legal, Economic, and Moral Obligations
- Sustaining Digital Preservation
Museum professionals, librarians, archivists, information technology professionals, and administrators responsible for managing and preserving digital resources.
WHAT DOES THE NEDCC CONFERENCE COST? $285.
To encourage diverse participation in the Persistence of Memory conference, NEDCC is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships to cover the cost of registration. In awarding the scholarships, particular attention will be given to diverse professionals, applicants from under-funded organizations, and applicants from organizations that serve under-represented communities and who show justifiable need for the conference.
WHEN IS THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE? Friday, October 21, 2005
For conference information, visit www.nedcc.org.
For questions, contact Ginny Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Digital technology has also made it possible to more easily share historical collections with the public. The Quincy library has digitized documents and photographs of its granite industry, shipyard, and historic buildings. Prior to the digitization, many of the images were on fragile glass negatives and had a complicated indexing system that needed to be decoded by staff members to find them, [Ann] McLaughlin [director of Quincy's Thomas Crane Library] said.In a time when many libraries are having a hard time financially, it's wonderful to see articles like this. I'm especially pleased that it mentions digitized materials.
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You may need to register (free) to read the entire article.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I’m very pleased that Professor Kenneth Crews from IUPUI will be coming to Buffalo on Nov. 4 to do a workshop entitled “Copyright Law and the Digital Library: Trends, Fair Use and New Possibilities.” The agenda is a full one:
- 9:00 to 10:45 AM Opening Session: "Copyright and Digitization: Trends, Developments, and Future Directions"A far-reaching discussion of copyright issues, exploring an area of the law that is increasingly shaping our decisions about the deployment of new technologies and our pursuit of librarianship and research innovations. Bring your questions and join in an overview of key principles and dynamic developments as technology, creative scholarship, and the law struggle to co-exist.
- 11:00 to noon "The Meaning and Perplexity of Fair Use for Librarianship and Research" Fair use is not what you probably think, yet it likely remains one of the most important aspects of copyright law for libraries and for your innovative projects.
- 1:15 to 2:15 PM "Library Copying: Preservation and Interlibrary Loans" Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act applies to libraries, and it specifically allows libraries to make copies for preservation project, ILL, and more. It can also apply to digital copies, in addition to the old reliable photocopying. But the law has its limits. Learn the quirks of Section 108 and how to make it work to your advantage!
- 2:30 to 3:30 PM "Putting it on the Web: Websites, Reserves, and Distance Education" New statutes and old conundrums converge as we use the Internet to make library materials available for classroom readings, distance education, and simply creating nifty websites. We need to struggle with a blend of fair use, Section 108, and the new thing from Congress called the "TEACH Act." How do we choose the right avenue in order to get our good work accomplished?
- 3:30 to 4:00 PM "Questions?"
(Personally, I think his workshop is one that is worth driving across the state to participate in.)
Next May, Oya Rieger and Marty Kurth from Cornell will be doing a half-day workshop on “Digital Projects by the Numbers: Business Planning for Creating Digital Collections”. Oya has much experience under her belt and so this will be a good workshop for learning from some who has “been there and done that.”
So take a look at the calendar…you may well find a workshop of interest to you AND one that is worth traveling to Buffalo to attend.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
- Background and Developments to Date
- How does Open Source Apply to Digital Curation?
- Open Source and Free Software In Action
- Quantitative Issues
The installment was published with a Creative Commons NonCommercial, ShareAlike license.
The DCC project has identified 45 installments which it will write over the course of the project. Once completed, these should be outstanding resources for projects to tap into.
Digital Imaging with JPEG2000 gives a simple overview of how JPEG2000 works. JPEG2000 is a lossless format with lots of features/flexibility built in. ksclarke wrote:
The take away point about JP2 is that it uses an arrangement of packets to allow much greater flexibility in how images are used. For instance, when a thumbnail is desired, an image processor only needs to select a small group of packets in the jp2 file to create the thumbnail (rather than having to access the whole image to generate a thumbnail).
The same is true for generating images of higher or lower quality (a lower quality version of the image is retrieved by accessing the right combination of packets).
It was interesting to read that libraries are migrating their images (even images in MrSid) to JPEG2000.
For those of you interested in JPEG2000 and its use in libraries, check out JPEG 2000 in Libraries and Archives. The group maintains a blog and discussion list.
Notes from the session on Greenstone were captured in two postings:
In addition, the handouts from the session are available here.
The Greenstone digital library software has been described as “a comprehensive, multilingual open-source system for constructing, presenting, and maintaining digital collections.” More than 5,000 copies of the software are downloaded each year. UNESCO distributes the software and provides training for it.
In talking to people in my region about digitization, I never hear people talk about Greenstone. It could be that organizations want a product that has clear product support behind it. There are people/consultants who support Greenstone, but that’s not the same as having a large organization (e.g., OCLC) providing product support. However, given that Greenstone is an open source product, what an organization would normally put into licensing fees could be used to customize Greenstone to truly fit its needs as well as training.
By the way, one of the presenters was Allison Zhang who now works for the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC). Allison used to work at the University of Rochester, and then followed her heart (and love of metadata) to work on Connecticut History Online where she authored their Cataloger’s Manual. That project used MARC and crosswalks that would translate records into Dublin Core. Now Allison is at WRLC. Allison has built up a wealth of knowledge about this area and had written articles on metadata as well as done a number of presentations. She’s a person to keep on your radar (in your sights) since she is clearly teaching others what she has learned.
Technorati tag: Greenstone
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Author, educator and copyright lawyer, Lesley Ellen Harris, is offering a variety of online courses on copyright and licensing this Fall through Copyrightlaws.com. Topics include Canadian, U.S. and international copyright law as 3 different primer courses, and the 3 advanced courses are on Digital Content Management, Managing Copyright Issues and Digital Licensing Agreements. Lesley will moderate closed discussion lists for the advanced courses. The courses range from 6 - 27 e-lessons, and from 3 - 9 weeks. See www.acteva.com/go/copyright for further information.
Many of these courses are also bring offered by associations for their members. However, you must be members of these associations to register with them: Palinet (www.palinet.org/learn); FLICC (http://www.loc.gov/flicc/ma/2005/ma0533.pdf); and SLA (http://www.sla.org/content/learn/clicku.cfm).
So now, any and all copyright holders -- both Google Print partners and non-partners -- can tell us which books they'd prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library. To allow plenty of time to review these new options, we won't scan any in-copyright books from now until this November.This will affect the materials being scanned at Harvard, Michigan and Stanford. Google is only being given public domain works from New York Public Library and Oxford University.
Google may have thought itself big enough to get the publishers to play its game, but that is not true. People are protective of their intellectual property (as is Google) . This option for publishers does put the onus in their hands, but it at least allows them to tell Google that what materials should not be digitized. Perhaps some publishers will even say that all of their materials should be excluded.
This remains a story that is very interesting to watch....
OCLC is pleased to announce that the Statewide Digitization Conference, made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will be held October 20-21, 2005 at the OCLC Headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.
This 1.5-day conference will bring together leaders of state and regional digitization collaboratives to address topics of interest and concern, including best practices in managing collaborative initiatives, metadata creation and quality assurance, OAI and interoperability, digital preservation initiatives, sustainability and business planning, and training.
Speakers will include representatives from collaborative digitization projects of varying sizes and types. The agenda combines plenary sessions with ample time for small group discussion on various topics, and will afford the opportunity for participants to share concerns, solutions, and approaches to issues that are inherent in collaborative projects.
The IMLS grant will cover hotel and conference site meal expenses for one leader of each statewide digitization collaborative. Invitations to these leaders will be issued via e-mail in late August. Additional representatives from the statewide projects are welcome to attend at their own cost.
Additional information on this conference will be distributed through the DigiStates listserv in late August, or you are welcome to contact Amy Lytle, OCLC Digital Collection Services, via e-mail at mailto:email@example.com or by phone at 800.848.5878 x 5212.
Grants & Education Coordinator
OCLC Digital Planning & Education Services
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
This will truly be an international conference, with one of the presenters talking about a project in South Africa.
Please note that the deadline for registration is September 17.
First DCC Digital Curation Manual Instalment Online
A key objective for the Digital Curation Centre (DCC)is the creation and maintenance of a world-class Digital Curation Manual. The DCC Digital Curation Manual is a community-driven resource - from the selection of instalment topics through to authorship and peer review. Individual instalments authored by leading experts in the field of digital curation will cover a range of issues relating to digital curation. The Digital Curation Manual is designed to assist data creators, curators and re-users to better understand the challenges they face and the roles they play in creating, managing and preserving their digital information over time. Each instalment will place the topic in the context of digital curation by providing an introduction to the subject, an explanation of terminology used, suggestions for best practice and by providing real-life examples of the topic in action. To ensure that the Digital Curation Manual is as current as possible, authors will be required to review and update their individual instalments on an annual basis reflecting any major developments.
To ensure that the highest possible quality is achieved, the DCC has assembled a peer review panel and an editorial board consisting of international experts in the field of digital curation to review each instalment that is produced for the Digital Curation Manual.
The first instalment of the DCC Digital Curation Manual is now available for download at http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resource/curation-manual/chapters/open-source/. Entitled "Open Source for Digital Curation" and written by DCC Advisory Services Manager Andrew McHugh this aims to:
- Describe a range of explicit digital curation application areas for open source;
- Offer some examples of existing uses of open source software;
- Highlight a selection of open source applications of interest to digital creators, curators and re-users;
- Deliver quantitative insights into the value of open source software;
- Offer guidelines for institutions planning to introduce these technologies.
Two more instalments, on Metadata and Curation of Dynamic Data, will be published within the next two months. Approximately 45 instalments have already been commissioned and these will be released throughout the duration of the DCC project.
Any suggestions may be sent to the Digital Curation Manual Editorial Board (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Educause reports is that:
The text cannot be transferred to any other computer, it cannot be printed in its entirety at one time, and it will only be available for five months...In addition, the book cannot be sold or returned.
I've used electronic copies of books when teaching distance students and they have appreciated not have to wait for a paper copy to arrive. However, it seems stupid that the person only has access to the book for five months! What if the person needs to take an incomplete in the class? What if the person wants to refer to the textbook later on?
We create digital objects to improve access. I think these bookstores and publishers will find that rather than improving access, they are creating a frustrating situation that only improves access for the near-term.
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The article in the Chronicle is only available to subscribers. However, you can find copies of the article through Google that are readily accessible. Just search on:
Digital-textbook pilot project begins this month in 10 college bookstores
Our dryer broke on Sunday, meaning that we could wash clothes but not dry them. Today the repairman came and fixed the dryer and also checked over the washer. I had flashbacks to a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode when Scotty (from the original series) is telling LaForge how a piece of equipment should be operated, rather than what's in the manual. Here was the repairman looking inside the washer, telling me how we used it (based on what he saw), then giving me tips on how we could do things better. (For example, how to bleach whites without inhibiting the detergent from doing its job. I never knew!)
Isn't it always the case that we learn best how to operate equipment from other operators or from those who repair the equipment. This is where the real tips and techniques come out. This, too, is where we learn how to handle error messages that seem to mystify.
Of course, what would make a great manual for any piece is to have it written by those who use the equipment, and include suggestions from those who repair it. (We know that doesn't always happen...it often seems like the manuals are written by harried engineers.)
And the tie-in with digitization? First, heaven forbid that your equipment should ever need repair, but if it does do take time to watch and talk to the technician who fixes it. Don't be afraid to ask questions. (We tend to leave repair people alone, but as I child I learned that someone was suppose to be there to watch and answer questions. It is also a good way of learning how to do some minor repairs or even keep the equipment clean.)
Second, if you write procedures for your staff on how to operate or maintain equipment, really write what should be done (and when) and don't necessarily repeat that manufacturer's party-line. Be sure to include helpful hints. For example, in grad school I worked in a copy center and the Kodak copier would overheat during heavy operations. Rather than letting it cool down (and get behind n our work), we found a way of running the copier with the cover over the guts of the operation totally open. That was in no one's operations manual and we never wrote it down, but it is the type of thing that needs to go into group's instruction book.
Finally, this also reminds me of my grandmother's cookbooks. She annotated her favorite recipes, adding and deleting ingredients and making other notes. Do the same thing with you equipment manuals. Okay...probably you're not going to cross things out, but make notes of things that you learn that are not documented. And if you don't write a separate manual for your staff on how things work, then be sure to make notes in the manuals. (Then make sure they can find the manuals!)
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Many projects begin with a great idea and some grant funding. However, even the most successful projects have trouble determining how to continue once grant funding ends. In order to sustain these valiant efforts, project managers need to plan for sustainability at the beginning of projects. Developing a business plan for sustainability will help "bridge the gap" from noble purpose to business case and help extends the life of the project.
Workshop participants will come away with an understanding of why business planning is a vital element of overall project plan development, the key elements to include in a business plan, how to create a business plan appropriate for their own institution and projects, and ways to identify "institutional champions" who constitute the target audience for the business plan.
The workshop will be held at OCLC Online Computer Library Center, in Dublin, Ohio.
Further details and registration information will be available on the SOA website soon http://www.ohioarchivists.org
Liz Bishoff, Special Assistant to Dean and Head of Office of Sponsored Programs, University of Colorado, Boulder. Liz has previously served as Vice President, OCLC Digital Collection Services and Executive Director of Collaborative Digitization Program and the Colorado Digitization
Program. Liz has spoken extensively on collaborative digitization projects and consulted with the state based organization in Alabama, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, and California on various aspects of their collaborative digitization initiatives. She co-authored Business Planning for Cultural Heritage Institutions with Nancy Allen, published in 2004 by the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Digital Projects Specialist
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
6565 Frantz Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017-3395
Toll free: 800-848-5878 ext. 6160
Monday, August 08, 2005
I'm glad to see this blog focused on this specific area. Gilad, thanks!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
By thw way, there are many white papers on the Archive Builders web site available for people to download.
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Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2006: Opening Information Horizons
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries JCDL is a major international forum focusing on digital libraries and associated technical, practical, and social issues. The theme of JCDL 2006, "Opening Information Horizons," encompasses the many meanings of the term "digital libraries," including (but not limited to) new forms of information institutions; operational information systems with all manner of digital content; new means of selecting, collecting, organizing, and distributing digital content; digital preservation and archiving; and theoretical models of information media, including document genres and electronic publishing.
Conference Date: 11-15 June 2006
Place: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA
Nigeria is a country that has been rocked with violence over the years and is transitioning from military rule to a civilian government. Rebuilding a country takes efforts in many areas. It is interesting to me to see the LBN rebuilt itself through staff training and a move to use more computer-based technologies. Let's hope that this is the start of great successes for them.
Technorati tag: Greenstone
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
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The University of Maryland Libraries is delighted to announce a digital library symposium (29 September 2005) entitled "The Library in Bits and Bytes", an official event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the University of Maryland, College Park, and pre-symposium workshops, "Introduction to XML and the TEI" (27-28 September) and "Demystifying EAD" (28 September).
This one-day symposium will reflect on how library practice has embraced and is challenged by digital library initiatives. Plenary speakers are:
- Deanna Marcum (Associate Librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress) speaking on "Creating an Organizational Culture to Support Digital Library Initiatives"
- Anne Kenney (Associate University Librarian, Cornell University Library) on "Five Organizational Stages of Digital Preservation"
- Paul Conway (Director, Information Technology Services, Duke University Libraries) on "Why Is IT So Hard to Do?"
- G. Sayeed Choudhury (Hodson Director of the Digital Knowledge Center, Johns Hopkins University) on "The Cutting Edge: The Next Generation DigitalLibrary"
Pre-symposium workshops (which may be registered for independently) are a two-day hands-on "Introduction to XML and the Text Encoding Initiative" (27-28 September) and a one-day (28 September) introduction to Encoded Archival Description entitled "Demystifying EAD".
Full symposium and workshop details are available at
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
After working on several digitization projects, I began working with consortia on helping them plan for digitization within their membership. I'm now working with the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC), located in Buffalo, and we're into month #5 of a two-year project. (A brief overview article about the project is available here.) Today I attended a meeting for one of the Council's committees, and talked to them about the project and its goals. One of the questions I addressed is whether this project is different from other digitization planning projects. This question came up weeks ago in a meeting of the committee that is overseeing the planning project. Of course, the real questions were:
- Are we different?
- Will our plan be different?
- Will we succeed in ways that others have not?
Background: Although the NYS Library is not funding digitization efforts, it does want the regional library councils to plan for digitization and to lay the groundwork for future activity. At this point, all of the councils have done work on a plan or on some local digitization efforts (see CDLC's plan, pp. 6 - 7 for details). Each has taken a different tact, with Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC) launching a successful regional digitization project called Hudson Valley Heritage.
The Wall: In some regions, the activities around creating the plan -- which included training activities -- were well received, but led to people hitting "the wall." What's the wall? The wall is that point when people have had enough training to understand all of the aspects of digitization and are ready to embark on a project; however, rather than beginning a project, these people (organizations) realize that they now know enough to know that they cannot carry out a digitization project. They have neither the time, people, or money for such an endeavor. They are thankfully for the training and appreciative of the knowledge. They can see the benefit that digitization would provide, but "the wall" prevents them from proceeding.
I remember doing a series of facilitated discussions for the Central NY Library Resources Council on digitization and the impact of the wall. Well...First...there were walls disappearing. One group didn't see the potential in their collection, but everyone else did. We brainstormed ideas and got them excited about what their collection meant and what they could do. This college library launched a short demonstration project to show its alumnae what it wanted to do, in hopes that the alumnae would fund the effort, but the funding did not come. (I don't know where this potential project stands at this point. Wells College is transitioning from a women's college to being co-ed. However, the fact that they have the archives of Frances Folsom Cleveland, who married President Grover Cleveland while he was in the White House, has not changed.)
Then there were the walls that appeared. Getting the full picture (understanding) of what a digitization project entails takes a long while. At first, everyone thinks its wonderful and do-able, then reality strikes. There are lots of things to do. Can the institutions budget the time, people and money to make it happen? Often the answer is "no." It is an answer born out of the knowledge of the "way things are" in their institutions.
In institutions that have pushed forward and done digitization projects (or created ongoing digitization programs), the is a person who has pushed aside the obstacles and found ways of getting the resources needed. Creativity perhaps enters the picture in how they seek funding (or from whom) or in the partnerships they form. They push ahead, hoping that others will follow.
Thinking about WNYLRC: So is WNYLRC different? Will their members avoid the wall? Yes, I believe they will. Why?
- First, because the council had a foray into digitization several years ago, so this is not its first efforts. It gained wisdom from that work.
- Second, the planning project is looking at hardware (possible consortial purchasing agreements?) and software (image management/federated search) that should provide momentum.
- Third, they are thinking about the resources in the region and whether additional resources will be needed to help organizations start (and complete) digital imaging projects.
In other words, they are creating momentum that should stop the wall from forming.
However, the region is having financial problems and public libraries are on the verge of closing. (see this previous blog posting) I do worry that this will adversely impact the work we're doing, although my hope is that it will force innovation (and isn't creating digital resources innovative?). Yes, it is tough to sell creating digital images as the thing to do when money is disappearing before your eyes, but we will try.
Reflecting will continue: I am beginning to note ideas for the plan itself. There is much more information to receive from WNYLRC's members and we'll be doing a survey in September as a way of getting broader input. And so as this project continues, so will my reflecting. I hope the reflecting will allow me to see potential walls before they form and find ways of navigating people around them.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Thanks Mark for the heads up on this!