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Collection building and management

Creating and organizing collections

CONTENTdm simplifies the process of creating and organizing digital collections. Each user has personal project space within the CONTENTdm Project Client on their desktop. Additionally, CONTENTdm supports shared projects by enabling multiple users to access imported items and metadata for shared collection development. Once image acquisition and metadata entry are complete within a project, the items are uploaded to a centralized pending queue for final review or editing by a collection administrator before being added to the collection.

Inputting data and media

Items can be added to CONTENTdm singly or in batches. CONTENTdm’s batch processes and tools streamline your work, making it easy to add and process thousands of digital items at once. Create metadata templates to speed and standardize the entry of descriptive, technical and administrative metadata.

Use built-in editing tools and controlled vocabularies to aid in cataloging, or make global changes to metadata within live collections. Additionally, add digital items to CONTENTdm collections using the Connexion digital import.

CONTENTdm also provides a range of options for working with high resolution JPEG or TIFF files, from automatically creating lower resolution display copies that enable modifications to image quality and legibility, to using custom display copies you create.

Tab-delimited text import enables easy import of metadata into CONTENTdm from existing tools such as Microsoft Access and Excel. You also can batch import lengthy text files from OCR or transcripts into metadata fields to enable full-text searching of documents. Or, use the OCR Extension to generate OCR during the import process. Other batch processes allow you to make global changes to collections or the database.

Maximize Web visibility of your primary source materials via WorldCat

The WorldCat Digital Collection Gateway provides you with a self-service tool for uploading the metadata of your unique digital content to WorldCat—the premier database of library materials. The Gateway provides a self-service tool with a Web-based interface that allows you to choose when to upload your metadata and how your records will appear. A preview of your metadata in a display enables you to select the right content and appearance for your library's digital collections. Ready mapping of Dublin Core to MARC fields enables your library to select the right content and appearance for your digital collections.

Project template transfer

When projects require similar settings, such as image rights or administrative metadata, the project settings can be transferred easily between workstations or copied within the same workstation. This saves setup time and eases collaboration between organizations sharing the same CONTENTdm server since project settings can be shared with colleagues. Or, share projects to enable multiple users to access imported items and metadata for shared collection development.

Controlled vocabulary

CONTENTdm offers controlled vocabulary for consistent, uniform metadata entry. The software includes ten integrated thesauri from OCLC Terminologies Service:

  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) ®
  • Canadian Subject Headings (CSH)
  • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative Type Vocabulary
  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) ®
  • Guidelines On Subject Access To Individual Works Of Fiction, Drama, Etc., 2nd ed., form and genre
  • Māori Subject Headings / Ngā Ūpoko Tukutuku
  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) 2010
  • Newspaper Genre List
  • Thesaurus for Graphic Materials
  • Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) ®

Additionally, you can import or develop your own controlled vocabulary. The CONTENTdm controlled vocabulary feature permits review of vocabulary additions before they are accepted and provides support for Dublin Core Qualifiers.

Complex media types

CONTENTdm handles audio, video, PDFs, EAD Finding Aids, image files and more. Streaming media server support provides efficient delivery of streamed items.

CONTENTdm also enables you to define items that consist of multiple views so search results will retrieve entire entities or Compound Objects, rather than individual elements. Add documents and monographs, or multi-sided objects such as postcards or sculptures. CONTENTdm also provides editing options for making changes to Compound Objects even after they have been added to collections.

To see how CONTENTdm handles specific media types, explore the collections created by CONTENTdm users.

Image rights

CONTENTdm’s Image Rights tools provide flexible options for identifying ownership of items in your collections. Options include an easily configured band of color and text, a color brand or a grayscale watermark. Each can be customized to meet your needs. When items in collections are viewed by end users, the band, brand or watermark with ownership or copyright information will be clearly displayed.


With the CONTENTdm Reports Module, you can learn how your collections are used and accessed. CONTENTdm provides reports on the following data:

  • Views by collection and item
  • Top searches with CONTENTdm
  • Web statistics by month, day, hour
  • Top URLs, errors, referring sites, IP addresses, authenticated users, browsers and countries

Managing collections

Collection and system administrators can perform needed tasks easily with CONTENTdm. It enables complete database administration through a simple Web interface, allowing designated users to edit live collections, perform global search and replace operations, create a new collection and customize collection queries. There also are a variety of choices to protect copyrighted or other restricted materials with CONTENTdm’s security options.

Additionally, CONTENTdm supports a number of common data standards and a variety of data types and has a several options for data import and export including:

  • Unicode—CONTENTdm fully supports Unicode, an industry standard that allows computers to represent and manipulate text in most of the world's non-Western languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek and Hebrew, among others.
  • XML—XML is used for all internal metadata and structure descriptions within CONTENTdm. CONTENTdm also offers custom XML export of metadata that supports user-defined fields and formats for greater compatibility with local catalog systems and other applications.
  • Dublin and VRA Cores—You can use Dublin Core or VRA (the Visual Resource Association) Core to describe media and search across collections. CONTENTdm provides default metadata templates specified by the Dublin and VRA Cores. Additionally, metadata fields within CONTENTdm are fully configurable to provide maximum flexibility and support for custom metadata schemas.
  • Null data types—For items that are not yet digitized, null data type support for metadata-only records allows you to add metadata singly or in batches.
  • Support of audio, video and streaming media—URL support allows lengthy audio and video sequences stored on your streaming media server to be accessed through CONTENTdm, providing efficient and reliable delivery over the Internet. Furthermore, CONTENTdm supports the mapping of streamed files to streaming media servers, providing efficient delivery of streamed files while maintaining database management within CONTENTdm.
  • METS/ALTO—CONTENTdm supports emerging newspaper digitization specifications—including the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) format, CCS format, iArchives format and METS/ALTO format for when newspaper digitization projects are outsourced to a qualified partner.
  • Exporting data—To enable you to work with metadata in other programs, CONTENTdm supports export of metadata descriptions using XML. You can define specific fields to be exported and designate the format for each exported field, including repeating fields and customization of XML tag names. This enables the selection of specific formats for more compatibility with local catalog systems.
  • Metadata harvesting—CONTENTdm is also fully compliant with OAI-PMH v2. OAI, or Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, is a standard for metadata harvesting. If you wish to make your metadata available for harvesting, CONTENTdm supports collection-level OAI harvesting. Support for OAI flow control provides more reliable network transmission for harvesting especially large collections.

If you’re ready to explore CONTENTdm for yourself, simply request an evaluation to begin your free trial.

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