Increase the Scale of Special Collections Digitization
Problem statement: While the mass digitization partnerships have focused largely on published works, our approaches to special collections will have to evolve ensure that special collections are not marginalized.
Impact: The collective collection is incomplete without the special collections held by libraries, archives, and museums. Amplifying the scale of digitization of primary source materials will serve researchers and underscore the unique value that each institution can contribute.
Through various communication channels, we are helping to raise awareness in the special collections community of the implications of digitizing the widely-held material and how this will impact special collections. The Shifting Gears essay suggests some ways in which we might change our thinking about digitization of special collections. We're now investigating specific ways to move that work forward.
In conjunction with staff from partner institutions, we're investigating the challenges in getting more of the vast amounts of unique content in special collections into the user flow, specifically aiming to enable more efficient digitization of special collections. One activity is to work with the community on digitization of special formats, including activities such as the following:
- A forum on digitization in archives and special collections was held on August 29, 2007, and we have begun to put this information into the hands of special collections curators and surface issues for further action. The essay Shifting Gears was an outcome of the forum.
- An investigation into format-specific scanning stations (for fairly uniform flat formats, such as slides, postcards, documents) and ways to get them into the community.
- Work on rights issues related to digitization of special collections continues in the current work agenda with the Introduce Balance in Rights Management project.
- Erway, Ricky. " Supply and Demand: Special Collections and Digitisation" (.pdf: 213K/13 pp.) LIBER Quarterly, The Journal of European Research Libraries. Volume 18, No. 3/4, 10 December 2008.
- RLG Webinar, " Out of the Stacks and onto the Desktop: Rethinking Assumptions about Access and Digitization" (.wmv: 73.5MB/54min.) 11 March 2008.
- Public/Private Mass Digitization Resources
- Erway, icky. Seeking Sustainability. (.pdf: 87K/15 pp.) 27 May 2008.
- Erway, Ricky, and Jennifer Schaffner. Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get Into the Flow (.pdf: 86K/ 11pp.) 19 October 2007.
- Moving Images: Digitization for Access Lot 49
- Digitization Matters: Breaking Through the Barriers—Scaling Up Digitization of Special Collections Workshop, 29 August 2007. Forum overview and mp3 files of presentations and discussions.
For more information
Senior Program Officer