Digitization matters: Breaking through the barriers—scaling up digitization of special collections

August 29, 2007
Ruggles Hall, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL

This event was co-sponsored by RLG Programs, the Society of American Archivists, and the Newberry Library

Over 200 professionals responsible for special collections attended this one-day event, shaped to push the envelope on increasing the scale of digitization of special collections.

As a community, we have spent decades painstakingly pursuing the highest quality in our digitization of primary resources. Meanwhile, book collections are literally flying off the shelves and finding their way to users. In a world where it is increasingly felt that if it's not on the 'net it doesn't exist, we need to make sure that our users are exposed to the wealth of information in special collections.

Listen in (via the MP3 files) on the discussions as we tempered our historical emphasis on quality with a recognition of the need for quantity. A variety of speakers offered provocative ideas; the audience enthusiastically discussed them and surfaced several that are implementable and identified others that might benefit from further investigation.

What's cutting edge today may well be considered mainstream tomorrow. Together, let's try to direct that flow, rather than being left high and dry.

The essay, Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get Into the Flow, summarizes the outcomes of the day and is a call to action to ensure that special collections are in the flow.

8:45 a.m.

Welcome, introductions and overview of the day

David Spadafora, President, The Newberry Library mp3 (2.0MB)
Ricky Erway, RLG Programs mp3 (1.4MB)
Günter Waibel, RLG Programs mp3 (2.3MB)

9:00 a.m.

Forum opener

Susan M. Allen, Chief Librarian, Getty Research Institute

Talk: mp3 (10.0MB)
Q&A: mp3 (3.3MB)

9:45 a.m.

Session 1: Emphasis on access

Provocative pair:
Susan Chun, Cultural Heritage Consultant (talk presented by Michael Jenkins, Metropolitan Museum of Art) mp3 (6.2MB)
Sam Quigley, Vice President for Collections Management, Imaging & Information Technology / Museum CIO Art Institute of Chicago mp3 (5.9MB)

10:15 a.m.

Facilitated discussion

mp3 (8.4MB)

11:15 a.m.

Session 2: Selection decisions

Provocative pair:
Barbara Taranto, Director, Digital Library Program, New York Public Library mp3 (6.6MB)
Sharon Farb, Director, Digital Collections Services, UCLA mp3 (6.9MB)

11:45 a.m.

Facilitated discussion

mp3 (7.4MB)

1:45 p.m.

Session 3: Description

Provocative pair:
Bill Landis, Head of Arrangement and Description & Metadata Coordinator, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library mp3 (8.1MB)
James Eason, Principal Archivist for Pictorial Collections, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley mp3 (6.0MB)

2:15 p.m.

Facilitated discussion

mp3 (9.0MB)

2:45 p.m.

Session 4: Public/private partnerships

James Hastings, Director, Access Programs, NARA

Mr. Hastings was unable to attend the conference, so Ricky Erway, Program Officer, OCLC Programs and Research, spoke in his stead. mp3 (4.5MB)

Q&A: mp3 (3.8MB)

3:15 p.m.

Forum closing: Summary &discussion

Jennifer Schaffner, Program Officer, OCLC Programs and Research mp3 (2.2MB/ min.)

Closing discussion
Everybody mp3 (8.6MB)