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Shifting Gears: Digitizing For Access Dan Santamaria Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University NARA Preservation Conference March 26, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Shifting Gears: Digitizing For Access Dan Santamaria Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University NARA Preservation Conference March 26, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shifting Gears: Digitizing For Access Dan Santamaria Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University NARA Preservation Conference March 26, 2009

2 Institutional Context  Department of Rare Books and Special Collections  Mudd Library University Archives Public Policy Papers  Manuscripts Division Literary collections Holdings in Western Americana, New Jerseyana, Colonial period, faculty papers, and many other subjects  Other Divisions Rare Books, Graphics Arts, Numismatics, etc. Other small collections outside of department

3 Institutional Context Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library Public Policy Papers Princeton University Archives Circa 35,000 linear feet in total Personal Papers, University Records, Photographs, Audiovisual, Beer Cans, Laundry Bags…

4 Institutional Context  Mudd Library Percentage of holdings described online: ~100%

5 Institutional Context  Mudd Library Percentage of holdings actually available online: ~.00011%

6 The Problem  User expectations Why is very little available online or in any electronic form? Why do they need to travel to the library to conduct research? Why can't we just them the photocopies they requested 4 weeks ago instead of making them pay for shipping?  Traditional responses to these questions not satisfying

7 Initial (and Current) Approach to Digitization  High level committee selects projects for digitization  Projects usually visually interesting or small, but high profile collections (Jefferson Letters)

8 Initial (and Current) Approach to Digitization  Project committee formed Decisions made about metadata, timelines  Other committees – steering committees, Metadata Committee – also have input.  Material sent to digital studio  Metadata completed after the fact

9 Initial (and Current) Approach to Digitization  Public Interface:  Item-level metadata (typically MODS or VRA) via native XML database

10 Initial (and Current) Approach to Digitization

11 Initial Approach  Advantages Provides a level of online access Supposedly great level of control over display, indexing, etc.

12 Initial Approach  Disadvantages Almost impossible to provide context to users Difficult and time consuming navigation for most types of archival research Lack of integration with other access tools

13 Initial Approach  Disadvantages Unsustainable Not suited to archival collections/record groups Unable to produce more than a few boutique projects

14 Interim Solutions  Linking from finding aids to digital library interface

15 Interim Solutions  Linking from finding aids to digital library interface

16 Interim Solutions  Linking from finding aids to digital library interface Advantages  Provides access – from our main access tools  Finding aids provide context

17 Interim Solutions  Linking from finding aids to digital library interface Disadvantages  Lack of integration: navigation takes you out of finding aid interface  Still dependent on boutique digitization projects

18 Interim Solutions  PDF linking The “Low Rent” Approach

19 Interim Solutions  PDF linking The “Low Rent” Approach

20 Interim Solutions  PDF linking The “Low Rent” Approach  Similar advantages and disadvantages to current digital library interface, except:  Much more scalable Freed from preservation quality requirements Patron request-based digitization

21 Conclusions  We need access systems that recognize that Archival descriptive records are dynamic  Can be expanded based on need or when additional resources become available Records can include data from a variety of sources  Staff, including public services, curators, users Are not limited to traditional archival outputs  Can also form the descriptive infrastructure for digitization/digital library program

22 Conclusions  What systems can do all of these things? None! But check out your iPhone or kindle

23 Archival access systems A few models:  Archives of American Art  Bentley Historical Library -- Polar Bear Expedition Project  Others?

24 Archival access systems  And a lesser known site: The Municipal Archives of Amsterdam  Patron request-based digitization model

25 Archival access systems  And a lesser known site: The Municipal Archives of Amsterdam  Patron-request-based digitization model

26 Conclusions  Need to advocate for integration with library technical infrastructure Support for special collections systems not traditionally seen as responsibility of library systems (both budget and staff)  Need to view the development of these access systems as a fundamental ethical responsibility Not special projects

27 Questions? 


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