CIL 2010: Digitization Practices

Speakers: Deborah E. B Keller, Jody L. DeRidder, Amy Buckland, & Louise O’Neill

[I arrived late due to slow lunch service, so I missed the first half of this presentation.]

Louise O’Neill spoke about digitization at McGill University (Montreal, QC). The goal of the program is to make rare and unique items available to everyone and to the students & faculty of the university. They want to make the items both discoverable and deliverable through their catalog(ue).

They’re also making material available in hardcopy (Espresso Book Machine and/or OCR PDF), mainly public domain items or those with permission; thus making them available to the masses without damaging the originals. Items are selected by anticipated demand and uniqueness, and also priority is placed on items that will be used directly in research and instruction.

Amy Buckland shared some examples of collections/projects. They just bought a 3-D scanner to digitize realia, like their Olympic torch collection. All physical exhibits are digitized and made available online for those who may not be able to visit the library. They also put the digitized items in their Second Life locations as appropriate.

Their biggest challenge is copyright. The technical issues are what you may expect, but copyright is the biggest barrier they have to getting valuable research items off the dusty shelves and into spaces where they can and will be used.

Ithaka’s What to Withdraw tool

Have you seen the tool that Ithaka developed to determine what print scholarly journals you could withdraw (discard/store) that are already in your digital collections? It’s pretty nifty for a spreadsheet. About 10-15 minutes of playing with it and a list of our print holdings resulted in giving me a list of around 200 or so actionable titles in our collection, which I passed on to our subject liaison librarians.

The guys who designed it are giving some webinar sessions, and I just attended one. Here are my notes, for what it’s worth. I suggest you participate in a webinar if you’re interested in it. The next one is tomorrow and there’s one on February 10th as well.


Background

  • They have an organizational commitment to preservation: JSTOR, Portico, and Ithaka S+R
  • Libraries are under pressure to both decrease their print collections and to maintain some print copies for the library community as a whole
  • Individual libraries are often unable to identify materials that are sufficiently well-preserved elsewhere
  • The What to Withdraw framework is for general collections of scholarly journals, not monographs, rare books, newspapers, etc.
  • The report/framework is not meant to replace the local decision-making process

What to Withdraw Framework

  • Why do we need to preserve the print materials once we have a digital version?
    • Fix errors in the digital versions
    • Replace poor quality scans or formats
    • Inadequate preservation of the digital content
    • Unreliable access to the digital content
    • Also, local politics or research needs might require access to or preservation of the print
  • Once they developed the rationales, they created specific preservation goals for each category of preservation and then determined the level of preservation needed for each goal.
    • Importance of images in journals (the digitization standards for text is not the same as for images, particularly color images)
    • Quality of the digitization process
    • Ongoing quality assurance processes to fix errors
    • Reliability of digital access (business model, terms & conditions)
    • Digital preservation
  • Commissioned Candace Yano (operations researcher at UC Berkeley) to develop a model for copies needed to meet preservation goals, with the annual loss rate of 0.1% for a dark archive.
    • As a result, they found they needed only two copies to have a >99% confidence than they will still have remaining copies left in twenty years.
    • As a community, this means we need to be retaining at least two copies, if not more.

Decision-Support Tool (proof of concept)

  • JSTOR is an easy first step because many libraries have this resource and many own print copies of the titles in the collections and Harvard & UC already have dim/dark archives of JSTOR titles
  • The tool provides libraries information to identify titles held by Harvard & UC libraries which also have relatively few images

Future Plans

  • Would like to apply the tool to other digital collections and dark/dim archives, and they are looking for partners in this
  • Would also like to incorporate information from other JSTOR repositories (such as Orbis-Cascade)

Learning 2009: Image Resources for Teaching

Presenters: Jeannine Keefer and Crista LaPrade

Keefer provided the attendees with a brief overview of licensed images. Specifically, ArtStor and why it would be used in the classroom (mainly art historians). There are also many free or Creative Commons licensed resources for images:

  • Flickr – range from amateur to professional, free to fully copyrighted
  • Picasa – similar to Flickr, but less communal
  • Google Images – search across the web
  • Google Earth – geotagged photos for specific locations
  • Creative Commons – search across several sites
  • MorgueFile – stock photography
  • OpenPhoto – stock photography
  • TinEye – reverse image search engine for finding more like the one you have
  • Cooliris – browser plugin for quickly flipping through images on various sites
  • Social networks like Facebook & MySpace

LaPrade and Boatwright Library’s Digital Production Services does all of the digitization and scanning for the library as well as scanning for faculty who need to convert analog images to digital for non-art classroom purposes. Non-presentation uses for this service (ideas beyond PowerPoint) include creating reference posters for students and images supplementing faculty publications (within copyright). Unfortunately, faculty will have to find their own storage (DVDs, flash drives, etc.) and delivery options, as DPS currently does not have a server for storage and delivery.

There are many resources you could use to share images in the classroom, including Blackboard and ArtStor, but also free image storage/sharing resources or your own web pages or blog. However, there are several factors to consider, since these can also be tools for managing the images: purpose, platform, ownership, collection size, image manipulation, metadata, budget, tech support, data integrity, file types, and presentation tool. Some possible solutions include Adobe Bridge (with the full version of Photoshop), Extensis Portfolio, Flickr, and Picasa.

(Side note: I think that many of the folks in the room were expecting to have a discussion of how faculty are actually using images in their teaching, and perhaps less about the tools that can be used to do so.)