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Musings of a librarian, former archivist, musician, bibliophile, and tech-obsessed.

Entries in Digital Collections (13)


The most exciting Monday in a while!

If you follow me on twitter, you know I was tweeting the ARSC conference from Wednesday to Saturday. I spent part of last night and this morning following new people on twitter, and then came upon a message saying "Congrats" with a link from Ars Technica. It posted Sunday evening, after I had signed off from the digital world to decompress after a long week. I knew this article was coming, but I didn't know when.

I feel honored that I was asked for this interview, out of my many qualified colleagues, and I thank Chris from Ars Technica for taking the time over two months, and especially for getting the technical parts so perfectly! That's not always easy in our field! We may be doing a follow-up article on some of the specific technologies in digital libraries and archives once things calm down a bit (I need to catch up on real work after being out for about a week). If there is a follow-up, I'll post it when I can!


So you're setting up a centralized digitization program...

I've been neglecting my duty of sharing my experiences over the last several months. Part of that is because I've been so busy adjusting to a new job and attending conferences (Computers and Libraries, MARAC in Cape May, NJ, and soon ARSC), but I've also been doing things in my non-librarian life, such as joining a new orchestra and getting more involved in the DC Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity.

I also haven't done that much of general interest at work yet. I've been preoccupied with reading manuals, guidelines, and policies that have been created since the initiation of a digital collections program in the UMD Libraries, creating a budget for a new unit, researching new equipment for the expanded conversion and reformatting services, and managing a large-scale digitization project with end-of-year funds. Yesterday, I completed the first 64 pages of an analysis of digital conversion and reformatting across the Libraries, and a plan for the new Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting Unit at UMD Libraries. I have to add several sections to the document, yet, and hold additional one-on-one interviews with my initial 23 stakeholders, but the initial survey that I created provided me with enough information to draft this much. I've also been working to update audiovisual digitization standards that haven't been done in about 5 years, or so. Thanks to some conversations with some great people in the area, I've also been able to add some information and find out about some very new resources created by FADGI and NDIIPP; my lunch and conversation with Jimi Jones was particularly helpful!

I do hope to work with the Libraries and have our new and revised guidelines posted online, available to the public as soon as they are completed and approved. So far, I've had a very productive first three months!



As part of my work on the Digital Practices Committee, I have been researching several digital collection platforms to replace Greenstone as our viewer platform which sits over DSpace. Our group is jointly pursuing the initiative to create a better digital collections experience. At out meeting last week, we agreed that we would each pick one platform out of the possible platforms, and analyze the functionalities of the platform. I got VuDL, which was engineered by the Villanova Digital Library.

Doing some initial analyzing, it just looks amazing! The GUI is just phenomenal!

I do know that VuDL can also work as a back end (instead of DSpace or Fedora), but should work with them, as well. My biggest concern right now is trying to figure out if all of the amazing features I like are part of VuDL's structure, or if they are eXist and Oberon, which power VuDL.

I am also skeptical about VuDL's audiovisual capabilities. They say they can ingest the files, but according to the presentations online and the Google Group, they are still working on a plug-in for streaming files. However, the document and photo viewing system is very impressive. Its layout is similar to that of a pdf, where you can scroll through pages on a separate sidebar. Tabs separate the items in a document from the transcription files and metadata.

I'm also unsure of the metadata. The site says the are METS compliant, but there are other plug-ins being created. However, the metadata that appears in the upload and user views appears to be Dublin Core, though not qualified.

I have yet to further explore the system. I need to experiment with the live demo, and see if I can download it to my Mac (either at work or at home) to see if it is really as flexible as it seems. I still have to compare a few more capabilities to our committee's functionalities list, and look forward to doing more over the next three weeks before our next meeting!


Amazing Digital Archives

One of the tasks the Digital Practices Committee has been asked to do is to examine platforms for our digital collections. We currently use Dublin Core in DSpace, and would like to keep that way for now to prevent additional migration issues, and use either Greenstone or Omeka as a front end. The problem is that we are no longer satisfied with the capabilities or user interaction of either.

The most recent platform I've discovered us extremely impressive. It's VuDL and was created by Villanova. The user view front page is extremely clean, and it provides a browse all collections function, as well as searching across collections, a function we currently do not have in either of our current platform. The design is very clean, and easy to interact with. The only downside for us is that it is based on a METS/XML platform and we're still using DC.

This will give us plenty to consider going forward with our task.


Re-learning Omeka

Last Thursday, I was part of a group of librarians and archivists who attended a short training session on Omeka. While I attended a session nearly two years ago, I actually had not done anything in Omeka myself. Up to this point, I have only been working with our library IT staff who have been actually working in Omeka. CUA is exploring this as a presentation tool for our digital collections and exhibits.

From the listservs this weekend, I just found another example of a great digital collection using Omeka! UC Santa Barbara just announced the release of their new digital collection interface, clearly built using Omeka. They created the digital collection to make some of their hidden items more readily accessible, including: historic and artistic photographs, poster prints, music scores, audio recordings, videos, and picture discs.

It's a great collection with a friendly interface! Check it out!