Volume 25, Number 2, 2003

Central New York Libraries Complete Regional Digitization Plan

by Jeannette Smithee, Central New York Library Resources Council

The Central New York Library Resources Council (CLRC) announces the publication of the CLRC Regional Digitization Plan. A "Preparing Central New York History for the Future" project produced the CLRC Regional Digitization Plan. The project involved participants from many cultural heritage organizations in the Central New York region (Onondaga, Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties). They explored issues related to creating and using digital collections of historical resources.

Cultural heritage organizations include museums, libraries, historical associations and societies, archives and other established not-for-profit organizations that share responsibilities for preserving, organizing, and making accessible the resources that reflect the cultural and historical memory of our society. Educators, students, historians, genealogists, and others interested in the history and culture of Central New York are interested in the images, documents, collections, and information available through the region's cultural heritage organizations.

The regional plan outlines roles for the libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations and for the Central New York Library Resources Council in setting priorities, selecting materials, and providing digital access to regionally significant items. The plan notes that state and national agencies will also have a role in supporting digital collections and facilitating gateways to access the collections.

The Central New York Library Resources Council has a longstanding tradition of supporting resource sharing to bridge gaps in access to information. This plan seeks to continue and extend the CLRC philosophy of resource sharing to include digitization of significant resources held within the region.

The primary goal for digitization projects sponsored by CLRC is enhanced access for the people of the region to digital resources created from collections in Central New York's libraries, archives and museums. The Digitization Plan provides a framework for the support of digitization activities that yield benefits to the public and relates this framework to other CLRC initiatives. The Plan describes how CLRC will work with libraries and other cultural heritage organizations to develop digital collections using scalable techniques of providing access that can grow as collections are added.

The CLRC Regional Digitization Plan is the result of the year-long "Preparing Central New York History for the Future" project. It was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant awarded through the New York State Library from the Institute of Library and Museum Services. Betsy Sywetz, of Sywetz Associates directed the grant project, which sponsored workshops and discussion groups to clarify issues for those interested in digitization. A project advisory committee provided support and guidance for the development of the regional plan.

A limited number of print copies of the plan are available from the CLRC Council office, 6493 Ridings Road, Syracuse NY 13216. The complete plan, as well as documents, workshop handouts and resources related to the "Preparing Central New York History for the Future" project are listed at http://clrc.org/lstadigital/digoutline.shtml. For further information, please contact: Jeannette Smithee, Associate Director, CLRC, by phone at (315) 446-5446.