Volume 29, Number 4, Winter 2007


INCOLSA's Digitization Pilot Project

Suzanne Braun-McGee and Becki Whitaker, INCOLSA

The Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority (INCOLSA) has partnered with four Indiana libraries in a pilot project to grow the Hoosier Heritage Digital Library: Indiana University Northwest, Lebanon Public Library, Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library, and St. Joseph County Public Library. INCOLSA staff working on this project include Suzanne Braun-McGee, Pat McWilliams, and Becki Whitaker, with technical support from INCOLSA's IT Department.

The purpose of this pilot project is to grow the Hoosier Heritage Digital Library, introduce the digitization process to libraries, and for INCOLSA to learn what kinds of help libraries may need. The libraries developed a project, selected items for digitization, scanned and assigned metadata to those images, and loaded them into a collection. Library staff assessed their need for training and additional support during the project.

The libraries were asked to digitize one hundred images from their respective collections. INCOLSA provided each library with CONTENTdm software for organizing and storing their digital images as well as access to INCOLSA'S CONTENTdm server. INCOLSA staff provided training on use of the software and project planning advice. In addition, each library was given a $2,500 allowance for purchasing equipment. The participating libraries were asked to follow the Indiana Digital Library/Indiana Memory proposed standards for digitization and metadata.

The content of each library's digital collection provides a rich addition to the Hoosier Heritage Digital Library. Indiana University Northwest selected 100 of the best black-and-white photographs from the former Inland Steel Company's vast photograph collection. The selections offer dramatic views of the construction and operation of the steel mill beginning from a hundred years ago into the mid-twentieth century. In addition, photographs of the early East Chicago and Indiana Harbor community are included.

The St. Joseph County Public Library selected text-based documents that pertained to St. Joseph County and its residents, were fragile, represented holdings unique to their library, and were out of copyright. Documents included: William Miller's Journal from South Bend, Indiana, to Sacramento City, California, 1849; Official Souvenir 9th Annual Convention [of Elks], South Bend, Indiana, 1910; and A Manhood Factory in the Center of South Bend's Greatest Industries, 1912.

The Lebanon Public Library selected photographs that depict Lebanon and Boone County, Indiana, from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. The photographs include businesses, commercial establishments and landmark buildings that once existed and many that still exist in Boone County. The content was selected due to the availability of photographs that were donated to the library from various sources, including private collections that once belonged to Ralph Stark, a Lebanon businessman, archivist, and honorary county historian.

The Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library selected photographs from the Indiana Boys' School photo collection. The Indiana Boys' School has a long history in Plainfield. The photographs in the collection show how the school operated when it was a reform school for young boys.

The project runs through December 31, 2007. Each library will submit a final report at the end of the project that includes a summary of the library's local costs to digitize its project, recommendations for how a shared digitization project could be expanded or sustained, and what additional support or services would be beneficial. INCOLSA plans to use this data to design a comprehensive digitization training and support program.

For more information, contact Becki Whitaker.