A scalable guide to getting started with digital collections

CHICAGO — Small or medium-sized libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies face a unique set of challenges in regards to digital collections. They may have been unable to jump on the digitization bandwagon at its beginning due to competing priorities or lack of resources, and may now be struggling to get a digitization program in place to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their own users.  The good news is that digital projects can scale down to fit the size of any organization. Providing an entry point for librarians, archivists, and curators who are new to digitization, Jane D. Monson’s “Getting Started with Digital Collections: Scaling to Fit Your Organization,” published by ALA Editions, shows how even smaller institutions can successfully endeavor to make their content digitally accessible. Clearing aside the jargon and acronyms to hone in on the practicals, this book will help readers get a digitization program off the ground, offering guidance on:

  • how to efficiently harness existing workflows, especially in departments seeing a decline in workload;
  • the pros and cons of the two common service models for state and regional digital repositories;
  • how to evaluate and choose among the digital asset management systems, comparing four proprietary and six open source systems;
  • hardware options for image capture;
  • choices in metadata models MODS, VRA Core, Dublin Core Element Set, and EAD;
  • understanding the characteristics of various file formats and using them effectively to create master and derivative files;
  • bitstream copying, data redundancy and other strategies to safeguard digital files against media degradation and technological obsolescence; and
  • Section 108 copyright exemptions for cultural heritage institutions.

Monson is currently digital initiatives librarian at the University of Northern Colorado. Previously, she was digital projects librarian at Truman State University in Missouri. She edited “Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide.” She is reviews editor for the Journal of Web Librarianship and serves on the Resources for College Libraries Editorial Board.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or editionsmarketing@ala.org.

Rob Christopher
Marketing Coordinator
Getting Started with Digital Collections: Scaling to Fit Your Organization
rchristopher@ala.org
ALA Publishing
(312) 280-5052
American Library Association