Accessing digital images

January 25, 2011

Last Friday I was part of a panel at the Pioneer (public) Library System meeting. The purpose was to get the libraries interested/excited about providing digital content to their patrons.

Blanche Warner of the Naples Public Library told about a community funded project that digitized a local person’s love letters, sent home during the Civil War.  The project was outsourced. The search capability is good and the letters are a lot of fun to read. She also showed a clip of the local news doing a piece on the collection, great PR.

I talked about the things I wrote about in my last blog entry.

April Younglove and Debbie Emerson of the Rochester Regional Library Council (RRLC) talked about the FLAG Heritage project of putting local images on CONTENTdm. FLAG is in the process of merging with a similar New York State project, New York Heritage. They explained how the libraries could get involved and how much support they are able to give. (A lot)

It seemed like quite a few librarians were interested in pursuing some of these options. I hope they are able to follow through.


I posted this question to the regional library list at the same time that I posted it here.  I got quite 19 responses so I thought it would be worth sharing  some of those thoughts.

Question: should we retain or dispose of old newspapers that have be microfilmed and are acidic, and/or in bad condition?  And space is needed.
Summary of responses.

retain dispose
Academic 2 1
Historians 3 3
Hist. Soc 4 1
Genealogists 2 0
Public Lib 1 1
Conservator 1 0
Total 13 6


Reasons to retain
researchers prefer
loss of microfilm or reader
degradation of microfilm
intrinsic value
our mission is to keep things
better copy or photo from the original
irreversible decision
film may be missing issues
Reasons to dispose
you’ve maintained the intellectual content
Suggestions and thoughts
  • Keep a few important artifacts (Kennedy assassination, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, etc.)
  • Make sure there are films and masters
  • Are the originals being retained elsewhere?
  • Build an addition so you have room
  • Give to another institution or sell on E-Bay
  • Keep a sample to show the condition and thus why you disposed of them.
  • RRLC is embarking on:  digitizing old newspapers from the microfilm
  • Digital files are still considered unstable. Microfilm or fiche are still preferred from a preservation standpoint

Well Da

May 27, 2010

Sometimes it’s difficult to wake up and look at a new way to complete a task.  My great thanks to Sara Greenleaf for the wake up call.

We have a faculty member who is a John Ruskin scholar.  He often travels to Europe to “walk in Ruskin’s footsteps.”  To prepare he has had a student worker come to special collections to use the 39 vol. of the works of John Ruskin.

  • The student goes through the index and finds references to all the places the faculty member will visit.
  • Next to get out the books, usually all 39 vol. and mark the pages that require copying.
  • In the past, they were photocopied.
  • Now, I photo them on the camera stand to protect the bindings.

Along comes Sara who searches out digitized volumes on the internet.  She found all but two volumes at  Now the student gives the list of pages searched in the index to the professor and he can take it from there.  I can’t believe the number of hours of work that were just saved.

You would think that, since I do digitization projects and refer students to digital books online, that I would have thought of it.  I’m sure glad that Sara did.

My position was recently re-evaluated, because it was realized that I didn’t really fit under any current policies. I went from a 12 month appointment where I worked 940 hours per year, with full benefits except vacation, personal days and sick leave…to a 10 month appointment where I work 930 hours per year, with full benefits. Since I have two months off in the summer, no vacation or personal days. This is all at the same pay rate, so I don’t lose anything.

This happened two days before before I left for “vacation.” I had asked for a week and a half, it was actually comp time, but was told to take 2 and a half weeks, to use all of the comp time. The new contract will start July 1st, so I’ll work the month of June, then be off from July 1st until August 15th.

Now anyone in their right mind would say whoopee!! But not being in my right mind, I was thrown completely off balance. I haven’t had this much time off since around 1978, and I’m not that all that great at using time off well. I’ve been keeping busy and using my time fairly well, but still spend a lot of time thinking about work. Perhaps if I write down what I need to do when I get back, I’ll be able stop running it over in my mind constantly.

  • Get the Vail photos up on CONTENTdm.
  • Figure out how to set up a new finding aid style sheet in Archivist’s Toolkit.
  • Inventory the vault.
  • Work on a BI for Primary Resources using ideas I’ve been picking up from the book “Made to Stick”.
  • Get a list going of projects for student workers in the fall.
  • Set up staff training for care of rare books an archives in the event of water or other damage due to an emergency.

I’ll probably be adding to this when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, because I’m thinking about work. That may be more than I can do in the month of June anyway. I’ll start working on my August list. 🙂

Sharing images 2

May 1, 2009

We had a great meeting yesterday with Alumni/ae house and Communications.  We determined what everyone’s needs are and how we can help each other.  I’m going to share our scanning procedures. Sara will help with organization and cataloging. And we will work at becoming a “lobbying group” to find for the money needed for software and storage space.  I’m quite encouraged.

Sharing images

April 30, 2009

I learned a few months ago that Alumni House is scanning all of the yearbooks.  I only found out when they needed to borrow one they were missing.  Now Jared, Hobart Alumni Dir, is getting us together to see how we can support each other in these scanning projects.  How great is that?

Also, last week Sara and I went to a OCLC/RRLC workshop on CONTENTdm.  I think the meeting this morning will give us a opportunity to suggest the group lobby for buying CONTENTdm because Alumni House, Communications and the Library can all use it.  We’ll see what happens.

Persistence of Memory

January 8, 2009

I’ll bet you all thought I died.  Not yet!  The month of December got away from me completely.  If anyone suggests going to a conference in December I recommend against it!!!

The conference was great and I had fun with Becky Simmons, RIT archivist, and folks I met there.  It was “Persistence of Memory: Sustaining digital collections.” put on in Chicago by NEDCC.

There was much too much for me to share in this blog so I’ll give you some quotes and recommend such conferences.

Paul Conway, U of Mich

  • It’s the end of preservation as we know it, and I feel fine.
  • The death of the microfilm industry in near.

Bernard Reilly, Center for Research Libraries

  • Diversification: how many ways can the same content be “sold”

Simon Tanner, King’s College London

  • · Goal: to make our institution feel like the Wichita Lineman: “I want you more than need you, and I need you for all time.”

David Liroff, Public Service Media

  • · “If you continue to play by the old rules you will fail…but the new rules haven’t been written.”
  • · “If humans are achieving global consciousness, we are it’s memory”

I’ll try be be more blog regular in the new year.  Have a great year!!

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