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Digitally Archiving History: A game plan for large, unruly archival collections with limited staffing

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In this paper, an outline of workflows currently in use for the digitization of a large archival collection at Kent State University is provided. A blend of both in-house digitization and outsourcing methods used to achieve the goals of the project with limited staffing and resources. Considerations of the format, as well as the capabilities and available equipment and software, are made throughout the process in regard to institutional capabilities. Selected workflows for digitization are embedded into the daily routine of the staff, reflected in a growing digital archive that is available for patrons regardless of location. Materials without copyright restrictions are uploaded into a openly accessible digital repository, while more problematic materials are stored offline as a preservation copy and the digital copies noted on respective finding aids. A small-scale digitization space has been created for the purpose of in-house scanning, and a process to select material from reference driven selections as well generating reports from a patron database to gauge the most highly used items has been refined to tackle the large task of digitizing a complex archival collection, one piece at a time. Further, the notion at the conclusion of the project is to apply these practices and workflows to other archival collections.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • The IS&T (digital) Archiving Conference offers a unique opportunity for imaging scientists and those working in the cultural heritage community (curators, archivists, librarians, photographers etc) from around the world to come together to discuss the most pressing issues related to the digital preservation and stewardship of hardcopy, and other cultural heritage documents and objects. Authors come from museums, archives, libraries, government institutions, industry and academia. Cutting edge topics related to multispectral and 3D imaging, as well as best practices for workflow, sharing, standards, and asset/collection management and dissemination are explored in papers presented at this annual, international event.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in pertuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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