Monday, April 18, 2005

Creating Digital Library Projects

Ray, Robert. “Creating Digital Library Projects." In Pre-Conference Workshop on The Assessment, Preservation, and Access of Audio Collections in the Digital Age. March 30, 2005. Austin, Texas: Association of Recorded Sound Collections, 2005. Based on Power Point presentation and lecture notes.

The focus of the 2005 ARSC conference was a case study of an digital audio project undertaken by the University of Missouri—Kansas City Special Collections called “Voices of World War II: Experiences from the Front and at Home.” Robert Ray, Special Collections Librarian and Project Director, talked about the experience of undertaking an digitization project, centered around sound recordings—and mostly radio transcription discs at that. The project sought to continue the work of digitizing unique and endangered materials in the UMKC Marr Sound Archives. The digitization was done to provide access to these materials online, but it served as a catalyst to fully catalog and preserve the originals, and to attempt audio preservation on digital systems. They worked with several partners, including the university, the Missouri State Library, and the Truman Presidential Museum & Library.

What was unique about the project website was the primary importance of audio items to the site. There are some photographs, pictures, sheet music, and other visual elements, but they serve to amplify the audio, rather than the reverse. Because many of the items are radio broadcasts, the medium of the radio is how viewers of the site experience the war. It should be noted that this project was not meant to demonstrate best practices in website creation.

Ray talked about the challenges associated with the project including the selection of items to be preserved and for the website, the workflow for digitization, metadata and MARC cataloging, and conservation of damaged carriers. An inventory of your collection is essential before access can be fully implemented. Good file management and consistent naming conventions on the preservation server and mirror servers. Through the creation of this program, the Marr Sound Archives was able to outfit their preservation studio with a professional quality preservation studio that can complete contract work from outside organizations and individuals.


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