By George she’s got it – enhancing and improving access through the migration of digital objects.
Robin Armstrong Viner, University of Aberdeen.
This was the session I was most hoping to learn something new from at Umbrella as I’m about to start work on a photo collection. All three talks in the session were interesting in different ways and gave me new ideas and also calmed my nerves about whether I was approaching the collection in the best way.
Robin talked working with the oldest and newest collections at Aberdeen but principally the George Washington Wilson Collection of images. The collection of around 40,000 images was digitised in 1996/7 but due to the standards of the time, they needed to be redigitised in 2001. Exactly the sort of nightmare I am hoping desperately to avoid… In 2007-8 detailed description was then added for some images.
In 2007 Ex Libris Digitool was selected as single platform for digital collections across the archives, institutional repository etc and the migration began in 2009. I was interested to hear that the workflow creates 3 manifestations of each image, an archive (staff only) tif, a Main image with zoom facility as a JPEG2000 and a JPEG thumbnail for browsing. He emphasised that the zoom facility is incredibly important to help with identifying images. This wasn’t a feature I had put top of my priority list, but I think I will be pushing it closer to the top after seeing how useful it can be!
He also explained that the metadata is mapped to Marc21, uploaded separately but joined through image identifier. The metadata actually appears in Dublin Core to the user through Digitool. Metadata is my major concern, and I cannot afford to buy a product like Digitool so I was relieved to see that prior to this, good old Excel spreadsheets were successfully used! I like the suggestion of mapping the metadata to Marc21 as this gives me a standard that I already know how to work with.
Like us, Aberdeen had copyright concerns about the images being used without permission. It was a case of balancing income and research access as they derive income from licensing of the images for commercial use. One option which they considered was watermarking but didn’t want to spoil the images for researchers. They also decided against a pop up statement about copyright for each individual images. Finally, it was decided to just include a simple statement in metadata outlining what is allowed and giving contact details.
The problems of storing preservation copies of digital images was also mentioned. Despite using archive quality CDs in 2001 for the scans, some CDs are damaged and some images are simply missing! They hope Digitool will help with this in the future and they are filling some gaps by rescanning the original negatives. Now they are stored on a backed up server and a second network drive.
In the future, they are looking to pull library, archive and museum collections together for the first time with a service called Primo that will allow tagging to capture external knowledge about the images. Robin agreed that this does create verification issues but they are confident that, with moderation, this will be a success after looking at the work recently carried out by the National Library of Scotland.
Session B3. Slides not yet available.