Don’t get me wrong. Improved technology, lower costs on higher end scanning equipment and special cradles that aid in scanning of delicate archival books are fantastic innovations opening unprecedented digitization doors for libraries, archives and museums. Here’s an article in the LA Times that highlights that fact.
However, an astute SLA member, Boston’s Mary Beth Dunhouse, posted a comment on LinkedIn yesterday that really made me think. Scanning is just one step in a much more complex process.
Metadata planning, metadata collection, resizing images,enabling OCR if applicable, and uploading to a collection management system are all part of making materials available online. In one recent project, our team at The Seattle Public Library spent a long time deliberating over which Dublin Core elements would best capture our unique collection information.
And, please do not forget assigning subject headings to improve findability. Compound objects like books and brochures require a directory structure. Have you thought about storage and is your server backed up? Do you need to do additional research to fill out any of your metadata fields?
A lot of the material in archives and special collections is being digitized and has not yet been cataloged or processed. Just something to consider.