Two experiences following guidelines

Title_pageDuring my practicum at the WHS I am involved to a limited extent in the selection process of what Civil War pamphlets should be digitized. While previous WHS workers created a list of pamphlets for me to digitize I discovered that some pamphlets on the “to be digitized” list were already digitized by the WHS while other pamphlets had no clear link to Wisconsin’s involvement in the Civil War.  Because the selection guidelines for the WHS’ Civil War collection are solely focused on Wisconsin, pamphlets focusing on non-Wisconsin regiments, such as the 6th Maine, are only added if a large portion of the work relates to a Wisconsin regiment or historical figure. Because of the great effort that WHS had already put in the selection process and the guidelines, the number of selection decisions I made were minimal. I know one of the other WHS digital projects team members was in charge of much of the creation of the Civil War project.

A second digitization selection project whose guidelines I followed involved the Cutter collection at Wendt Library. A selection guideline for this collection that I followed is that if a work had 50 or more copies in US libraries and was not in HathiTrust or Googlebooks, I would sent the work to Memorial Library and then Memorial would send the book to Google for digitization. A problem with this simple guideline it that it failed to acknowledge many of the special circumstances under which Google will not be interested in digitization a work.  Oversized books are problematic to scan and to my understanding will not be accepted by Google, in addition many of the Cutter books lacked cataloging and therefore would be rejected until metadata for the works was created. This selection guideline was created by one of my Technical Services supervisors.

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3 responses to “Two experiences following guidelines

  1. What is interesting about your two experiences is that despite, I assume, initial planning for these projects, it seems that problems have arisen. In the WHS project, the list of “to be digitized” pamphlets was not completely accurate, as some of these items already existed while others were irrelevant. Where as in the Cutter collection, the guidelines on which books to scan seemed to be poorly thought out as books that could not be scanned were not excluded. What these two examples show is the importance of project planning. It is important to try to think of every aspect of a project before beginning so that problems like these do not arise and your digital collection will piece together with fewer glitches.

  2. This is also why mid-way check-in points with the project team, or portion thereof, is also critical for mid-stream adjustments! Great story from the field, stephentheblog.

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