ARCHIVES 2015 has ended
Tuesday, August 18 • 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Research Forum Poster: Digitization to Data: Turning Challenges to Opportunities at a Small Institution

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This poster will share and explore the challenges and opportunities presented to smaller institutions entering the realm of digitized archives. Small institutions face not just the challenge of the ever-restricted budget, time constraints, and understaffing. Their digitized objects must pass through the hands of multiple partners and service hubs before they arrive in major digital portals, like the DPLA. Within the digitized archives environment, an object is only as good as its metadata. The long relay chain of passage from the small institution to the DPLA requires a robust and intentionally crafted metadata schema in order for the objects to not be lost in the ocean that is DPLA.

In order to address these challenges the team of the CLIR Hidden Collections Cataloging project at Union College in Schenectady, NY, have developed many tools and resources. This poster will share our experience and resources including: our comprehensive study of fields for best discoverability for general public, K-12, and scholarly use; an archival digital object metadata reference guide for our chosen 25 fields written for use by both undergraduate assistants and professional staff; our combined digitization to metadata entry workflow which averages seven minutes per object from opening the folder to completing 25 descriptive fields; as well as our experience of leveraging the strengths of Union College’s undergraduate research fellowships to create extensive and detailed digital exhibits showcasing digitized collections.

About the Author:

Abi Simkovic serves as the Project Archivist and Project Manager for the CLIR Hidden Collections Cataloging “Grass Roots Activism and the American Wilderness: Pioneers in the Twentieth Century Adirondack Park Conservation Movement” project at Union College in Schenectady, NY. She received her MSIS in 2014 from the University at Albany, SUNY. Her duties within the grant include the processing and cataloging of 200 cubic feet of archival material; designing the digitization metadata schema and workflow; supervising graduate and undergraduate students; as well as engaging with non-traditional archival user groups to create learning materials.


Tuesday August 18, 2015 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Room 26A Cleveland Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114

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