November 29, 2006

Digital Projects in the MINITEX Region

At our recent MINITEX/OCLC Users Group Meeting on Oct. 16, I organized an afternoon session that focused on Digital Projects going on in the MINITEX region, specifically those who are using OCLC’s CONTENTdm software to manage their digital collections.

Why am I writing about this session in a blog about technical services? Well, for a number of reasons. Of the ten or so institutions I’ve spoken with about their digital projects, most have library technical services staff involved in metadata creation, to enter data about digital objects, and for authority control. Some libraries have their archives staff and other subject experts describe the digital objects in their collections, and then pass the objects on to their cataloging staff to enrich the records with subject headings. As more institutions begin to think about starting digital projects, library technical services staff need to be prepared to offer and apply their expertise. How do we prepare? This is a theme that you'll see repeated in my posts, and I'm open to suggestions!

For those of you that were unable to make the CONTENTdm session, below is a quick recap of each of the presentations.

Carleton College has created two digital collections. One was created and is maintained by Hsianghui Liu-Spencer, cataloger and metadata librarian at Gould Library as a faculty’s image collection; the other is the Art History Department’s slide collection, created and maintained by Heidi Eyestone, Curator of the Visual Resources Collection. Between both collections, they use the Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials, as well as Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Carleton's presentation: Part I
Carleton's presentation: Part II

The University of North Dakota (UND) just went live with their collections on Oct. 11th. Curt Hanson, Project Manager of their digital collections, explained that UND's Chester Fritz Library has exclusive copyright to all materials in their two digital collections, so they are able to make them available to the general public. For metadata entry, UND uses the Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices of the Collaborative Digitization Program (CDP). This is also the same guideline that the Minnesota Digital Library uses for Minnesota Reflections. The cataloging department at UND enhances their digital collections by adding FAST Headings and LCSH, while also using terms from the Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials.

View UND's Digital Collections

Wayne Torborg, Director of Digital Collections, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John's University, gave a really good introduction to what CONTENTdm is, and what it’s not (explained it is a flat database rather than a relational database, so it’s super fast for searching). He showed some of their manuscript objects in Vivarium, spoke about how they hide some of their objects to the general public due to copyright constraints, and how they link their other databases to CONTENTdm.

HMML's presentation: Part I
HMML's presentation: Part II
View HMML's Digital Collections

For more information about CONTENTdm, and to view a list of libraries in the region using the software, visit the MINITEX Web Site:

View more information about CONTENTdm

Contact the MINITEX BATS Unit

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.