The Big Picture
Our primary focus is the effective and efficient management of digital content from the point of creation within our unit, through support for access and increasing usability, to long-term access support via digital preservation measures.
- We’re creating a modular, open content system based on open-source software, accessibility, simplicity, and sustainability.
- We are only developing what we or users need, and no more.
- In order to support the development of user-friendly web tools, the content is openly available in web directories (using derivatives such as jpegs; archival files are of course protected). As we proceed, these will become a primary focus of interest.
- Content must also be easily accessible to us for alteration or extraction, and thus is not “ingested” into any system from which it must be extracted and then re-uploaded.
- Duplication of files is kept to a minimum, reducing storage costs and confusion.
- We’re using the lowest-cost, simplest, most practical approach to both delivery and preservation that we can find or develop.
- We streamline workflows as much as possible; one example of this is having a single standardized set of descriptive metadata elements from which we use only those which apply to a particular set of content.
Most of our digitization content previously flowed in a pipeline which roughly corresponds to this:
Archivist preparation --> Descriptive metadata --> Digitization --> web delivery --> archival storage.
This organized, simple, technically straightforward approach to making digital content available poses us as potential leaders in the field. The organization and preservation strategies we are using could serve as a life raft for underfunded institutions to ensure their content will survive. As tools are developed to make our content more usable to scholars, we expect much attention and emulation from other institutions.