Cross Departmental Projects

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The Association of SouthEastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Collaborative Digitization Project

In Autumn 2008 a collaborative effort was proposed to provide online content to material representing "The Intellectual Underpinnings of the American Civil War." This collection is to consist of materials published between 1850 and 1865 that informed the public consciousness as America approached the battle between the North and the South. Access to the content would be timed to coincide with the April 12 2011 sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War.

Participation in this project required a collaborative effort here at the University of Alabama, which was coordinated primarily by Digital Services. As a member of the technical committee, Jody helped explore options for shared delivery with other institutions. She also wrote software to analyze the date ranges of existing online collections, to inform the choices made by the archivists. The archivists (primarily Donnelly Lancaster Walton, Archival Access Coordinator) then selected the appropriate content and remediated the collection information; and Digital Services staff digitized the selected materials.

The Metadata Unit (Mary Alexander and Shawn Averkamp) remediated the selected content to conform with the metadata requirements of the project. Marcia Barrett (Catalog Librarian for Special Collections) added creator and subject headings to the collection records. Tonio Loewald (OLT programmer) developed OAI (Open Archives Initiative) repository functionality to support harvesting of the selected materials for inclusion in the shared database. Clark Center (University Archivist and Curator of Southren History & Life Collections) described the repository and provided contact information. Jody submitted collection records and shared web sites and information as they became available. All participating faculty (archivists, metadata librarians, and digital services) tested the OAI implementation prior to release.

This was a truly collaborative project, and we successfully submitted 52 collections for inclusion in the ASERL project in a timely manner. That website is now live at Searching across our 52 submitted collections is available via .

Metadata Comparison Test

This was an effort to determine whether it is to our benefit to transition item-level metadata creation from the archivists to the metadata librarians. Time and other costs needed to be weighed against the usability of the resulting descriptions. Involved in this group were archivists (Donnelly Walton, Martha Bace), Digital Services personnel (Jody DeRidder, Jeremiah Colonna-Romano) and Cataloging and Metadata personnel (Janet Lee-Smeltzer, Mary Alexander). (More information is available here: Metadata Comparison Test.)

Cost Recovery Task Force

On February 9, 2009, Dean Pitschmann assigned a cross-departmental task force to review analog and digital reproduction pricing at other universities and recommend a cost-recovery fee structure for all mediated reproduction services. This task force was composed of archivists Jessica Lacher-Feldman and Clark Center, Manager of Administrative and Fiscal Affairs Harriet Deason, and Jody DeRidder (Head, Digital Services).

This group researched reproduction pricing at Indiana, University of Michigan, NCSU, UIUC, South Carolina, Georgia, University of Minnesota, NY Public Library, Florida State Univ., Michigan State University, UCLA, Chicago Public, Enoch-Pratt, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, LSY, SUNY (Albany), Wisconsin, and UVA. After analyzing results and extensive discussion, the group sent recommendations to the Dan on June 3, 2009. Questions were fielded through August 2010.

The finalized results went live in November 2010 as Hoole's Reproduction Services web page.


DeRidder, Jody L.; Presnell, Amanda Axley; and Walker, Kevin W. "Leveraging Encoded Archival Descriptions for Access to Digital Content: A Cost and Usability Analysis," in American Archivist (Spring/Summer 2012), Vol. 75, Iss. 1. [Collaboration between Digital Services and Collection Management]

Whitver, Sara Maurice; Matheny, Kate; Vaughn, Jennie. "Go Local! Using Digital Archives as Alternative Textbooks in First-Year Writing", poster presentation (with handout) at the Association of College & Research Libraries 2013 annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN, 10-13 April 2013. [Collaboration between Gorgas Information Services, Digital Services, and the English Department's First-Year Writing Program]