Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Digitize times three

Society of NC Archivists/South Carolina Archives Association conference continued on Thursday afternoon, March 31 with three institutions sharing their experiences with "Digital Initiatives."

Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture of the College of Charleston, SC basically turned a physical museum into an virtual museum when they digitized 500 linear feet of manuscripts (paper-based), 80 linear feet of artifacts and 80 oral histories. One of the staff members taught herself by actually reading the manual of how to shoot photographs of paintings, slave badges and other artifacts. She also sought the advice from a faculty member specializing in photography. The lesson is here is that a digital exhibit can be created with limited funds; some creativity and tons of time!

UNC Charlotte has transitioned from just online digital exhibits to a full-blown digital program by hiring a digital projects coordinator. Like many institutions, the new coordinator is trying to collaborate and train technical and circulation services staffs as well as being creative and dynamic to interest the entire Library staff. For example, the circulation staff is fully describing, i.e. creating metadata, of 10,000 images previously scanned and just waiting for access. Most of the circulation staff has been in the Charlotte area for a long time so they know the photos!

Moving way east, East Carolina University is advocating EAC-CPF (love those library acronyms) or Encoded Archival Context - Corporate Bodies Families. And some background, there is no "one" way to describe archival collections, like the MARC record. And since all archival collections are unique, the archives community has come up with Encoded Archival Context, which basically can be an extended/detailed/descriptive inventory of each collection or something as basic as a title and location. East Carolina's approach (EAC-CPF), which they have just started doing in the last couple of weeks, will help better locate collections AND give them context, i.e. pull them all into one location.

Now, all that makes sense but here is where I became confused (or really tired since it was late afternoon).
ECU is somehow using the social networking site of SNAP to describe and organize the collections. The pre-cursor to this idea was developed in the Google Refine open source software as the North Carolina Biographical Historical Information Online, funded by a grant in the early 2000s. (I think the website was taken down).

So basically lots of neat digital initiatives news in both Carolinas.

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