As part of the Phase I Digitization Project to populate and expand the content of the Robert A. Mason Digital Library (RMDL) we present a first quarter report documenting our progress and immediate future of the project.
Betsy Gamble and Geoff Hobart
Phase I of the project began back in late February when two part-time Digital Assistants, Betsy Gamble and Geoffrey Hobart, were hired part-time. Betsy and Geoff both come to us with backgrounds in digital content and metadata creation. In their current roles both provide 20 hours of work each week using three dedicated workstations in the carrel room off the second floor of the library’s public space. For each workstation site licenses were purchased for the Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat Pro and the OCLC ContentDM Project Client, the latter of which enables us to process and upload digital files into the RMDL.
Currently the library has received publication permissions for 51 journals, 13 books and 305 exhibits. For Phase I of the project the decision was made to first, work on the backlog of journals for which permissions have already been secured, and second, to work with those journals already in digital form. The latter decision will enable us to forgo the manual scanning of pages from journals and to expedite the processing and uploading of those journals already in digital form directly into the RMDL. In terms of journal order, we also decided to work on those journals in the order in which the permissions were received.
Geoff Hobart Processing and Uploading Digital Journals
About half of the journals received were entirely in digital form already with no need for scanning pages, while another quarter of the remaining journals received are partially in digital form with some manually scanning required. The result is that we have 11,196 journal issues (approximately 495,112 pages) in digital form needing only to be uploaded (for the purposes of this project, uploading includes optical character recognition along some quality control).
The remaining journal issues for which we have received publication permission comprise a total of 9,592 journal issues (approximately 340,474 pages). This group will need to be manually scanned from originals, processed through optical character recognition, quality controlled and then uploaded. This portion of received material will commence following the processing of digital only journal issues.
Given this, we are very pleased to report the progress we have been able to achieve so far. After some training sessions back in February for Betsy and Geoff conducted by Marian Mills, our Technical Service Manager, staring on March 1 we have been able to upload a total of 517 complete journal issues into the RMDL. Specifically the following journals have been uploaded and added to database since March 1:
- Penny Post (Carriers and Locals Society) - 90 issues
- Menelik's Journal (Ethiopian Philatelic Society) - 128 issues
- Tell (American Helvetia Philatelic Society) - 230 issues
- The Lion (Ethiopian Collectors Club of Great Britain) - 4 issues
- Philateli-Graphics (Graphics Philately Association) - 44 issues
- Philatelic Literature Review (APRL) - 21 issues
The goal when planning this initial phase of the digitization effort was to process and upload 25 complete journals per week. Currently we are processing and uploading journals issues at a rate of 57 per week. This accelerated rate is due in part to working with digital files only at this point, but also to the dedicated efforts of Betsy and Geoff who in a short time have developed an efficient and effective procedural protocol for this stage of the project.
As we continue with this “digital-only” portion of the project we anticipate that we can work through the remaining aforementioned 11,196 journal issues (approximately 495,112 pages) of digital only material in the next 3-4 months, barring any unanticipated setbacks. Following this as we move toward the next stage that will include the scanning of original material, we anticipate that our upload rate will change. It is anticipated that the scanning of material in addition to uploading will bring our rate of production more in line with our original goal of 25 issues per week. Our overall for completion of this Phase I of the Digitization Project, which includes all 51 journals, both digital only and those requiring scanning, will be 12-18 months.
As we work through this initial backlog of material we are not actively seeking new journal permissions from societies or clubs, but if you would like to contact the library about having your publication as part of the Robert A Mason Digital Library once we complete this phase of the project, you can contact the library at email@example.com.