Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Digital Projects in Massachusetts

I received an email recently asking about "digital comings and goings in Massachusetts library land". After replying with what I thought was a concise summary, it occurred to me that others might benefit from this information. I've edited my reply somewhat to make it more generic and applicable to other libraries.

There’s a lot going on in the Massachusetts digital world. Let me outline some
of it; I’m sure there is more of which I’m not aware.

In western and central Massachusetts, there’s Digital Treasures which is a collaboration among WMRLS, CMRLS and C/W MARS. Any library that’s a member of either of the regions can participate. You don’t have to be a C/W MARS member. There is a cost, which is slightly higher for non-C/W members, but I also have some grant money that can be used to defray most of that cost. The metadata for images in Digital Treasures are written in Dublin Core. The metadata have been sent to OCLC, converted to MARC, and imported into the C/W MARS catalog, so everything is available in both places. Digital Treasures is OAI (Open Archives Initiative) harvestable and everything is searchable via Google or any search engine as well as from the OAIster site.

In Massachusetts as a whole, there is Digital Commonwealth. DigiCom is primarily a portal which (similar to OAIster) harvests digital images in repositories throughout Massachusetts. There is a fee to join, but CMRLS, WMRLS and C/W MARS are all members so any library who is a part of Digital Treasures can search its collection via DigiCom. Libraries that have their own repositories can join DigiCom directly.

If a library (or museum or archive) wants to display its digital images, but does not want to or is unable to go through one of the existing repositories and does not have its own repository, DigiCom has a partnership with NELINET to host individual organizations’ repositories.

Boston Public Library is participating in the Internet Archive. I know a lot less about this project since I have not been directly involved with it. I do know, however, that libraries that want to have books scanned can send them to BPL and those books will be available via the Internet Archive. The Webster Vet Library at Tufts in North Grafton has done this with many titles in a special collection they received called the Seaverns Equine Collection. The digitized books are searchable from both the IA and their catalog.

BPL also has a partnership with Open Library . Like IA above, I’m not directly involved with this project. I do know that people can request books to be scanned so they are available to read online or download.

If your library has photos or documents (not books) to scan and wants to be part of Digital Treasures, please let me know. I can help a little with selection (it’s not my strength, but I can offer some guidelines) and a lot with metadata creation.

That last paragraph applies to all libraries located within the central region. Calling (or emailing) me and talking more about Digital Treasures does not commit you to anything. Feel free just to gather information for a possible future project.

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