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Planning Your First Digitization Project

We invite institutions to contribute to New York Heritage (NYH) via digitization of related objects curated from a collection. Before beginning your first project, use this guide to ensure you also have the necessary resources:

If you do not have enough staff hours or appropriate scanning equipment to complete the project you have in mind, consider embarking on a smaller project, seeking out a grant, or discussing your plans with the NNYLN.

Selecting Materials for NYH

What type of projects should you do? Some questions to think about:

Copyright and/or ownership issues to be aware of:

Whenever possible, the holding institution or repository provides all known information about copyright owners and other restrictions in the information, or metadata, associated with digital items. The holding institution provides this information to assist users in determining the copyright status of an item. NYH also provides a general copyright information statement on its website for users.

The nature of historical, archival and manuscript collections often make it difficult to determine the exact copyright status of an item. There are many issues related to copyright. See the NYH training page for a list of resources that can help you to determine the copyright status of the materials in your collections.

Your Organization’s Responsibilities

Contributing organizations are responsible for:

You can create the digital images at your organization if you own or have access to a scanner or borrow the NNYLN ScanKit. You can also outsource the work to a digital imaging vendor. These vendors can only create some of the technical metadata associated with the newly digitized image.

Select a person who is knowledgeable about your collection to create the descriptive metadata. They will be trained by your regional library council on how to create the metadata and how to adhere to the NYH metadata style guidelines. The information about the original resource may be in a library online catalog or an archive automated system like the PastPerfect museum software. This information may serve as a starting place to build the metadata records for your collection.

The last step in the process is to approve and upload your records to the NYH server. Typically this final step is performed by your NYH council liaison.

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Digitization Project

1) What is your purpose?

2) Who is your audience?

3) What are the physical characteristics of the collection?

4) Who owns it?

5) What is your timeframe?

6) How is the project being funded?

7) How will you perform the actual digitization?

8) What metadata scheme are you planning to use?

9) How are you planning to maintain the collection into the future?

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