Part of the UDC ToolKit

Before You Upload to the UDC: Top 5 User Mistakes

1. Older scanning techniques did not have OCR

Documents that were scanned in the 1990’s or using older equipment may not be full-text searchable. Therefore it is important to test older digital scans to see if they were created using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). A simple way to do this is use Ctrl-F to search for a word you see in the file. If the file was not “OCRC’d” properly, it will not be searchable, and you will need to use Adobe Acrobat Pro software to create a new version of your scan before uploading to the UDC.  Here is a 4 minute video that shows you step-by-step in Acrobat Pro X (the latest version) or read this How-To document.

If you have a large PDF, you may want to go one step further and “optimize” the document, like you see here in this tutorial. Be careful especially if you have images in your files, and read through this article Understanding Acrobat’s Optimizer. 

2. Not all file formats can be preserved

The UDC accepts files in all formats, however we can only make a commitment to preserve select file types for long-term access. Please consider what file format you upload your work as and whether there might be a more “archival” version. For example, we recommend that MS Word documents (.doc or .docx) be converted into PDFs which can be more easily migrated to newer versions over time. See our preservation policy for a list of support levels we provide for each file format type and the alternatives we recommend.

3. Non-descriptive record titles can be confusing

When describing an item that you are uploading to the UDC, keep in mind that many users will discover your item in a list of search results (such as Google) and therefore only see the title. For example, a UDC item titled “Bulletin” will show up without the context of what year or series it belongs to. Therefore, be descriptive to help users choose which search results are relevant. An alternative title might read “Bulletin of the Department of Neurology, Vol 29 (2010)”

4. Item descriptions cannot be ephemeral

Some metadata about an item can never change: date created, author of the work, year published, etc. But there are times when additional information might be relevant to the item which could (or will) change overtime. This “ephemeral” metadata can be hard to maintain and should not be included in the UDC item record whenever possible. For example, think about what will happen to these metadata in 50 years:


5. Uploads should wait for the final version

The UDC is a digital archive committed to preserving objects over time, which means that once an item gets uploaded, we create a number of digital safe-guards to make sure it stays available for a long time. Therefore, items in the UDC cannot be easily revised or changed slightly or revised, but rather a new version must be added to the original (v2). Therefore, it is important to not upload any work until the final version is ready for long-term access. “Working drafts” should be maintained in other systems that allow for easy changes and revisions, such as Google Docs.