Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's the Cost? (And other questions)

Last week, I wrote about our friends in Queensland and the information they shared with us on their collection. Since then, Teresa's questions have yielded a few responses that I'll share later.

But first, I'll address Stew's questions in last week's comments.

Stew, it's interesting that you mention the copyright process. For my Creating and Managing Digital Assets course (WISE, online), I'm working on a copyrights project that has given me lots of material for my annotated bibliography. Those resources will be included in my annotated bibliography for this project. I'm guessing the two will be very similar.

As far as the EAD goes, it is very structured. Caryn Raddick provided a framework for me to use into which I inserted our pre-edited text. The tags are already provided (EAD tags). As far as the language for the individual items go, we're not using a controlled vocabulary or a thesaurus. That's most likely because when we started this project, it was decided that we would not be making a collection-level IRIS record which would require so much more restriction than a finding aid requires.

We also wouldn't be able to showcase the images in IRIS the way we could in a finding aid. However, there is value in putting together a collection-level IRIS record in order to link to the finding aid and make it more findable. That's a recommendation for a future project.

If Rutgers used ContentdM as it's cataloging system, we would not have to making these kinds of decisions. We would just use the system to include the images and descriptions with the text as was needed. Ah well.

Teresa's Contributions
First, thanks once again to Teresa for all her great detective work. She sent me a collection of items which I examined at length. Here is an excerpt of the summary I sent her:

1. What was useful and why:
a. Artists' Books: Bound in Art - Library and Archives Canada -- This was useful to obtain some well-articulated historical information about artists' books (and the naming issue), the copyright statement (shown as "source"), the Further Research section. The descriptions were very thin, though, despite the 360 views and multiple photos. The social tagging element was worth considering. I used it to post about the site to my Facebook page.

b. Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection -- This was especially good to see for the "browse by search terms" option. It revealed all kinds of helpful terms that we might be able to use in our descriptions or in perhaps a keywords section in the finding aid. I also really liked the metadata fields offered. I just finished researching metadata for my WISE course, and this collection offers info about the digital specifications that are particularly useful for digital preservation purposes. I've seen the Contentdm interface used in quite a few online collections. It seems that it's a very flexible system because there are tons of ways to use it (bad and good, I assure you!).

c. http://cool.conservation-us.org/lex/bookdsc.html -- was very helpful in terms of book arts terminology we could use to better specify in our descriptions (however, I'd need a glossary to truly understand them).

2. Books go to War: The Arms Services Editions in World War Two -- This was an interesting exhibit, although there was not copyright permission information on the letters in the CODA section you referred to in your summary. Michael and I had talked about combining the Suellen Glashausser archive with the artists' books finding aid, but it would become too unmanageable to handle unless a truly digitized collection. I also think the appearance of this site is very dated and incomplete. All that to say, it's useful in a lesson of what I wouldn't want to do with the Glashausser collection. Regrettably, it seems that we'll be limited by the format of the finding aids used by Rutgers Special Collections. Nonetheless, it's good to have an idea of what others are doing.

What doesn't do much for us:

1. Exhibits with limited metadata.
2. Exhibits with little descriptive information about the artist/work.

Online exhibitions are a bit different than collections within libraries, which is something we need to consider. For instance, the GBW Marking Time exhibit is just that -- the works aren't cataloged, although adequately described for an exhibit. So, that to say, they are interesting to look at and to think about in terms of display methods, but are not adequate for what we're doing now.

Being able to see how others catalog their artists' books and describe them in metadata such as in 1.b. above is extremely useful. Different techniques are important to consider. Learning about the technical aspects of bringing the collections to the web would be great as well.

If you could keep plugging away at objects that are included in finding aids, that would be really helpful. Thanks!

In a separate emailing, Teresa sent me a link to the Special Collections University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Book Arts Finder. This site is a pretty elaborate finding aid for the artists' books collection at this library. It is a good library teaching tool, albeit a bit low level. It in no way resembles any of the other finding aids that I have seen in that it is not a straightforward document, but rather a web site dedicated to finding these items within the library and online.

As far as the feedback that Teresa has provided from the ARLIS-L list serv goes, there is a pattern emerging that people do not know the actual costs of their digitization projects/programs. That puzzles me because if they had to account for the cost by a department head, they should be able to produce that number. Oh well. So far, the university libraries who responded all used graduate students to assist in their projects (a great way to save money and help them to gain experience).

Additionally, as we have found before, finding aids for artists' books are very few and far between. These items are cataloged as books, if they are held in libraries, which makes me think that our situation here at Rutgers is an anomaly. It makes me want to catalog the collection. Perhaps this will be a project for me to take up next semester as part of one of my classes.

Finally, one of the best things to come from this project has been the discovery of Zotero for creating the bibliography as well as the references for this blog. It is a great bit of software that lives within Firefox and goes a long way toward making web-based items more bibliographable.


Books Go To War. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2009, from http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/ase/

Espinosa, R. (n.d.). Structure outline for book description documentation. Retrieved October 27, 2009, from http://cool.conservation-us.org/lex/bookdsc.html

Introduction - Artists' Books: Bound in Art - Library and Archives Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2009, from http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/livres-d-artistes/index-e.html

SAIC Digital Libraries: Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2009, from http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/cdm4/index_jfabc.php?CISOROOT=/jfabc

University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Artists' Book Collection, Book Arts Pathfinder. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2009, from http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/ArtistsBks/

1 comment:

  1. Deb -

    For your Encoded Archival Descriptions you're using the tags, but for the descriptors for the individual items you say that you're not using a thesarus based on a decision to NOT have collection-level records. I think I underdstand this, but as the project proceeds, is this still proving valid? The more you do, the more difficult it might prove to go have and establish a consistent vocabular. I'm not second guessing here, just asking.

    Good interaction with Teresa. This certainly seems to be a very worthwhile relationship. I'm intrigued by the issues of cost you raise concerning digitization projects. It would seem that people would want to know the "full up" costs of these things, including any overhead such as a department head who would likley not be fully allocated to a project.

    As in previous entries, very thorough job with your references.


    Reviewed MARAC workshop notes, too. Nice work!!


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