Successfully creating, maintaining, and providing access to digital collections requires the expertise of many library staff members in various library departments and units. In order to better coordinate these interrelated efforts, we formed the Digital Archives Repository & Collections Team, also known as the DARC Team. Our overall goal is to provide online access to digital content as well as digital preservation of that content. The places that we present our digital content online include the Digital Repository, the Library Digital Collections, and Special Collections and Archives social media outlets. Together, we decide which platform is the best fit for the various digital content that we acquire and create. To make sure that all aspects of a project are considered and that none of us duplicates the work of another, we bring together everybody that has a part in the process for semimonthly meetings. The DARC team includes the Head of Preservation/Interim Acting Head of Special Collections and Archives, the Digital Repository Coordinator, the Digital Collections coordinator, the Archivist/Assistant Head of Special Collections and Archives, the Cataloging and Metadata Management Librarian, the Conservator, the Digital Collections staff and web designer, and an IT representative.
The team receives input from faculty and staff to help identify appropriate content for possible future projects. Some projects can be time-sensitive: for example, when a project must be completed for a certain event or to highlight an anniversary. Having everyone involved in these team meetings helps so that we can communicate the time commitments estimated by every team member for their portion of each project. Based on those estimates, we can determine if a certain project should be moved up as a higher priority or pushed back in our schedule.
Sometimes materials require conservation treatment either before or after the digitization process. This work needs to be scheduled into the Conservation Lab’s other workflows. The length of the digitization process can also vary greatly depending on the size, format, and fragility of the original material. Metadata standards, best practices, and workflows have been greatly improved with the addition of a recently hired Cataloging and Metadata Management Librarian who also helps to determine the extent of metadata that is appropriate for each of the diverse collections. Since most of our projects need to move through several different departments and then back again in order for them to be completed, it has become extremely helpful to have everyone involved meet on this team and work together to ensure a smooth and successful process.