Digital Scholarship @ The Libraries

Inspiring innovative digital scholarship at the OSU Libraries and beyond

Author: Tschera Connell

Innovation Grant Report: Digital Exhibits Pilot Project

Editor’s Note: You may remember the King James Bible exhibit from three early posts on this blog: A curator steps from the analog to the digitalPiloting a new platform for digital exhibits, and Developing the King James Bible digital exhibit. This post introduces the final report from the project that created the exhibit.

The exhibits pilot innovation grant project was a partnership of three departments, Digital Content Services (formerly SRI), Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Web Implementation Team (now Applications, Development and Support). The Preservation and Reformatting Department (Amy McCrory) and the Copyright Resources Center (Sandra Enimil) were also heavily involved. The grant was “to develop a new model for creating and delivering digital exhibits at the Libraries.” The project was developmental in scope, and the specific goals were to create a polished digital version of a physical exhibit, and to gather information about what would be required to develop an exhibits program in the Libraries.

The King James Bible exhibit, curated by Eric Johnson, is indeed a polished exhibit.  We learned a great deal from working on it, such as the need to create a glossary of terms as reference for all people on the project.  We also identified the strengths and weaknesses of the Omeka software for our environment. The research into what it would take to build a sustainable program took many forms.  We looked at existing digital exhibits at OSUL, as well as curator expectations for exhibit functionality, and the use of Omeka at other institutions.  We tracked information on the time it took to create the exhibit.

What’s next?  The report is done and has been given to the Executive Committee.  The suggestions in the report are just that – suggestions.  We were not charged to develop a program.  We applied for funding to explore the possibilities; the report is what we discovered.  It is also worth noting that the environment has changed since the report was written.  Most important, is that the Libraries have hired an Exhibits Coordinator.  However, many of you have expressed interest in our results.  The report is posted on the Digital Exhibits Subcommittee web site (docx).  Happy reading!  …and, of course, we welcome your comments. –thc

Science Article on Open Access Journals

Old news.  I refer to the article “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?”  by John Bohannon published today in Science.  The article is described as “A spoof paper concocted by Science reveals little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.”  That statement is true.  However, it is also true that traditional publishers have been found to lack scrutiny as well.

Bohannon did confer with a small group of scientists.  He reports that some say “that the open-access model itself is not to blame for the poor quality control revealed by Science‘s investigation.”  For me, that is the salient point.  Whether articles are open access or not is independent of quality peer review.  The benefits of making research available for other researchers to read and build upon outweigh the rogue publishers, or instances of shoddy peer review.  Traditional methods of publishing were developed to make science more accessible.  Open access extends that goal.  The issue now, for us in academia, is to teach others how to evaluate critically the quality of research in an article, however delivered.

Digital Preservation Policy Framework – part 2

Last week I focused the Purpose and Scope, and the Principles outlined in the Digital Preservation Policy Framework document. This week I will concentrate on the Categories of Commitment and Levels of Preservation portions of the document.

 Categories of commitment

  • Born digital materials.  Examples:  ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations), institutional records
  • Digitized materials (no available or usable analog).  Examples:  Unique audio and video from Music/Dance & Special Collections.  This category also includes digitized materials that have annotations or other value-added features making them difficult or impossible to recreate.
  • Digitized materials (available analog). Examples:  TRI Actress scrapbooks, Suyemoto Papers, Rubin Collection of Lantern Slides, and the Lantern.
  • Commercially available digital resources.  Example: e-journals (Project Muse, JSTOR)
  • Other items and materials.

We can’t do everything.  These categories are meant to be seen as guidelines.  Developing solutions for “born digital” resources informs solutions for other categories.  But it does not imply that these assets are more valuable or important than any other categories and/or our traditional analog materials.  The categories of commitment add another dimension to discussions of stewardship.  For example, digitization of materials that are in danger of format obsolescence, or that depend on superseded equipment, may create an urgency for action, but only if the content of the materials is judged to be essential.

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Digital Preservation Policy Framework


One of the lessons learned by the Strategic Digital Initiative Working Group (SDIWG) last week is that it takes two posts to present a new policy document.  In this post, I will introduce the OSUL Digital Preservation Policy Framework which has been reviewed by the Executive committee and forwarded to the Strategic Digital Initiative Working Group (SDIWG) for incorporation into their work.  The framework was developed by a task force on Digital Preservation in conversation with many of you.  Members of the task force were Peter Dietz, Dan Noonan and me.

The framework document addresses a number of challenges including rapid growth and change in technology, sustainability, and need for expertise. The focus of this post will be the Purpose and Scope, and the Principles portions of the document.  For the presentation to Admin Plus, SDIWG members led discussions of case-studies illustrating issues facing the Libraries.  The discussion questions we used are included in the hope that they will stimulate further discussion in units across the Libraries.

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