Professional Development

Maintaining the Vision: Managing Digitization Projects

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:01 am

Although successful digitization projects are developed collaboratively, Leigh Grinstead says that the project manager is the main person responsible for maintaining the vision of the project. This was my key takeaway after last week’s webinar, “Project Management and Workflow for Digitization Projects.”

“It’s that project manager that holds on to the vision, and uses it as the ultimate motivator,” she said. “You need to act as the project’s advocate. You will also need to consider everyone’s expectations.”

This was my second Lyrasis webinar hosted by Grinstead. The 2-hour webinar focused on the project manager’s responsibility in making sure a digitization project’s vision comes to fruition. This includes meeting the expectations of supervisors, staff and stakeholders.

What also stood out to me is that most of the webinar participants did not have a digitization mission statement at their organization. Grinstead said that this is common. Some stated that they were currently in the process of creating one. Several examples of a digitization mission statement from various university libraries across the U.S. were presented in the webinar. Some were short and concise. Others were more extensive in detail.


Those new to project management or management positions in general were introduced to the idea of “doing” versus “managing.” Grinstead said that this is one of the hardest transitions a first-time manager undertakes, in addition to determining what their management style should be.

Figuring out your management style, she said, will depend on the institutional culture and the personality of the staff. For example, a manager with only volunteer staff may have a more flexible management style than they would with paid staff–or in my case, student assistants. Also, thinking about past supervisors regarding what you liked most and/or least about their management style is a great way to determine your management style, she said.


Of course, having the proper hardware and software for digitization projects is important. Grinstead said that she visited many institutions that do not have digital image collection management software in place, such as DSpace. These institutions are in the beginning stages of their digitization program, and some even outsource their projects to vendors.

I liked the concept of performing a pilot project for exceptionally large digitization projects that are to be completed in-house. This was explained by digitizing just one-fourth of the project in order to examine all elements of the project and overall budget costs, and to see if it is worth going forward with completing the entire project.

Budgeting typically includes staff, which in many cases is the largest part of the budget. But Grinstead said that most cultural heritage institutions frequently have difficulty considering overall staffing expenses in their overall costs.

“Things will happen”

As with all things dealing with technology Grinstead said “things will happen.” Most of us are aware of typical setbacks regarding hardware and software malfunction. She also reminded us to have plans in place for the unforeseen, such as bad weather storms and even staff departures.


Much of what was covered in the workflow portion of the webinar was discussed in her previous webinar. So this part of the webinar was more so a refresher. But it was interesting how she raised the idea of incorporating a pilot project within the workflow.

For instance, incorporating a pilot project can help estimate the time it will take within key workflow steps such as adding metadata, performing quality control, digitization, editing, and creating derivatives (access files, thumbnails, etc.). Knowing this will provide an ever better estimate of how long the entire project will take.

Currently we use Trello to keep track of our projects’ workflow. Webinar participants listed other software that they use including Microsoft Project, ProcessMaker, Smartsheet and even Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

“Having something, anything to organize and begin that process is important,” Grinstead said.

By Far, A Cool Digital Imaging Webinar

Thursday, February 18, 2016 11:25 am

I had the opportunity to participate in a LYRASIS webinar last week entitled “Picture This: Introduction to Digital Imaging.” The program consisted of two sessions over the course of two days (February 9 & 10), which covered key best practices of digital imaging.

This was a great opportunity to expand my overall knowledge of digitization. I anticipated to learn some new and useful concepts that I could immediately apply to our digitization endeavors at ZSR.

Chelcie Rowell also took part in the sessions. Mary Beth Lock showed much interest in the webinar. “I’m always looking for ways that our work can overlap,” Mary Beth said. “And, this is clearly a growing area in librarianship.”But because of scheduling conflicts, she could not attend the live sessions. Fortunately the webinar furnished participants with access to the slides and both video recordings.

A few demographics of the other participants—some were from as close as Blacksburg, VA, and as far as Alberta, Canada. Their experience in digitization varied. One considered themself a novice. Another noted that they are relatively experienced, but needed a refresher.

The host was Leigh Grinstead, who has been working in the Digital Collections field since 2005. She has been with LYRASIS since 2009. When she is not hosting webinars, she consults with institutions across the nation on digital project planning.

Day 1
A key takeaway covered in the first session was understanding the concept of pixels—which is generally defined as the basic element of a digital image. The amount/size of pixels within a digital image will determine the resolution and quality of the image. This lead to the discussion of pixels per inch (ppi) vs. dots per inch (dpi), bit depth, how to calculate the spatial resolution of an image (ex. 3000 pixels / 10 inches = 300ppi), and the concept of resolution threshold.

Resolution threshold is the point at which adding more pixels to an image does nothing to enhance the image, but will needlessly increase the file size due to the additional pixels. So it is important to set the proper resolution on scanners and cameras. This is a concept that really stood out to me because—like most digitization labs–having enough drive space with a continually growing digital collection is always a factor.

We were also introduced to the CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices guide for image capture, presentation and storage. This is available on the LYRASIS website, and is a great resource for individuals who are new to the digital imaging field. I like that the creators of this guide wrote it in a way that is relatively easy for newcomers to digest.

Day 2
The second session lead with a great overview of tonal range (the amount of light and dark within an image). Setting the proper tonal range of a black & white image is important because it ensures all the information from the original image is captured. Leigh Grinstead demonstrated how tonal range can be determined by use of a histogram, which is commonly used in Adobe Photoshop.

In regards to color images, it was interesting to realize that there is not an industry-wide color standard when it comes to the calibration of scanners, monitors, digital cameras and printers. It varies by brand. This means that an image’s color displayed on a Mac monitor can be displayed differently on a PC monitor. Leigh Grinstead noted some solutions to this, such as including a color bar alongside the image of the digitized master file(s) when it is digitized.

I also liked how she provided images of digitization labs that are located at other academic institutions. Seeing the range of digital capture devices used in other digitization labs was insightful.

In closing
This was a very useful supplement to the training I have received from Chelcie—providing the opportunity to add to my overall knowledge of digital imaging. What I especially liked about the webinar was the interaction between the viewers and the host. She consistently kept the audience engaged by asking questions and seeking ongoing feedback from the information she provided.

It is also nice to have the ability to listen to the recordings and view the slides for future reference. I plan to refer to much of this content for the digitization of any upcoming photographs, maps, film negatives, artwork and born-digital files.

Surveys in Libraries: ACRL-ULS Webinar

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:24 am

Yesterday a group of us (Lauren C., Lauren S., Thomas, Roz, Mary Beth and Susan) participated in the Surveys in Libraries webinar presented by the ACRL-ULS Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group. One of the goals for this year’s Assessment Committee is to take advantage of any educational opportunities that might help guide our assessment efforts to be more effective.

This webinar focused on using surveys to learn about patron perceptions about whether their needs are being met by services. Well-designed surveys can be useful to gather this type of information. Poorly designed surveys are a waste of everyone’s time.

Here are a few helpful insights I gained from the session:

  • Actionable surveys are those that ask the right questions, are focused and are designed to gather data that can lead to action to improve processes.
  • An Action Gap Survey might be a useful tool for us. In this type of survey you might select 10 services that we offer. Then you ask the participants to choose the 3 services they think we do well, the 3 that they think need to be improved and finally, ask which 3 are the most important. This can show if what we do well is important to them, and whether our efforts need to be directed at improvement if the service in question isn’t important.
  • Surveys should be simple and focused. There was no *real* ideal number of questions, but the speakers agreed that less is better.
  • Longer surveys tend to have a higher drop rate (think the long version of LibQual+). People get frustrated and/or bored when there are too many questions.
  • There was agreement that when using the Likert scale (is that pronounced Like-ert or Lik-ert?, look it up in OED), the ideal number of values is 5 (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree).

One speaker addressed the use of commercial survey products (Counting Opinions and LibQual), another talked about adding library questions into campus-wide surveys (which we have had a little success with to date). My take away on commercial versus home grown surveys is that they both have a place in our assessment efforts. The commercial ones allow us to compare our services against other academic library peers/aspirationals, while locally developed surveys can help us dig down to the actionable level.

If you are interested in viewing the webinar, it is available here.

SerialsSolutions Summon and HathiTrust full-text indexing

Monday, April 25, 2011 1:08 pm

“Just as GoogleBook search brought book search to the open web, this advancement brings full text book search and integrated content discovery to serious researchers. . .”

Today Mary Beth, Susan, Derrik, Lauren C, Tim, Audra, Craig, Cristina, Steve, Leslie, Lynn, Kaeley, Erik, Barry and Giz attended a webinar about the recent launch of the full text indexing of HathiTrust records in the SerialsSolutions Sumon service. David Lankes started the session with his view of how services like the HathiTrust compare with other cooperative projects and what motivates information seekers when they approach systems with an information need. David focused on a few themes, notably the concept that collaborative collections create opportunities for new communities to form around.

John wilkin gave an overview of the state of the hathitrust. Some interesting numbers included a current ~31% overlap with ARL libraries and near 50% overlap with Oberlin group libraries. The HathiTrust currenlty has around 8.2 Million titles with approximately 26% of them (2.1M) in the public domain. Wilkin indicated that with current contribution levels they are seeing about a 1% growth in overlap for every 200K submitted titles.

John Law finished up the webinar indicating that the Summon service would offer the full text index of HathiTrust records as an include-able option with other resources. The key idea appeared to be that full text indexing would be included in Summon with various options for content delivery (e.g. direct link for public domain resources, catalog link for owned resources, ILLfulfillmentlink for others). Interstingly, John Law indicated that these links will not always be based on OpenURL but will be ‘pre-calculated.’ SerialsSolutions is planning on offering some advanced content inclusion options (e.g. public domain only or fully indexed collection) using specific fulfillment options for each type of resource/licensing restriction.

As expected the questions from the audience focused on timeline (mid year), technical details (to be determined in the client center), and requests for a demo (forthcoming). A few questions centered around matching and merging of titles/records to provide a streamlined record discovery and presentation service for patrons. In response John Law said that SerialsSolutions is planning on finding ways to merge catalog records from the subscribing library with full text indexing from HathiTrust to provide both single-point access and enhanced bibliographic/full text access. There was a question about what the user experience would look like for items not in the public domain. It appears that Summon will attempt to make a ‘best-guess’ about resources but will provide multiple links (ILL, content link when possible). There was some interest about how resrouces outside of the puGiven the attendance from ZSR this is clearly an interesting area and I expect there will be more questions in the months to come!

ARL Webinar on Digital Curation for Preservation

Thursday, April 7, 2011 4:17 pm

Lauren C, Lauren P, Craig, Rebecca, Molly, Barry, Sarah, Tim, and Audra attended the ARL session to discuss the report “New Roles for New Times: Digital Curation for Preservation.”

The webinar is the first in a set in response to the Association of Research Libraries’ report series entitled “New Roles for New Times,” which includes five reports relating to digital curation, student services, library liaisons, repository services, and print collections.

Authors Katherine Skinner (Educopia) and Tyler Walters (Virginia Tech) reviewed the report, including its background and context. The executive summary of the 76-page document gives an excellent review of the report, which emphasizes new roles for librarians and libraries with regard to the life cycle of the digital object, particularly getting more attention paid to the digital objects being created. Katherine and Tyler repeated that collaboration, both intra- and inter-institutional and working more with technologists, domain scholars, and scientists, is key to the future of the research library. Tyler suggested that libraries must become more embedded, in domains such as production, dissemination, description, organization, promoting, designing, and accessing digital resources that are co-produced.

A panel of experts responded to the report, including Jeremy York from the University of Michigan, Martha Anderson from NDIIPP, Oya Rieger from Cornell, and Patricia Cruse from the California Digital Library. Jeremy talked about his perspective working with HathiTrust, a large-scale digital library. He mentioned the importance of large-scale collaboration, including a centralized infrastructure to share digital content, such as HathiTrust. Martha explored her view from NDIIPP, particularly that the collaborative project was iterative, requiring shared learning and trust-building. Oya supported the report’s discussion of embedded librarianship, noting that subject specialists understand the daily needs of scholars in a holistic way and they can help faculty understand services available through the library (including digital collections). Patricia talked about the CDL’s collaboration with the National Science Foundation as a result of the NSF’s new requirement that all grant applications must have a data sharing plan. She explained the wide range of stakeholders in their digital curation efforts, including offices of research, IP offices, grants, and contract offices, each of which looked to the research library for help with curation of research data.

Q&A allowed Katherine and Tyler as well as the panel to respond to participant questions. Tyler described a trio of priorities for digital curation: infrastructure, content, and services. The takeaway message for me was a quote from Tyler: “Content is coming at us faster than ever. If we don’t manage it, someone else will.”

The archived audio is now available. Thank you to Tim and Kaeley for setting up the webinar session, and to Lynn for emailing the report!

Kaeley rocks the Webinar

Friday, February 26, 2010 5:05 pm

I know that this is somewhat tangential but I thought that it was interesting. Today I hosted my first webinar as part of the on-line Indexing & abstracting class and it was my pleasure to have (our own) Kaeley McMahan and Mark Schumacher as my two guest speakers.

We used Elluminate but there are lots of other options out there. If anyone is looking for ideas about how to host a webinar or what the experience is like feel free to get in touch!

ALA Techsource Emerging Trends Webinar

Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:56 pm

Today Erik, Mary S., Barry, Sarah, Ellen D., Lauren P., Kaeley, Molly K., Leslie, JP, and Erik attended the ALA techsource webinar. Although the high point of the session was a ‘shout-out’ to our very own Lauren P’ there were alot of intersting trends discussed. Lots of folks focused on mobile/social apps, augmented reality apps and there was a fascinating discussion about foursquare. I think we should start rewarding students who spend lots of time in the library with extra free-prints (or perhaps just a broom to sweep up or something).

Among the many examples of iphone apps (one person used the phrase “all iphone all the time” – which sounds about right :) ) there was a demonstration of the integration of the RedLaser app with OCLC. Discussion of Ebooks was somewhat scarce but there was a presentation about a platform called blio

Sun Webinar – DuraCloud pilot project report

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:48 pm

Today Wanda, Barry, Molly (K), Leslie, JP, Tim, and Erik attended a webinar offered through Sun Microsystems on the DuraCloud system. The presentation included Michele Kimpton, Martin Kalfatovic, Barbara Taranto, and Peter Pinch who talked about their beta projects and included a short discussion on how libraries can participate in the DuraCloud pilot program.

The session began with an overview of the experience of the first stage pilot partners. The overview included a discussion of several providers including Amazon, Atmos, Rackspace. While the initial project is focusing on the nuts and bolts of building a cloud-based repository it is also including some interesting open source services include Djakota, Taxon-finder, and Kaltura. For example, Martin talked about the Biodiversity Heritage Library and their experience with the DuraCloud pilot. They were interested in the Taxon-finder service in particular with a focus on making taxonomic literature available. Barbara talked about how their perspective on the pilot included developing a cost comparison model, examine data transfer, management, and transfer. Barbara reported on the migration from the jpeg standard to djakota JPEG 2000 image files. Peter talked about the efforts of WGBH (which completely rocks in general) to digitize archives during the pilot project. The are experimenting with Kaltura player for streaming and are looking at preservation services.

In the late spring the DuraCloud project will be opened up for other libraries to participate. At the moment they are looking to launch a production service in Q3 2010. Initial pilot partnerships will focus on those running dspace/fedora right now. Many thanks to Barry for setting the webinar up in the screening room!

ZSR library attends ASERL ITDIIG Lunch-n-Learn

Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:26 pm

Lynn, Mary Beth, Wanda, Patty, Jean-Paul, Kaeley, Barry, Chris B. Lauren C., Lauren P, Kevin, Tim and Erik attended the session which was a presentation on how Georgia Tech (Tyler Walters) and Clemson(Emily Gore) approach digitization and digital priorities.

Emily covered what Clemson is doing and presented on her work building a digital initiatives program including MetaArchive, Open LOCKSS, the development of a written preservation plan and a goal to participate in the development community. She briefly covered their beginning use of Archivist Toolkit. She talked about their use of grants and regional grant/collaborations to digitize resources, work with partners to preserve digital resources, and run a ‘regional scan center.’ She mentioned their work to plan a fedora repository and discussed a project called <a href=””>Intelligent River</a>, a site that focuses on archiving real-time hydrologic data and data sets in south carolina.

Tyler Walters talked about the Galileo knowledge repository (http:/ which will focus on providing IR hosting via Dspace, workshops, IR services and a collaborative metadata repository. He also talked about Virtual Research Environments which are based on drupal/fedora sites called islandora ( that has been developed by the University of Prince Edward Island. Georgia Tech is going to try out a similar approach. He also discussed e-publishing services offered by the library (Epage @ Tech, The Tower).

Tyler also talked about search & discovery approaches including Vufind, metalib (Xerces Xserver), and Tsquared (Univeristy Sakai system) – a project to integrate metalib into Sakai. As he discussed their architecture he mentioned a sun infinite archive solution, sun storagetek 2540 disk array (16 TB), SL 500 Tape library (529 TB), Managed by Sun’s SAM server and ZFS software.

Next ASERL Lunch-n-Learn on November 12th with Mary Molinaro (U-Kentucky) and Toby Graham (U-Georgia)!

Webinars focus on Cloud computing, Insitutional Repositories, and Open Access

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 4:57 am

In September and October there will be three Sun Webinars that look at cloud computing and its role in institutional repositories. If you enjoyed reading about the Berkman Webinar then these are for you!

All sessions will be held in the Bridge Screening Room.

ALA Annual
ALA Midwinter
Career Development for Women Leaders
Carolina Consortium
CASE Conference
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
Coalition for Networked Information
Digital Forsyth
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Elon Teaching and Learning Conference
Entrepreneurial Conference
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)
Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA)
First-Year Experience Conference
Handheld Librarian
ILLiad Conference
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
Journal reading group
Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
Library Assessment Conference
Lilly Conference
LITA National Forum
Mentoring Committee
Music Library Association
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
North Carolina Serials Conference
online course
Online Learning Summit
Open Repositories
Professional Development Center
Site Visits and Tours
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
Southeast Music Library Association
Sun Webinar Series
TALA Conference
UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
University Libraries Group
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
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