14 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
listed units whose names include the word “digital,”
ranging from the now prosaic “Digital Initiatives” to
“Digital Curation Services,” “Digital Consulting and
Production Services,” “Digital Stewardship,” “Digital
Conversion and Media Reformatting,” and similar.
In comments, several of those who responded that
they had a Digital Assets Management Plan in place
qualified their response by saying that the plan is
either new, a work in progress, or not yet fully ad-
opted. This was echoed by those who responded in
the negative, with one caveat stating that this should
“not be taken to imply that we are not doing any of
these activities such a plan might outline it simply
means that we have not codified these activities in
the form of a policy or plan.”
Categories of Digital Images
All but two respondents indicated that their library
has locally digitized some or all of their analog collec-
tions. This is likely a reflection of the shift from slide
to online images. A majority of respondents (69, or
86%) also indicated that they subscribe to commercial,
licensed collections of digital images (provided from a
vendor such as ARTstor). A majority of libraries (68, or
85%) are also involved in locally creating born-digital
images. In addition, some libraries indicated that they
have acquired born-digital images from a vendor, or
from a donor. Some institutions have had their analog
images digitized by an external third party, and in
some cases by a commercial vendor.
Licensed collections make up the vast majority of
digital images in the fine arts (including architecture)
(55, or 71%), which is likely a reference to ARTstor
and architecture-related database subscriptions held
by academic libraries. Digitized analog images are
most common in the humanities (47, or 61%) and so-
cial sciences (37, or 49%). While a fairly large number
of respondents reported having no digital images in
medical and science fields, this is most likely because
they were not reporting on the holdings of separate
medical and science libraries. When asked to indi-
cate the current level of growth of digital collections
in each subject area, the majority of respondents re-
ported medium to high growth in the humanities.
For fine arts and social sciences, the majority reported
low to medium growth. Low to no growth was most
frequently reported for digital images in the sciences
and medicine.
The examples of web pages for digital collections
and digital image finding aids in the representative
documents section of this SPEC Kit also reveal rich
collections spanning many subject areas.
The library takes the majority of responsibility for
the creation and purchase of digital images and as-
sociated activities such as digitizing analog images
(74, or 94%), negotiating the purchase/use of licensed
collections (71, or 97%), and negotiating individual
agreements with image rights holders (70, or 96%).
The creation of born-digital images is an activity that
is often shared with other units. Forty-seven respon-
dents reported that the library has responsibility for
this activity and 22 of those report other units that
also create born-digital images. Eighteen others report
that only non-library units create such images. Other
related activities include acquisition of born-digital
special collections, digitizing audio and video, and
grant applications.
In addition to the museum/gallery, the most com-
mon “other units” that have responsibility for the
creation and purchase of digital images are academic
departments and units. These are usually art depart-
ment visual resources centers and archival units, but
also a wide range of other departments such as an-
thropology, nautical archeology, veterinary medicine
and biodiversity research. There has been a move-
ment away from stand-alone departmental collec-
tions to institution-wide collections. In some cases
images are both created and managed by these other
units in others they are created within other units
but hosted and managed by the library. A number of
institutions also reported a digital media/information
technology unit responsible for digitization services
and a marketing and communications department
involved with the creation and digitization of im-
ages. University counsel at several of the responding
institutions is involved in negotiating rights agree-
ments. External partnerships were also reported. In
one case community organizations identified images
for digitization in another, historical societies and
state archives were involved in digitization activities.
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