90 · Survey Results: Survey Questions and Responses
If there is another organizational structure for online manuscript activities, please describe it. N=4
“As previously mentioned, the Western Historical Manuscript Collection (A UM System unit housed coincidentally
in the Ellis Library) has a Web site with a smaller number of online finding aids but the repository has a much
larger number of manuscript collections than does SCARaB.”
“Digitizing manuscript collections is handled separately (American Memory).”
“Separate Digital Manuscripts Program that creates item-level access to selected collections held by our
institutional as well as collections from partnering institutions.”
“These questions don’t very well reflect the range of our activities. Primary responsibility for the organization and
description of manuscript collections resides in Special Collections & University Archives, and we routinely create
and move online essentially all html finding aids. We coordinate closely with a Central Technical Services (CTS)
Department when record-building intersects with the general library OPAC, and we coordinate closely with the
Digital Library Services (DLS) unit when undertaking CONTENTdm initiatives. All of these activities can be properly
thought of a ‘manuscript activities.’ Depending on the specific project, CTS, DLS and/or Special Collections staff
may be involved in scanning and providing metadata. It is a much more fluid world than it used to be!”
Challenges of Online Manuscript Collections
27. Please describe up to three challenges of/barriers to migrating manuscript collections to the Web.
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3
“Migrating manuscript collections.”
If this means moving “content” (or
creating digital surrogates), then the
first challenge is certain the variety
of formats and the sheer number of
“objects” from sound and moving
image recordings to the text written
and printed on hundreds of thousands
of sheets of paper.
Again if we are talking about
surrogates, creating item-level
Again if we are talking about
surrogates, very few of the “objects”
can be mechanically transcribed (e.g.,
successfully OCRed without painstaking
editorial review). While massive
scanning to “image” large amounts
of material may be “trivial” (because
it can be partially mechanized and
anyway requires few skills), providing
real “content” is complex.
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