RLI 283 Patron-Driven Acquisitions and the Development of Research Collections 8 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 outreach, donation agreements were signed between York University and the original owners of the records, inventories prepared with input from Fernandes and Costa, and income tax receipts issued after assessment by an external appraiser hired by the libraries to determine the market value of the gifts-in-kind.6 Streamlining Digital Activities St.Onge also played a key role in ensuring that the project achieved its second goal of democratizing and disseminating historical knowledge. In March 2006, the libraries completed a Digitization Initiative Strategic Plan, which called for the use of scanning and web-based technologies to make unique Canadian research collections available to support research and teaching at York and around the globe. This objective became a component of Open Doors, Open Minds, and subsequent planning led by Andrea Kosavic, digital initiatives librarian, called upon the libraries to consider ways of engaging scholars to contribute to this process by assisting in the selection and description of documents for digitization. The libraries’ willingness to digitize significant portions of these acquisitions in the context of these plans was a major factor in the project’s decision to deposit the material with CTASC. The students discussed digitization with another organization eager to secure unique historical content, but the libraries offered open access through its online electronic document repository. This arrangement would allow researchers in Portugal to examine these images without paying a subscription fee. The Department of History funded a graduate assistant position so that Costa could identify documents suitable for digitization and work on a virtual exhibit. St.Onge enlisted Kosavic and her digital initiatives assistants (undergraduate students hired on a part-time basis) to scan photographs and issues of Communidade, a newspaper for the Portuguese working-class community in Toronto’s west end, using the annual operating funds of the Bibliographic Services Department, while Costa added metadata and documented the historical context for the material. St.Onge then collaborated with library computing services’ software programmers to forge an online exhibit built using Omeka into a delivery vehicle for images, text, and video recordings. This workflow demonstrated that digital projects cut across departmental lines, and that they benefit from a flexible organizational structure that encourages archivists, librarians, and technicians to collaborate on initiatives. Digital projects also require effective communication among the libraries’ management team. While it is generally understood that “[d]igitization and digital curation are no longer specialized activities they are a part of the life-cycle management of special collections,”7 such endeavors must be brought into the mainstream of annual budgeting and departmental work plans if the libraries’ objectives based on leveraging unique research collections are to be achieved. Reaching a Global Audience The project’s website was launched in October 2011, and—like the project as a whole—it is a success on several levels. Within 14 months of the site’s release, there were more than 32,600 page views. The majority of the activity originated in Canada, but it also included a significant number of visitors from Portugal followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy. The statistics supported the graduate students’ conviction that their work would appeal not only to scholars on both sides of the Atlantic
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