Norman Haire collection preservation and digitisation
December 2007 update : Project partners Julie Price and Sara Hilder are implementating the project plan and digitisation specifications developed by Rowan Brownlee.
- Learning and development
- Metadata : descriptive and administrative
- Metadata : technical/preservation
- Digital conversion : technical
- Digital conversion : administrative
- Item conservation
- Defining specifications and workflow processes
- Vendor discussions
- Funding submission
- Implementation and management
Norman Haire was a prominent sexologist who studied
medicine at the University of Sydney where he graduated in 1915.
A prolific author, lecturer, and correspondent, Haire was a key figure
in the public and scholarly discourse on sex within Australia and
internationally. He bequeathed the majority of his estate
including his library and papers to the University. The Norman
Haire research fellowship was founded in his honour.
The Haire collection is of considerable research value to a range of disciplines including medicine, history, sociology, cultural studies and psychology. Although a subject of international interest there is limited awareness of the University of Sydney collection. The collection is accessible only to people who visit the Library and it is difficult for people to navigate or to search for items about a subject. Items are also fragile and their continued use advances deterioration.
- Ensure the long-term preservation and security of fragile original material in the Norman Haire Collection
- Enhance collection access for national and international research through a collaborative project between the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Sydney Library.
- Digitise, store and manage a subset of the collection to meet aims of digital preservation, print publication and online access.
- Create an EAD finding aid for the entire collection
- Enable online interactivity through a user interface.
- Enable search and retrieval of individual items through library systems such as the catalogue and external systems such as Google.
- Improve physical collection management through a comprehensive collection audit and review of the existing finding aids.
- Identify physical items requiring conservation, stabilise fragile items in-house using archival storage methods and seek professional conservation advice for items requiring further attention.
- Increase awareness and profile of the collection and the Library by publicising the project
For the entire collection, the project will
- Undertake a collection audit.
- Investigate options to create a finding aid using Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
- Explore mechanisms for enabling search and retrieval of bibliographic information through library systems such as the library catalogue and external systems such as Google.
- Identify workflow and technology issues surrounding creation of descriptive, technical and administrative metadata records for a variety of systems.
- Identify treatment required to conserve fragile items.
- Identify strategies to meet the conservation needs of items that have requirements beyond the skills of Library staff.
- Investigate strategies to publicise the collection to the local and international research community.
- Investigate options for future digitisation of other parts of the collection.
For a defined subset of the collection, the project will investigate
- Standards and requirements for creation and management of an archival collection of digital surrogates suitable for digital preservation, print publication and online access.
- Workflow issues and processes for managing in-house and outsourced digitisation of original materials.
- Feasibility of using optical character recognition to support keyword search of text transcripts.
- Mechanisms enabling search for digital surrogates through library systems such as the catalogue and external systems such as Google.
- Issues surrounding mediation of access to digital surrogates discovered through external systems such as Google.
The project will not
- Digitise the entire Norman Haire Collection
- Apply conservation practices that are beyond the skill set of Library staff. This may form the basis of a future project.
- A collection of digital image files meeting requirements for preservation, print publication and online access.
- An EAD finding aid
- Descriptive, administrative and technical metadata records
- A platform for storage and management of the digital images.
- Web user interface
- Project report and documentation including
- Collection management and preservation strategy
- A strategy for
- Strategies to meet the conservation needs of items that have requirements beyond the scope of skills available within the Library
- Description of processes and standards adopted during the project including
- Digital conversion specifications and quality benchmarks
- Conservation practices applied to physical collection items
- Julie Price & Sara Hilder (Rare Books and Special Collections Library)
- Rowan Brownlee (Digital Project Analyst : Sydney eScholarship)
Role of Rare Books Library representatives
- Project management
Role of Sydney eScholarship representative
- Support : project and technical, including
- Development of a project framework and documentation
Professor Bruce Robinson, Acting Dean, Faculty of Medicine.
Training for Rare Books Librarians in EAD.
Following project completion outcomes will be assessed against the
objectives, scope and deliverables that have been identified within the
project definition report.
Outcomes will also be assessed against expense and resource targets identified following the requirements review (as detailed in the project strategy below).
Achievements and shortcomings will be identified along with lessons learned and recommendations for future projects.
The project will begin with a collection audit. The audit will
identify items requiring conservation and provide data for creation of
an EAD finding aid. It will also assist in defining
the set of items to be digitised.
The collection audit will provide information for a requirements review. This will examine needs underpinning item conservation, user interaction, metadata creation, digital conversion, workflow and digital object management. It will identify gaps as well as strategies for meeting needs in terms of knowledge, skills and equipment.
The first two phases will enable creation of a specifications and workflow document for in-house and outsourced project tasks. Discussions with vendors will inform development of a funding submission.
Project tasks will be undertaken and managed according to the specifications and workflow document and within the scope of available resources.
The following includes an overview of key questions and issues the project will consider during the collection audit and the skills, equipment and issues audit.
- What is held? What is missing?
- Which items require conservation? Which items will be digitised?
2. Skills, equipment and issues audit
- What interface do we want?
- How will we provide it?
- Develop new? Select or modify existing?
- What are the metadata creation requirements for EAD, catalogue, repository and Google?
- Can we create one record and generate variations to suit each need?
- How to capture/extract and store?
- What are the capture specifications and quality benchmarks?
- What equipment and skills are required? What do we have?
Where will we store the digital items?
What is the conversion workflow? How will we track items and
maintain records? How will we define a quality assurance process?
- What are the conservation requirements?
- What equipment and skills are required? What can we do?
Which items will need to be outsourced for conservation/ restoration?
- Digital conversion benchmarks
- Conservation of physical items
- Workflow and quality assurance
- Digital storage and management
- User interface
- Financial requirements