Digital Library Programs for Libraries and Archives: Developing, Managing, and Sustaining Unique Digital Collections

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Planning and managing a self-contained digitization project is one thing, but how do you transition to a digital library program? Or better yet, how do you start a program from scratch? In this book Purcell, a well-respected expert in both archives and digital libraries, combines theory and best practices with practical application, showing how to approach digital projects as an ongoing effort. He not only guides librarians and archivists in transitioning from project-level initiatives to a sustainable program but also provides clear step-by-step instructions for building a digital library program from the bottom up, even for organizations with limited staff. Approachable and easy to follow, this book

  • traces the historical growth of digital libraries and the importance of those digital foundations;
  • summarizes current technological challenges that affect the planning of digital libraries, and how librarians and archivists are adapting to the changing information landscape;
  • uses examples to lay out the core priorities of leading successful digital programs;
  • covers the essentials of getting started, from vision and mission building to identifying resources and partnerships;
  • emphasizes the importance of digitizing original unique materials found in library and archives collections, and suggests approaches to the selection process;
  • addresses metadata and key technical standards;
  • discusses management and daily operations, including assessment, enhancement, sustainability, and long-term preservation planning;
  • provides guidance for marketing, promotion, and outreach, plus how to take into account such considerations as access points, intended audiences, and educational and instructional components;  and
  • includes exercises designed to help readers define their own digital projects and create a real-world digital program plan.

Equally valuable for LIS students just learning about the digital landscape, information professionals taking their first steps to create digital content, and organizations who already have well-established digital credentials, Purcell's book outlines methods applicable and scalable to many different types and sizes of libraries and archives.

List of Figures



Part I    The Theory and Reality of Digital Libraries

Chapter 1    Growth of Digital Libraries




  • Brief History of Digital Libraries
  • Perspectives from Related Professions
  • Challenges of Technology
  • Original and Unique Digital Content
  • Key Points
  • Notes

Chapter 2    Context of Today's Libraries and Digital Libraries



  • Changing Roles for Libraries
  • Fewer Resources, Greater Expectations
  • Library Spaces
  • Assessing the Changes
  • Scholarly Communication and Open Access
  • Management, Storage, and Curation of Data
  • Digital Collections
  • Key Points
  • Notes

Chapter 3    Digitization and Digital Libraries



  • Stages of Digitization
  • Why Digitize
  • What to Digitize
  • Whom to Include
  • When and Where to Digitize
  • How to Digitize
  • Key Points
  • Notes


Part II    Building Digital Library Programs: A Step-by-Step Process

Chapter 4    Vision and Mission Building


  • The Mission Statement
  • Vision Building
  • Sustaining and Adapting the Vision
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 5    Identifying Resources and Partnerships



  • Who You Are
  • Whom You Know and Want to Know
  • What You Have and What You Need
  • Grants and External Funding Opportunities
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 6    Evaluating, Selecting, and Building Digital Collections



  • Evaluating Digital Collections
  • The Power of Primary Sources
  • Types of Unique Collections for Selection
  • Selection of Materials
  • Copyright and Other Rights
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 7    Technical Standards



  • Technical Workflows and Documentation
  • The Value of Metadata
  • Technical Elements of Digitization
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 8    Management of Digital Projects



  • Librarians as Managers
  • Managing Budgets
  • Outsourcing and Vendors
  • Planning the Work
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 9    Outreach and Instruction



  • The Principle and Reality of Access
  • Reaching Audiences
  • Educational Components
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 10    Promotion, Assessment, and Sustainability



  • Generating Interest
  • Assessing Effectiveness
  • Enhancing and Sustaining the Effort
  • Key Points
  • Questions
  • Notes

Chapter 11    Planning Digital Library Programs



  • Transition from Project to Program
  • Strategies for Building Digital Library Programs
  • Notes


Part III    Digital Library Planning Exercises

Exercise 1    Vision Building
Exercise 2    Resource List
Exercise 3    Collections List
Exercise 4    Technical Strengths
Exercise 5    Plan of Work
Exercise 6    Education Plan
Exercise 7    Marketing Plan
Exercise 8    Project Plan


Aaron D. Purcell

Aaron D. Purcell is professor and director of special collections at Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee, his master's of library science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his master's degree in history from the University of Louisville. Purcell has also worked at the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, and the University of Tennessee.

Purcell is an active scholar, writing in the fields of history and archives. The University of Tennessee Press published his first academic book, White Collar Radicals: TVA's Knoxville Fifteen, the New Deal, and the McCarthy Era, in 2009. Purcell is completing an edited book on New Deal and Great Depression historiography for Kent State University Press, he is the editor of The Journal of East Tennessee History, and he is finishing a book on Arthur E. Morgan, the first chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority.He has written articles on archival topics for the American Archivist, Archival Outlook, IMJ, and the Journal of Archival Organization. Purcell is an active member of the Society of American Archivists, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and the Southern Historical Association.

"Purcell's knowledge of digital library programs and experience in the field comes through in the depth of information provided and in the organization of the book. The large practical component makes this book especially valuable for new project managers."

”Purcell approaches the digitization of collections as an ongoing effort, and provides a framework for librarians to properly do so … A tremendously helpful resource for those individuals who are digitizing their collection for the first time, or for those who are adding to their current digital collection."

”An experience-based, detailed overview of the digitization process from soup to nuts, for creation of digital library projects and conversion to sustainable digital library programs. It will read familiar to experienced professionals and provide a workable blueprint for neophytes."
— Catholic Library World

"Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation."
— Library Bookwatch