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Final Metadata Review: Proposed Criteria and Workflow Between Archives, Scanning Services, and Metadata for Improved Digitization and Online Publication of Analog Collection Content

This LibGuide is intended to better identify criteria and needs in preparing and submitting collection metadata for final review. The steps proposed in this LibGuide are an effort to clarify the necessary steps and procedures for preparing good quality m

Comprehensive Review: Collection Processing (Archives)

1. Consider the metadata guidelines of the supplied data dictionary.

  1. Understand what values should be consistently, readily applied
  2. Determine what values you need to be prepared to create and how, including:
    • Title
    • Description
    • Creator
    • Date
    • Genre and Material Type (Please note that the data dictionary will offer a suggestion of the most appropriate term to use across the majority of material, but we still need you to keep a discerning eye out for content of a different genre type.)
  3. Ask questions of the metadata team if anything is not clearly understood in the data dictionary

Comprehensive Review: Collection Processing (Archives)

2. Examine the collection as a whole versus isolated parts and/or images.

For initial processing, a collection may be split up between multiple people to expedite preliminary description and organization of collection content.

However, for accurate and complete resource description (and good metadata), we need a layer of review where one curator surveys the collection as a whole and unites all the parts previously processed in isolation.  This final curator would ideally be a faculty or staff member, equipped with archival training and expertise.

As part of their comprehensive collection review, the final curator would:

  1. Develop a complete and thorough knowledge of the collection’s contents, including:
    • the kinds of material included (genres);
    • the subjects, persons, places and time covered (for title and description); and
    • the origins of the collection (how it came to be, who created it, for what purpose).
  2. From this knowledge, fill in missing knowledge gaps.
    • Group photographs featuring the same people, places, and events.
    • Try to identify as many people, places, and events as possible.  Apply knowledge gained from transcriptions/insights of the creators/donors on some photographs across all images featuring the same people, places, and events.
    • Try to leave as few photographs as possible with unknown variables.  Entities should not be left unknown in some photographs if they are identified and clearly labeled in others.
  3. Implement collection organization by identifying and grouping related content together into series.  (For metadata development, items in a series will need to share a common title, with a numbering sequence to help distinguish individual components.)

This knowledge of the collection’s contents, and its assembly into a meaningful, navigable body of work, will be vital for:

  • effective filenaming with digitization;
  • creating strong, cohesive, accurate metadata; and
  • answering questions at the time of final metadata review.

Comprehensive Review: Collection Processing (Archives)

3. Verify we have rights to all materials within the collection.

This is an IMPORTANT STEP to determine what we can publish online.

Any material for which rights are questionable, we advise holding until an official determination can be reached.

By the time of metadata review, only items for which we have the rights should be included.

Comprehensive Review: Collection Processing (Archives)

4. Weed out any collection material deemed unsuitable for digitization and online publication.

Prior to submitting collection content for digitization, we recommend:

  1. Finalizing the desired organization of the collection, including ordering of items within series; and
  2. Weeding out material deemed unsuitable for online publication.

Having the collection organized prior to digitization may allow for better determination of filenaming convention, as well as assignment of filenames in consecutive order to reflect the collection’s overall organization.  This will facilitate metadata creation and pairing correct metadata with the appropriate file.

Collection materials automatically unsuitable for online publication include:

  • Material for which we do not have the rights (e.g., newspaper clippings)

Additional collection materials that may be unsuitable for online publication may include:

  • Duplicate images
  • Inappropriate/questionable content (e.g., nudity)
  • Images of too poor or compromised quality
    • For these, we may want to consult with the digital librarian to see if the digitization effort is worth preserving such material.