Building the ship while sailing it: Evolving workflows at WSUL Digital Collections

From images of the first human-to-human heart transplant performed in the United States to photographs taken for the Detroit News between 1860 and 1980, the Wayne State University Libraries Digital Collections is a treasure trove of digital images, texts, and audio visual materials. At present the 47,000 items in the collection amount to about three terabytes of data, but Graham Hukill, Cole Hudson, Amelia Mowry and others working in concert with staff at the Walter P. Reuther Library and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) expect that to grow to twenty terabytes in the near future.

As the WSUL Digital Collections team anticipates ingesting new digital files from both the Reuther Library and the DPLA, they are looking for new ways to better manage the process and to meet the standards required of a trustworthy digital repository. Not satisfied with the existing solutions, Hukill and company have been testing new workflows and processes. He described where the team began and where they are headed in a candid presentation to the student chapter of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance at WSU School of Library and Information Science on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

In the presentation, Hukill outlined the multistep process required to move an object described in ArchiveSpace through digitization, file preservation, translation to searchable formats, and finally into a user-friendly interface. The team has struggled with how to define content models for different kinds of digital files and with how to represent the relationships between digital files and collections to end users.

For a more complete picture of the processes the team explored, the problems they’ve encountered, and the progress they’ve made, please view the full presentation at: https://connect.slis.wayne.edu/p3x2uqkpgu2/

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About Lori Eaton

Writer / Editor / Copyeditor

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