Last week I had the privilege of participating in the
Dartmouth College Library eResources Fair. eWhatses Fair, you ask? Let me explain.
As part of its many services to the Dartmouth community, the Library provides access to a HUGE number of electronic resources for Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff. These include scholarly databases, electronic journals, ebooks, streaming music and video, newspapers, and so much more. We have such a wide variety of eResources that it can often be overwhelming to try and navigate them all. Enter the eResources Fair.
This annual event is an opportunity for anyone on campus to come learn more about the eResources available for use through the library. They get the chance to learn about what eResources we have, talk directly with vendors about how a product can help with their research and find out exactly where and how to access these materials.
So what is a Preservation Specialist doing at the eResources Fair? Let me explain further. Part of my job is to coordinate the workflow between Digital Production and Preservation Services. Digital Production is the unit in the library that does in-house digitization of library collections. For most paper-based materials (books, manuscripts, photographs, etc.) the digitization process involves scanning the item, editing the scanned image, adding metadata, and publishing it online. That's a very simplified explanation, and more information on Digital Production can be found here. In any case, some of the Preservation staff spend part of their time in Digital Production doing this digitization work.
But digitization isn't only about scanning and publishing. Often items, such as books or manuscripts, need to be repaired prior to beginning the digitization process to ensure that they aren't damaged during scanning. The Conservation team within Preservation Services is directly responsible for those repairs.
Since I'm involved in coordinating many steps of the digitization process, from planning to repair to scanning, I'm very familiar with the kinds of materials that get digitized, how digitization works, and how the final digital product is made available online. And that's how I ended up at the eReources Fair, telling students and faculty about the wonderful collections that are now available for web access, anytime and anywhere!
To explore these collections yourself, visit the Digital Collections page at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/digital/collections/index.html
Written by Helen K. Bailey
Photography by Joseph Mehling '69 used with permission