Collaboration Leads to Enhanced On-Demand Digitization

The University of Houston Libraries leverages the power of partnerships to enrich services locally and expand impact globally. An interdepartmental project focusing on the improvement of on-demand digitization is just the latest example of the Libraries’ collaborative outcomes.

On-Demand Digitization

On-Demand Digitization

Librarians and staff in Metadata and Digitization Services (MDS), Special Collections, and Web Services coordinated on an effort to streamline the existing on-demand digitization service, resulting in a better experience for both internal and external users.

On-demand digitization allows patrons to request high-resolution images of Special Collections materials that are not currently available in the UH Digital Library (UHDL). Now, patrons can request more images, receive preservation-grade images faster, and enjoy a seamless user experience.

The origin of the project grew from an assessment of the process, which revealed a need for increased capacity to handle larger requests; practices aligned with the standards of UHDL projects; and a framework for the potential preservation and access of images scanned on an ad-hoc, on-demand basis.

Special Collections manages the patron interaction, assists with reference requests, identifies the materials needed for scanning, and provides customer service. Special Collections also records metadata describing the images so that they can be searched and reused in future requests. MDS provides professional-grade equipment and expertise in digitizing the requested materials, applying file-naming conventions and imaging standards in line with the UHDL. The improvements to the workflow allow each department to focus on what they each do best.

Web Services developed an internal app that notifies MDS of the request and enables the uploading of individual images associated with the specified metadata from Special Collections. It also allows a check for prior digitization. What was once manual workflow has now been upgraded and accelerated with the use of the internal app. The benefit to patrons is the ability to download requested images as soon as they become available through an automated download link.

“The enhanced service was built upon existing practices and technology that we have here in the library,” said Drew Krewer, digitization services coordinator. “It’s also unique in that we customized the most ideal workflow for the two departments, keeping in mind that we needed to streamline things to receive the requests as soon as possible and send the images to the users as soon as possible.”

The project is nearing the end of its pilot phase and the team has received positive feedback. Next steps involve identifying the best mode of access to the collection and materials. The team hopes future users will be able to benefit from imaging work already completed, perhaps through an access system such as the UHDL.

Comments are closed.

Posted on May 3rd, 2016 by Esmeralda Fisher and filed under Announcements | Comments Off on Collaboration Leads to Enhanced On-Demand Digitization