The 1905 to 1939 Chronicle issues are now live online at the Duke Chronicle Digital Collection. This marks the completion of a multi-year project to digitize Duke’s student newspaper. Not only will digitization provide easier online access to this gem of a collection, but it will also help preserve the originals held in the University Archives. With over 5,600 issues digitized and over 63,000 pages scanned, this massive collection is sure to have something for everyone.
The first two decades of the Chronicle saw its inception and growth as the student newspaper under the title The Trinity Chronicle. In the mid-1920s after the name change to Duke University, the Chronicle followed suit. In Fall of 1925, it officially became The Duke Chronicle.
The Nineteen-teens saw the growth of the university, with new buildings popping up, while others burned down – a tragic fire decimated the Washington Duke Building.
In the shadow of the Great Depression, the 1930s at Duke was a time to unite around a common cause – sports! Headlines during this time, like decades to follow, abounded with games, rivalries, and team pride.
Take the time to explore this great resource, and see how Duke and the world has changed. View it through the eyes of student journalists, through advertisements and images. So much occurred from 1905 to 1989, and the Duke Chronicle was there to capture it.
Post contributed by Jessica Serrao, former King Intern for Digital Collections.
The 1940s and 1950s took Americans from WWII atrocities and scarcities to post-war affluence of sprawling suburbias, mass consumerism, and the baby boom. It marked a time of changing American lifestyles—a rebound from the Great Depression just ten years before. At Duke, these were decades filled with dances and balls and Joe College Weekends, but also wartime limitations.
A year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Duke lost its president of thirty years, William Preston Few. The Chronicle reported Few to be “a remarkable man” who “worked ceaselessly towards [Duke University’s] growth” during a time when it was “a small, practically unheard-of college.” While Duke may have been relatively small in 1940, it boasted a good number of schools and colleges, and a lively social scene. Sorority and fraternity events abounded in the 1940s and 1950s. So, too, did fights to overhaul the fraternity and sorority rushing systems. Social organizations and clubs regularly made the Chronicle’s front page with their numerous events and catchy names, like Hoof ‘n’ Horn, Bench ‘n’ Bar, and Shoe ‘n’ Slipper. These two decades also saw milestone celebrations, like the Chronicle’s 50th anniversary and the 25th Founders’ Day celebration.
Sports was another big headliner. In 1942, Duke hosted the Rose Bowl. Usually played in Pasadena, California, the game was moved to Durham for fear of a Japanese attack on the West Coast during World War II. The 1940s also saw the rivalry between Duke and UNC escalate into violent outbursts. Pranks became more destructive and, in 1945, concerned student leaders pleaded for a “cease-fire.” Among the pranks were cases of vandalism and theft. In 1942, Duke “ramnappers” stole what they believed to be Carolina’s ram mascot, Rameses. It was later discovered they heisted the wrong ram. In 1949, unknown assailants painted the James B. Duke statuein Carolina blue, and Duke administration warned students against retaliation. As one article from 1944 informs us, the painting of Duke property by UNC rivals was not a new occurrence, and if a Carolina painting prankster was captured, the traditional punishment was a shaved head. In an attempt to reduce the vandalism and pranks, the two schools’ student governments introduced the Victory Bell tradition in 1948 to no avail. The pranks continued into the 1950s. In 1951, Carolina stole the Victory Bell from Duke, which was returned by police to avoid a riot. It was again stolen and returned in 1952 after Duke’s victory over Carolina. That year, the Chronicle headline echoed the enthusiasm on campus: BEAT CAROLINA! I urge you to explore the articles yourself to find out more about these crazy hijinks!
The articles highlighted here are only the tip of the iceberg. The 1940s and 1950s Chronicles are filled with entertaining and informative articles on what Duke student life was like over fifty years ago. Take a look for yourself and see what these decades have to offer!
Duke University has a long history of student activism, and the University Archives actively collects materials to document these movements. With the administration’s offices residing in the Allen Building, this is not the first time it is the center of activism activity. The Allen Building Study-In occurred November 13, 1967, the Allen Building Takeover occurred February 13, 1969, and the Allen Building Demonstration occurred in May 1970 to support the Vietnam Moratorium. In light of the current occupation of the Allen Building, we’ve compiled some digital resources you can use to find out more about the history of activism in relation to the 1969 Allen Building Takeover.
The University Archives has a collection of materials from the 1969 Allen Building Takeover, which includes many digitized images available through the online finding aid. This collection also has materials from the 2002 Allen Building lock-in that commemorated 1960s activism at Duke: Guide to the Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002.
WDBS, Duke University’s campus radio station at the time of the 1969 Allen Building Takeover, also broadcasted reports on the event. Listening copies of these recordings are in the Allen Building Takeover Collection, and a list of the broadcasts can be found in the WDBS Collection: Guide to the WDBS Collection, 1949-1983.
Currently, University Archives is documenting the present Allen Building occupation, and has captured over 7,000 tweets with #DismantleDukePlantation. To ensure that Duke activism will continue to be represented in the archives, efforts will be made to collect additional materials related to the occupation.
The 1970s are here! That is, in digital form. The Duke Chronicle digital collection now includes issues from the grooviest decade of the twentieth century.
The American memory of the 1970s is complex, wavering from carefree love to Vietnam and civil rights. As the social turmoil of the 1960s flowed into the 1970s, Terry Sanford was sworn in as president of Duke University. This marked the beginning of his sixteen-year term, but also marked the decade in which Sanford twice ran for president and partook in heated debates with Alabama governor George Wallace. He presided over the university In the midst of the Vietnam War and national protests, the Watergate scandal, and the aftermath of the Allen Building occupation in 1969.
In response to the demands from the Allen Building takeover, the Duke University community worked to improve social inequalities on campus. The 1972 incoming freshman class boasted more than twice as many black students than ever before in university history. Black Studies Program faculty and students struggle to create their own department, which became a controversial event on campus throughout the ‘70s. One Chronicle article even tentatively labeled 1976 as “The Year of the Black at Duke,” reflecting the strides made to incorporate black students and faculty into campus life and academics.
The 1970s was also a decade of change for women at Duke. In 1972, Trinity College and the Woman’s College merged, and not all constituents agreed with the move. Women’s athletics were also shaken by the application of Title IX implemented by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex. This regulation significantly impacted the future of the Physical Education Department as well as women’s sports at Duke.
The addition of the 1970s to the Duke Chronicle digital collection marks a milestone for the Digital Projects and Production Services Department. We can now provide you with a complete run of issues from 1959 to 1989, and the 1950s will be heading your way soon! We invite you to explore the 1970s issues and see for yourself how history unfolded across the nation and across Duke campus.
Duke Libraries’ Digital Collections offer a wealth of primary source material, opening unique windows to cultural moments both long past and quickly closing. In my work as an audio digitization specialist, I take a particular interest in current and historical audio technology and also how it is depicted in other media. The digitized Duke Chronicle newspaper issues from the 1980’s provide a look at how students of the time were consuming and using ever-smaller audio devices in the early days of portable technology.
Sony introduced the Walkman in the U.S. in 1980. Roughly pocket-sized (actually somewhere around the size of a sandwich or small brick), it allowed the user to take their music on the go, listening to cassette tapes on lightweight headphones while walking, jogging, or travelling. The product was wildly successful and ubiquitous in its time, so much so that “walkman” became a generic term for any portable audio device.
The success of the Walkman was probably bolstered by the jogging/fitness craze that began in the late 1970s. Health-conscious consumers could get in shape while listening to their favorite tunes. This points to two of the main concepts that Sony highlighted in their marketing of the Walkman: personalization and privatization.
Previously, the only widely available portable audio devices were transistor radios, meaning that the listener was at the mercy of the DJ or station manager’s musical tastes. However, the Walkman user could choose from their own collection of commercially available albums, or take it a step further, and make custom mixtapes of their favorite songs.
The Walkman also allowed the user to “tune out” surrounding distractions and be immersed in their own private sonic environment. In an increasingly noisy and urbanized world, the listener was able to carve out a small space in the cacophony and confusion. Some models had two headphone jacks so you could even share this space with a friend.
One can see that these guiding concepts behind the Walkman and its successful marketing have only continued to proliferate and accelerate in the world today. We now expect unlimited on-demand media on our handheld devices 24 hours a day. Students of the 1980’s had to make do with a boombox and backpack full of cassette tapes.
Many of my Bitstreams posts have featured old-school audio formats (wax cylinder, cassette and open reel tape, Minidisc) and discussed how we go about digitizing these obsolete media to bring them to present-day library users at the click of a mouse. In this post, I will take a different tack and show how this sound technology was represented and marketed during its heyday. The images used here are taken from one of our very own digital collections–the Duke Chronicle of the 1960s.
Students of that era would have primarily listened to music on vinyl records purchased directly from a local retailer. The advertisement above boasts of “complete stocks, latest releases, finest variety” with sale albums going for as little as $2.98 apiece. This is a far cry from the current music industry landscape where people consume most of their media via instant download and streaming from iTunes or Spotify and find new artists and songs via blogs, Youtube videos, or social media. The curious listener of the 1960’s may have instead discovered a new band though word of mouth, radio, or print advertising. If they were lucky, the local record shop would have the LP in stock and they could bring it home to play on their hi-fi phonograph (like the one shown below). Notice that this small “portable” model takes up nearly the whole tabletop.
Duke students of the 1960s would have also used magnetic tape-based media for recording and playing back sound. The advertisement above uses Space Age imagery and claims that the recorder (“small enough to fit in the palm of your hand”) was used by astronauts on lunar missions. Other advertisements suggest more grounded uses for the technology: recording classroom lectures, practicing public speaking, improving foreign language comprehension and pronunciation, and “adding fun to parties, hayrides, and trips.”
Creative uses of the technology are also suggested. The “Add-A-Track” system allows you to record multiple layers of sound to create your own unique spoken word or musical composition. You can even use your tape machine to record a special message for your Valentine (“the next best thing to you personally”). Amplifier kits are also available for the ambitious electronics do-it-yourselfer to build at home.
These newspaper ads demonstrate just how much audio technology and our relationship to it have changed over the past 50 years. Everything is smaller, faster, and more “connected” now. Despite these seismic shifts, one thing hasn’t changed. As the following ad shows, the banjo never goes out of style.
We experience a number of different cycles in the Digital Projects and Production Services Department (DPPS). There is of course the project lifecycle, that mysterious abstraction by which we try to find commonalities in work processes that can seem unique for every case. We follow the academic calendar, learn our fate through the annual budget cycle, and attend weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings.
The annual reporting cycle at Duke University Libraries usually falls to departments in August, with those reports informing a master library report completed later. Because of the activities and commitments around the opening of the Rubenstein Library, the departments were let off the hook for their individual reports this year. Nevertheless, I thought I would use my turn in the Bitstreams rotation to review some highlights from our 2014-15 cycle.
Today we will take a detailed look at how the Duke Chronicle, the university’s beloved newspaper for over 100 years, is digitized. Since our scope of digitization spans nine decades (1905-1989), it is an ongoing project the Digital Production Center (DPC), part of Digital Projects and Production Services (DPPS) and Duke University Libraries’ Digital Collections Program, has been chipping away at. Scanning and digitizing may seem straightforward to many – place an item on a scanner and press scan, for goodness sake! – but we at the DPC want to shed light on our own processes to give you a sense of what we do behind the scenes. It seems like an easy-peasy process of scanning and uploading images online, but there is much more that goes into it than that. Digitizing a large collection of newspapers is not always a fun-filled endeavor, and the physical act of scanning thousands of news pages is done by many dedicated (and patient!) student workers, staff members, and me, the King Intern for Digital Collections.
Many steps in the digitization process do not actually occur in the DPC, but among other teams or departments within the library. Though I focus mainly on the DPC’s responsibilities, I will briefly explain the steps others perform in this digital projects tango…or maybe it’s a waltz?
Each proposed project must first be approved by the Advisory Council for Digital Collections (ACDC), a team that reviews each project for its strategic value. Then it is passed on to the Digital Collections Implementation Team (DCIT) to perform a feasibility study that examines the project’s strengths and weaknesses (see Thomas Crichlow’s post for an overview of these teams). The DCIT then helps guide the project to fruition. After clearing these hoops back in 2013, the Duke Chronicle project started its journey toward digital glory.
We pull 10 years’ worth of newspapers at a time from the University Archives in Rubenstein Library. Only one decade at a time is processed to make the 80+ years of Chronicle publications more manageable. The first stop is Conservation. To make sure the materials are stable enough to withstand digitizing, Conservation must inspect the condition of the paper prior to giving the DPC the go-ahead. Because newspapers since the mid-19th century were printed on cheap and very acidic wood pulp paper, the pages can become brittle over time and may warrant extensive repairs. Senior Conservator, Erin Hammeke, has done great work mending tears and brittle edges of many Chronicle pages since the start of this project. As we embark on digitizing the older decades, from the 1940s and earlier, Erin’s expertise will be indispensable. We rely on her not only to repair brittle pages but to guide the DPC’s strategy when deciding the best and safest way to digitize such fragile materials. Also, several volumes of the Chronicle have been bound, and to gain the best digital image scan these must be removed from their binding. Erin to the rescue!
Now that Conservation has assessed the condition and given the DPC the green light, preliminary prep work must still be done before the scanner comes into play. A digitization guide is created in Microsoft Excel to list each Chronicle issue along with its descriptive metadata (more information about this process can be found in my metadata blog post). This spreadsheet acts as a guide in the digitization process (hence its name, digitization guide!) to keep track of each analog newspaper issue and, once scanned, its corresponding digital image. In this process, each Chronicle issue is inspected to collect the necessary metadata. At this time, a unique identifier is assigned to every issue based on the DPC’s naming conventions. This identifier stays with each item for the duration of its digital life and allows for easy identification of one among thousands of Chronicle issues. At the completion of the digitization guide, the Chronicle is now ready for the scanner.
The Scanning Process
With all loose unbound issues, the Zeutschel is our go-to scanner because it allows for large format items to be imaged on a flat surface. This is less invasive and less damaging to the pages, and is quicker than other scanning methods. The Zeutschel can handle items up to 25 x 18 inches, which accommodates the larger sized formats of the Chronicle used in the 1940s and 1950s. If bound issues must be digitized, due to the absence of a loose copy or the inability to safely dis-bound a volume, the Phase One digital camera system is used as it can better capture large bound pages that may not necessarily lay flat.
For every scanning session, we need the digitization guide handy as it tells what to name the image files using the previously assigned unique identifier. Each issue of the newspaper is scanned as a separate folder of images, with one image representing one page of the newspaper. This system of organization allows for each issue to become its own compound object – multiple files bound together with an XML structure – once published to the website. The Zeutschel’s scanning software helps organize these image files into properly named folders. Of course, no digitization session would be complete without the initial target scan that checks for color calibration (See Mike Adamo’s post for a color calibration crash course).
The scanner’s plate glass can now be raised with the push of a button (or the tap of a foot pedal) and the Chronicle issue is placed on the flatbed. Lowering the plate glass down, the pages are flattened for a better scan result. Now comes the excitement… we can finally press SCAN. For each page, the plate glass is raised, lowered, and the scan button is pressed. Chronicle issues can have anywhere from 2 to 30 or more pages, so you can image this process can become monotonous – or even mesmerizing – at times. Luckily, with the smaller format decades, like the 1970s and 1980s, the inner pages can be scanned two at a time and the Zeutschel software separates them into two images, which cuts down on the scan time. As for the larger formats, the pages are so big you can only fit one on the flatbed. That means each page is a separate scan, but older years tended to publish less issues, so it’s a trade-off. To put the volume of this work into perspective, the 1,408 issues of the 1980s Chronicle took 28,089 scans to complete, while the 1950s Chronicle of about 482 issues took around 3,700 scans to complete.
Every scanned image that pops up on the screen is also checked for alignment and cropping errors that may require a re-scan. Once all the pages in an issue are digitized and checked for errors, clicking the software’s Finalize button will compile the images in the designated folder. We now return to our digitization guide to enter in metadata pertaining to the scanning of that issue, including capture person, capture date, capture device, and what target image relates to this session (subsequent issues do not need a new target scanned, as long as the scanning takes place in the same session).
Now, with the next issue, rinse and repeat: set the software settings and name the folder, scan the issue, finalize, and fill out the digitization guide. You get the gist.
We now find ourselves with a slue of folders filled with digitized Chronicle images. The next phase of the process is quality control (QC). Once every issue from the decade is scanned, the first round of QC checks all images for excess borders to be cropped, crooked images to be squared, and any other minute discrepancy that may have resulted from the scanning process. This could be missing images, pages out of order, or even images scanned upside down. This stage of QC is often performed by student workers who diligently inspect image after image using Adobe Photoshop. The second round of QC is performed by our Digital Production Specialist Zeke Graves who gives every item a final pass.
At this stage, derivatives of the original preservation-quality images are created. The originals are archived in dark storage, while the smaller-sized derivatives are used in the CONTENTdm ingest process. CONTENTdm is the digital collection management software we use that collates the digital images with their appropriate descriptive metadata from our digitization guide, and creates one compound object for each Chronicle issue. It also generates the layer of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) data that makes the Chronicle text searchable, and provides an online interface for users to discover the collection once published on the website. The images and metadata are ingested into CONTENTdm’s Project Client in small batches (1 to 3 years of Chronicle issues) to reduce the chance of upload errors. Once ingested into CONTENTdm, the items are then spot-checked to make sure the metadata paired up with the correct image. During this step, other metadata is added that is specific to CONTENTdm fields, including the ingest person’s initials. Then, another ingest must run to push the files and data from the Project Client to the CONTENTdm server. A third step after this ingest finishes is to approve the items in the CONTENTdm administrative interface. This gives the go-ahead to publish the material online.
Hold on, we aren’t done yet. The project is now passed along to our developers in DPPS who must add this material to our digital collections platform for online discovery and access (they are currently developing Tripod3 to replace the previous Tripod2 platform, which is more eloquently described in Will Sexton’s post back in April). Not only does this improve discoverability, but it makes all of the library’s digital collections look more uniform in their online presentation.
Then, FINALLY, the collection goes live on the web. Now, just repeat the process for every decade of the Duke Chronicle, and you can see how this can become a rather time-heavy and laborious process. A labor of love, that is.
I could have narrowly stuck with describing to you the scanning process and the wonders of the Zeutschel, but I felt that I’d be shortchanging you. Active scanning is only a part of the whole digitization process which warrants a much broader narrative than just “push scan.” Along this journey to digitize the Duke Chronicle, we’ve collectively learned many things. The quirks and trials of each decade inform our process for the next, giving us the chance to improve along the way (to learn how we reflect upon each digital project after completion, go to Molly Bragg’s blog post on post-mortem reports).
If your curiosity is piqued as to how the Duke Chronicle looks online, the Fall 1959-Spring 1970 and January 1980-February 1989 issues are already available to view in our digital collections. The 1970s Chronicle is the next decade slated for publication, followed by the 1950s. Though this isn’t a comprehensive detailed account of the digitization process, I hope it provides you with a clearer picture of how we bring a collection, like the Duke Chronicle, into digital existence.
Ah, the 1980s…a decade of perms, the Walkman, Jelly shoes, and Ziggy Stardust. It was a time of fashion statements I personally look back on in wonderment.
Fashionable leotards, shoulder pads, and stirrup pants were all the rage. And can we say parachute pants? Thanks, MC Hammer. If you’re craving a blast from the past, we’ve got you covered. The digitized 1980s Duke Chronicle has arrived! Now you can relive that decade of Hill Street Blues and Magnum P.I. from your own personal computer (hopefully,you’re not still using one of these models!).
As Duke University’s student-run newspaper for over 100 years, the Duke Chronicle is a window into the history of the university, North Carolina, and the world. It may even be a window into your own past if you had the privilege of living through those totally rad years. If you didn’t get the chance to live it firsthand, you may find great joy in experiencing it vicariously through the pages of the Chronicle, or at least find irony in the fact that ’80s fashion has made a comeback.
The 1980s also saw racial unrest in North Carolina, and The Duke Chronicle headlines reflected these tense feelings. Many articles illustrate a reawakened civil rights movement. From a call to increase the number of black professors at Duke, to the marching of KKK members down the streets of Greensboro, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolinians found themselves in a continued struggle for equality. Students and faculty at Duke were no exception. Unfortunately, these thirty-year-old Chronicle headlines would seem right at home in today’s newspapers.
The 1980s Chronicle issues can inform us of fashion and pop culture, whether we look back at it with distaste or fondness. But it also enlightens us to the broader social atmosphere that defined the 1980s. It was a time of change and self-expression, and I invite you to explore the pages of the Duke Chronicle to learn more.
The addition of the 1980s issues to the online Duke Chronicle digital collection is part of an ongoing effort to provide digital access to all Chronicle issues from 1905 to 1989. The next decades to look forward to are the 1970s and 1950s. Also, stay tuned to Bitstreams for a more in-depth exploration of the newspaper digitization process. You can learn how we turn the pages of the Duke Chronicle into online digital gold. At least, that’s what I like to think we do here at the Digital Production Center. Until then, transport yourself back to the 1980s, Duke Chronicle style (no DeLorean or flux capacitor necessary).
Before you let your eyes glaze over at the thought of metadata, let me familiarize you with the term and its invaluable role in the creation of the library’s online Digital Collections. Yes, metadata is a rather jargony word librarians and archivists find themselves using frequently in the digital age, but it’s not as complex as you may think. In the most simplistic terms, the Society of American Archivists defines metadata as “data about data.” Okay, what does that mean? According to the good ol’ trusty Oxford English Dictionary, it is “data that describes and gives information about other data.” In other words, if you have a digitized photographic image (data), you will also have words to describe the image (metadata).
Better yet, think of it this way. If that image were of a large family gathering and grandma lovingly wrote the date and names of all the people on the backside, that is basic metadata. Without that information those people and the image would suddenly have less meaning, especially if you have no clue who those faces are in that family photo. It is the same with digital projects. Without descriptive metadata, the items we digitize would hold less meaning and prove less valuable for researchers, or at least be less searchable. The better and more thorough the metadata, the more it promotes discovery in search engines. (Check out the metadata from this Cornett family photo from the William Gedney collection.)
The term metadata was first used in the late 1960s in computer programming language. With the advent of computing technology and the overabundance of digital data, metadata became a key element to help describe and retrieve information in an automated way. The use of the word metadata in literature over the last 45 years shows a steeper increase from 1995 to 2005, which makes sense. The term became used more and more as technology grew more widespread. This is reflected in the graph below from Google’s Ngram Viewer, which scours over 5 million Google Books to track the usage of words and phrases over time.
Because of its link with computer technology, metadata is widely used in a variety of fields that range from computer science to the music industry. Even your music playlist is full of descriptive metadata that relates to each song, like the artist, album, song title, and length of audio recording. So, libraries and archives are not alone in their reliance on metadata. Generating metadata is an invaluable step in the process of preserving and documenting the library’s unique collections. It is especially important here at the Digital Production Center (DPC) where the digitization of these collections happens. To better understand exactly how important a role metadata plays in our job, let’s walk through the metadata life cycle of one of our digital projects, the Duke Chapel Recordings.
The Chapel Recordings project consists of digitizing over 1,000 cassette and VHS tapes of sermons and over 1,300 written sermons that were given at the Duke Chapel from the 1950s to 2000s. These recordings and sermons will be added to the existing Duke Chapel Recordings collection online. Funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, this digital collection will be a great asset to Duke’s Divinity School and those interested in hermeneutics worldwide.
Before the scanners and audio capture devices are even warmed up at the DPC, preliminary metadata is collected from the analog archival material. Depending on the project, this metadata is created either by an outside collaborator or in-house at the DPC. For example, the Duke Chronicle metadata is created in-house by pulling data from each issue, like the date, volume, and issue number. I am currently working on compiling the pre-digitization metadata for the 1950s Chronicle, and the spreadsheet looks like this:
As for the Chapel Recordings project, the DPC received an inventory from the University Archives in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. This inventory contained the preliminary metadata already generated for the collection, which is also used in Rubenstein Library‘s online collection guide.
The University Archives also supplied the DPC with an inventory of the sermon transcripts containing basic metadata compiled by a student.
Here at the DPC, we convert this preliminary metadata into a digitization guide, which is a fancy term for yet another Excel spreadsheet. Each digital project receives its own digitization guide (we like to call them digguides) which keeps all the valuable information for each item in one place. It acts as a central location for data entry, but also as a reference guide for the digitization process. Depending on the format of the material being digitized (image, audio, video, etc.), the digitization guide will need different categories. We then add these new categories as columns in the original inventory spreadsheet and it becomes a working document where we plug in our own metadata generated in the digitization process. For the Chapel Recordings audio and video, the metadata created looks like this:
Once we have digitized the items, we then run the recordings through several rounds of quality control. This generates even more metadata which is, again, added to the digitization guide. As the Chapel Recordings have not gone through quality control yet, here is a look at the quality control data for the 1980s Duke Chronicle:
Once the digitization and quality control is completed, the DPC then sends the digitization guide filled with metadata to the metadata archivist, Noah Huffman. Noah then makes further adds, edits, and deletes to match the spreadsheet metadata fields to fields accepted by the management software, CONTENTdm. During the process of ingesting all the content into the software, CONTENTdm links the digitized items to their corresponding metadata from the Excel spreadsheet. This is in preparation for placing the material online. For even more metadata adventures, see Noah’s most recent Bitstreams post.
In the final stage of the process, the compiled metadata and digitized items are published online at our Digital Collections website. You, the researcher, history fanatic, or Sunday browser, see the results of all this work on the page of each digital item online. This metadata is what makes your search results productive, and if we’ve done our job right, the digitized items will be easily discovered. The Chapel Recordings metadata looks like this once published online:
Further down the road, the Duke Divinity School wishes to enhance the current metadata to provide keyword searches within the Chapel Recordings audio and video. This will allow researchers to jump to specific sections of the recordings and find the exact content they are looking for. The additional metadata will greatly improve the user experience by making it easier to search within the content of the recordings, and will add value to the digital collection.
On this journey through the metadata life cycle, I hope you have been convinced that metadata is a key element in the digitization process. From preliminary inventories, to digitization and quality control, to uploading the material online, metadata has a big job to do. At each step, it forms the link between a digitized item and how we know what that item is. The life cycle of metadata in our digital projects at the DPC is sometimes long and tiring. But, each stage of the process creates and utilizes the metadata in varied and important ways. Ultimately, all this arduous work pays off when a researcher in our digital collections hits gold.
Notes from the Duke University Libraries Digital Projects Team