Last time I wrote for Bitstreams, I said “Today is the New Future.” It was a day of optimism, as we published for the first time in our next-generation platform for digital collections. The debut of the W. Duke, Sons & Co. Advertising Materials, 1880-1910 was the first visible success of a major effort to migrate our digital collections into the Duke Digital Repository. “Our current plan,” I propounded, “Is to have nearly all of the content of Duke Digital Collections available in the new platform by the end of March, 2016.”
Since then we’ve published a second collection – the Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush Papers – in the new platform, but we’ve also done more extensive planning for the migration. We’ll divide the work into six-week phases or “supersprints” that overlay the shorter sprints of our software development cycle. The work will take longer than I suggested in October – we now project the bulk of it to be completed by the end of the fourth six-week phase, or toward the end of June of this year, with some continuing until deeper in the calendar year.
As it happens, today represents the rollover from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of our plan. Phase 1 was relatively light in its payload. During the next phase – concluding in six weeks on March 28 – we plan to add 24 of the collections currently published in our older platform, as well as two new collections.
As team leader, I take upon myself the hugely important task of assigning mottos to each phase of the project. The motto for Phase 1 was “Plant the seeds in the bottle.” It derives from the story of David Latimer’s bottle garden, which he planted in 1960 and has not watered since Duke Law alum Richard Nixon was president.
This image from from the Friedrich Carl Peetz Photographs, along with many other items from our photography and manuscript collections, will be among those re-published in the Duke Digital Repository during Phase 2 of our migration process.
Imagine, I said to the group, we are creating self-sustaining environments for our collections, that we can stash under the staircase next to the wine rack. Maybe we tend to them once or twice, but they thrive without our constant curation and intervention. Everyone sort of looked at me as if I had suggested using a guillotine as a bagel slicer for a staff breakfast event. But they’re all good sports. We hunkered down, and expect to publish one new collection, and re-publish two of the older collections, in the new platform this week.
The motto for Phase 2 is “Move the needle.” The object here is to lean on our work in Phase 1 to complete a much larger batch of materials. We’ll extend our work on photography collections in Phase 1 to include many of the existing photography collections. We’ll also re-publish many of the “manuscript collections,” which is our way of referring to the dozen or so collections that we previously published by embedding content in collection guides.
If we are successful in this approach, by the end of Phase 2, we’ll have completed a significant portion of the digital collections migrated to the Duke Digital Repository. Each collection, presumably, will flourish, sealed in a fertile, self-regulating environment, like bottle gardens, or wine.
As we’ve written previously, we’re in the process of re-digitizing the William Gedney Photographs, so they will not be migrated to the Duke Digital Repository in Phase 2, but will wait until we’ve completed that project.