Category Archives: Announcements

We’re hiring!

The Digital Production Center (DPC) is looking to hire a Digitization Specialist to join our team! The DPC team is on the forefront of enabling students, teachers, and researchers to continue their research by digitizing materials from our library collections.  We get to work with a variety of unique and rare materials (in a multitude of formats), and we use professional equipment to get the work done. Imagine working on digitizing papyri and comic books – the spectrum is far and wide! Get a glimpse of the collections that have been digitized by DPC staff by checking out our Duke Digital Collections.

Also, the people are really nice (and right now, we’re working in a socially distanced manner)!

More information about the job description can be found here. The successful candidate should be detailed-oriented, possess excellent organizational, project management skills, have scanning experience, and be able to work independently and effectively in a team environment. This position is part of the Digital Collections and Curation Services department and will report to the Digital Production Services manager.

More information about Duke’s benefit package can be found at https://hr.duke.edu/benefits. For more information and to apply, please submit an electronic resume, cover letter, and a list of 3 references to https://library.duke.edu/about/jobs/digitizationspecialist. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

2020 Highlights from Digital Collections

Welcome to the 2020 digital collections round up!

In spite of the dumpster fire of 2020, Duke Digital Collections had a productive and action packed year (maybe too action packed at times). 

Per usual we launched new and added content to existing digital collections (full list below). We are also wrapping up our mega-migration from our old digital collections system (Tripod2) to the Duke Digital Repository! This migration has been in process for 5 years, yes 5 years. We plan to celebrate this exciting milestone more in January so stay tuned. 

A classroom and auditorium blueprint, digitized for a patron and launched this month.

The Digital Production Center, in collaboration with the Rubenstein Library, shifted to a new folder level workflow for patron and instruction requests. This workflow was introduced just in time for the pandemic and the resulting unprecedented number of digitization requests.  As a result of the demand for digital images, all project work has been put aside and the DPC is focusing on patron and instruction requests only. Since late June, the DPC has produced over 40,000 images!  

Another digital collections highlight from 2020 is the development of new features for our preservation and access interface, the Duke Digital Repository.  We have wasted no time using these new features especially “metadata only”  and the DDR to CONTENTdm connection

Looking ahead to 2021, our priorities will be the folder level digitization workflow for researcher and instruction requests. The DPC received 200+ requests since June, and we need to get all those digitized folders moved into the repository. We are also experimenting with preserving scans created outside of the DPC. For example Rubenstein Library staff created a huge number of access copies using reading room scanners, and we would like to make them available to others.  Lastly, we have a few bigger digital collections to ingest and launch as well. 

Thanks to everyone associated with Digital Collections for their incredible work this year!!  Whew, it has been…a year. 

One of our newest digital collections features postcards from Greece: Salonica / Selanik / Thessaloniki
One of the Radio Haiti photographs launched recently.

Laundry list of 2020 Digital Collections

New Collections

Digital Collections Additions

Migrated Collections

Access for One, Access for All: DPC’s Approach towards Folder Level Digitization

Earlier this year and prior to the pandemic, Digital Production Center (DPC) staff piloted an alternative approach to digitize patron requests with the Rubenstein Library’s Research Services (RLRS) team. The previous approach was focused on digitizing specific items that instruction librarians and patrons requested, and these items were delivered directly to that person. The alternative strategy, the Folder Level digitization approach, involves digitizing the contents of the entire folder that the item is contained in, ingesting these materials to the Duke Digital Repository (to enable Duke Library staff to retrieve these items), and when possible, publishing these materials so that they are available to anyone with internet access. This soft launch prepared us for what is now an all-hands-on-deck-but-in-a-socially-distant-manner digitization workflow.

Giao Luong Baker assessing folders in the DPC.

Since returning to campus for onsite digitization in late June, the DPC’s primary focus has been to perfect and ramp up this new workflow. It is important to note that the term “folder” in this case is more of a concept and that its contents and their conditions vary widely. Some folders may have 2 pages, other folders have over 300 pages. Some folders consists of pamphlets, notebooks, maps, papyri, and bound items. All this to say that a “folder” is a relatively loose term.

Like many initiatives at Duke Libraries, Folder Level Digitization is not just a DPC operation, it is a collaborative effort. This effort includes RLRS working with instructors and patrons to identify and retrieve the materials. RLRS also works with Rubenstein Library Technical Services (RLTS) to create starter digitization guides, which are the building blocks for our digitization guide. Lastly, RLRS vets the materials and determines their level of access. When necessary, Duke Library’s Conservation team steps in to prepare materials for digitization. After the materials are digitized, ingest and metadata work by the Digital Collections and Curation Services as well as the RLTS teams ensure that the materials are preserved and available in our systems.

Kristin Phelps captures a color target.

Doing this work in the midst of a pandemic requires that DPC work closely with the Rubenstein Library Access Services Reproduction Team (a section of RLRS) to track our workflow using a Google Doc. We track the point where the materials are identified by RLRS, through multiple quarantine periods, scanning, post processing, file delivery, to ingest. Also, DPC staff are digitizing in a manner that is consistent with COVID-19 guidelines. Materials are quarantined before and after they arrive at the DPC, machines and workspaces are cleaned before and after use, capture is done in separate rooms, and quality control is done off site with specialized calibrated monitors.

Since we started Folder Level digitization, the DPC has received close to 200 unique Instruction and Patron requests from RLRS. As of the publication of this post, 207 individual folders (an individual request may contain several folders) have been digitized. In total, we’ve scanned and quality controlled over 26,000 images since we returned to campus!

By digitizing entire folders, we hope this will allow for increased access to the materials without risking damage through their physical handling. So far we anticipate that 80 new digital collections will be ingested to the Duke Digital Repository. This number will only grow as we receive more requests. Folder Level Digitization is an exciting approach towards digital collection development, as it is directly responsive to instruction and researcher needs. With this approach, it is access for one, access for all!

Announcing New Features in the Duke Digital Repository

Last week the Duke University Libraries (DUL) development team released a new version of the Duke Digital Repository (DDR), which is the preservation and access platform for digitized, born digital, and purchased library collections. DDR is developed and maintained by DUL staff and it is built using Samvera, Valkyrie and Blacklight components (read all about our migration to Valkyrie which concluded in early 2020).

Look at that beautiful technical metadata!

The primary goal of our new repository features are to provide better support for and access to born digital records. The planning for this work began more than 2 years ago, when the Rubenstein Libraries’ Digital Records Archivist joined the Digital Collections Implementation Team (DCIT) to help us envision how DDR and our workflows could better support born digital collections. Conversations on this topic began between the Rubenstein Library and Digital Strategies and Technology well before that.

Back in 2018, DCIT developed a list of user stories to address born digital records as well as some other longstanding needs. At the time we evaluated each need based on its difficult and impact and then developed a list of high, medium and low priority features.  Fast forward to late 2019, and we designated 3 folks from DCIT to act as product owners during development.  Those folks are our Metadata Architect (Maggie Dickson), Digital Records Archivist ([Matthew] farrell), and me (Head of Digital Collections and Curation Services). Development work began in earnest in Jan/February and now after many meetings, user story refinements, more meetings, and actual development work here we are!

Notable new features include:

  • Metadata only view of objects: restrict the object but allow the public to search and discover its metadata
  • Expose technical metadata for components in the public interface
  • Better access to full text search in CONTENTdm from DDR

As you can see above we were able to fit in a few non-born digital records related features. This is because one of our big priorities is finishing the migration from our legacy Tripod 2 platform to DDR in 2020. One of the impediments to doing so (in addition migrating the actual content) is that Tripod 2 connects with our CONTENTdm instance, which is where we provide access to digitized primary sources that require full text search (newspapers and publications primarily). The new DDR features therefor include enhanced links to our collections in CONTENTdm.

We hope these new features provide a better experience for our users as well as a safe and happy home for our born digital records!

Search full text link on a collection landing page.
Example of the search within an item interface

 

 

Digital Collections 2019

‘Tis the time of year for top 10 lists. Here at Duke Digital Collections HQ, we cannot just pick 10, because all our digital collections are tops!  What follows is a list of all the digital collections we have launched for public access this calendar year.

Our newest collections include a range of formats and subject areas from 19th Century manuscripts to African American soldiers photograph albums to Duke Mens Basketball posters to our first Multispectral Images of papyrus to be ingested into the repository.  We also added new content to 4 existing digital collections.  Lastly, our platform migration is still ongoing, but we made some incredible progress this year as you will see below.  Our goal is to finish the migration by the end of 2020.

New Digital Collections

Additions to Existing Collections

Migrated Collections into the Duke Digital Repository

 

 

 

 

New Digitization Initiative and Call for Proposals

Two years ago, Duke Libraries Advisory Council for Digital Collections launched a new process for proposing digitization projects.  Previously the group accepted new digitization proposals every month. We decided to shift to a “digitization initiative” approach where the Council issues a time-based call for proposals focusing on a theme or format. This new method has allowed staff across different departments to plan and coordinate their efforts more effectively.  

This Fall we are inviting DUL staff to propose Audio and Video (A/V) based collections/items for digitization. DUL staff are welcome to partner with Duke Faculty on their proposals. We chose to focus on A/V formats this year due to the preservation risks associated with the material. Magnetic tape formats are especially fragile compared to film given their composition, and the low availability of players for accessing content.  

The complete call for proposals including criteria and a link to the proposal form is online.  Proposals should be submitted on or before November 18

What about non-A/V digitization proposals? 

The Advisory Council is working on another call for digitization proposals, which is intended to include non-A/V formats (manuscripts, photographs, and more).  We should be able to announce the new call before the end of the calendar year.  Stay tuned!

DUL staff can also submit proposals for small digitization projects anytime as long as they fit the criteria for an “easy” project. Easy projects are small in size and scope and include a wide range of formats; complete guidelines are online along with the proposal form.

 

Join our Team!

Do you have photography skills? Do you want to work with cultural heritage materials? Do you seek a highly collaborative work environment dedicated to preserving and making rare materials digitally available? If so, consider applying to be the next Digitization Specialist at Duke!

The Digitization Specialist produces digital surrogates of rare materials that include books, manuscripts, audio, and moving image collections. The ideal candidate should be detail-oriented, possess excellent organizational, project management skills and an ability to work independently and effectively in a team environment. The successful candidate will join the Digital Collections and Curation Services department and work under the direct supervision of the Digital Production Services manager.

The Digital Production Center (DPC) is a specialized unit dedicated to creating digital surrogates of primary resource materials from Duke University Libraries. Learn more about the DPC on our webpage, or through our department blog, Bitstreams. To get a sense of the variety of interesting and important collections we’ve digitized, immerse yourself in the Duke Digital Collections. We currently have over 640 digital collections comprising of 103,247 items – and we’re looking to do even more with your skills!

Duke is a diverse community committed to the principles of excellence, fairness, and respect for all people. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. We believe that when we understand, celebrate, and tap into our uniqueness to creatively solve problems and address shared goals, our possibilities are limitless. Duke University Libraries value diversity of thought, perspective, experience, and background and are actively committed to a culture of inclusion and respect.

Duke’s hometown is Durham, North Carolina, a city with vibrant research, medical and arts communities, and numerous shops, restaurants and theaters. Durham is located in the Research Triangle, a growing metropolitan area of more than one million people that provides a wide range of cultural, recreational and educational opportunities. The Triangle is conveniently located just a few hours from the mountains and the coast, offers a moderate climate, and has been ranked among the best places to live and to do business.

Duke offers a comprehensive benefit package, which includes traditional benefits such as health insurance, dental, leave time and retirement, as well as wide range of work/life and cultural benefits. More information can be found at: https://hr.duke.edu/benefits. For more information and to apply, please submit an electronic resume, cover letter, and a list of 3 references to https://library.duke.edu/about/jobs/digitizationspecialist. Search for Requisition ID #4778. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Congratulations and farewell to Mike Adamo

This week, Digitization Specialist Mike Adamo will move on from Duke Libraries after 14 years to assume a new position as Digital Imaging Coordinator at the Libraries of Virginia Tech University. Mike has contributed so much to our Digital Collections program during his tenure, providing years of uncompromising still imaging services, stewardship in times of change for the Digital Production Center, as well as leadership of and then years of service on our Digital Collections Implementation Team. He has also been the lead digitization specialist on some of our most well known digital collections like the Hugh Mangum photographs, James Karales photographs and William Gedney collection.

In addition, Mike has been a principal figure on our Multispectral Imaging Team and has been invaluable to our development of this service for the library. He established the setup and led all MSI imaging sessions; collaborated cross-departmentally with other members on the MSI Team to vet requests and develop workflows; and worked with vendors and other MSI practitioners to develop best practices, documentation, and a preservation plan and service model for MSI services at Duke Libraries. He’s also provided maintenance for our MSI equipment, researching options for additional equipment as our program grew.

Side by side comparison of a papyri item under natural light and the same item after multispectral imaging and processing.

We are grateful to Mike for his years of dedication to the job at to the field of cultural heritage digitization as well as for the instrumental role he’s played in developing MSI Services at DUL. We offer a huge thank you to Mike for his work and wish him well in his future position!

Post contributed by Giao Luong Baker and Erin Hammeke

Smart People Who Care

It’s that time of year at the university when we’re working on our PEPs (Performance Evaluation and Planning forms) and I’m thinking about how grateful I am to have such smart staff who really care about their work, their colleagues, and the people they serve, as we advance technology across the libraries. In contrast to some corporate environments, the process here really does aim to help us improve, rather than rank us as a setup for “resource actions” (firings). This excellent article, The Feedback Fallacy by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, reminds me to emphasize the things people do well, and encourage them to build on their strengths.

Attuned to ethical practices within organizations, I’m also excited about increasing awareness of ethics in the effects of the technologies we produce. Justin Sherman, co-founder of the Ethical Tech initiative here at Duke, did a stimulating talk at the Edge Workshop this month about ethical issues that surround technology, such as search engine bias, and AI tools that judges use to determine sentencing for crimes.  Justin recommends this podcast, with Christopher Lydon on Open Source, called Real Education About Artificial Intelligence.  Library staff are participating in the Kenan Institute for Ethics book club program (KIE), where the spring selection is Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble.

And, I’m pleased to exercise my hiring mantra, “smart people who care”, which has served me well for over 30 years, as we’re recruiting candidates with I/T and team leadership experience for a new position, Computing Services Supervisor.

Happy Spring!
Laura Cappelletti
Director, Information Technology Services

We are Hiring: Digital Repository Content Analyst

Duke University Libraries (DUL) is recruiting a Digital Repository Content Analyst to help us ingest and manage content in our digital preservation systems and platforms.  This position will partner with the Research Data Curation Program, Digital Collections Program, and various other departments around the Library and on campus to provide curation and preservation services.  This is an excellent entry level opportunity for anyone who enjoys managing large sets of data and/or files, working with colleagues across an organization, preserving essential data and library collections, and learning new technical skills.

Ideal applicants have been exposed to technical systems and file management techniques such as command line scripting, can communicate functional system requirements between groups with varying types of expertise, enjoys working with different types of data/collections, and loves solving problems.  The successful candidate will join the highly collaborative Digital Collections and Curation Services department (within the Digital Strategies and Technology Division) at DUL.

For a full job description please see https://library.duke.edu/about/jobs/digitalrepositorycontentanalyst. To apply, submit an electronic resume, cover letter, and list of 3 references: https://hr.duke.edu/careers/apply – refer to requisition #401537489. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.