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Penn State University Libraries

Digital Collections Review Team Digital Toolkit

  • Timeline: Annual calendar including dates for submitting proposals
  • Useful Links:
    • UL Strategic Plan
    • Subject Specialists (useful for finding collaborators)
    • Copyright Information


Bonnie Osif, Chair, DCRT

Success!! Usability and Publicity

After your proposal has been accepted, Digitization and Preservation will take on the role of project manager.

As projects move from the idea stage to a collections processing and production phase, working primarily with the Digitization and Preservation Department staff, you as the project leader will be called upon to assist with this workflow. During this phase you may be asked to compile a spreadsheet of holdings, count pages, verify completeness, de-dupe the collection, quickly respond to questions about the collection for cataloging purposes (update bibliographic or holdings records), locate missing holdings to fill gaps or replace damaged content, make decisions on the stabilization and/or rehousing of original materials, review metadata descriptive elements, provide rights and reproduction statements, conceptualize user access to the on-line collection, offer splash page design ideas that introduces the collection to the public, and many more tasks too numerous to list.

  • When your collection is loaded into the digital repository, you will then work with Karen Schwentner and Patricia Hswe to develop your website. You will work with them to determine content, both text and images, you want for the web pages and what custom search queries you want to highlight as part of your collection. You will then view a draft of the website and have an opportunity to make changes. After you approve the site, a persistent URL will be created and your digital collection will be cataloged.
  • Usability studies

As soon as the website is available, work with Patricia Hswe to conduct a usability study. Users in this study should include novices and experts. Experts and or staff should test the site to make sure that content and metadata are accurate and that search results are relevant and complete.

  • Publicity

First, preach to your choir. Your proposal identified key user communities. Send high quality announcements to the key figures in relevant fields announcing the opening of the site. Consider how your user groups communicate—do they belong to organizations with listserv and newsletters? Send an announcement of the opening of the online collection to the newsletter, consider a box advertisement (PRAM can add graphics for more impact). Ask repositories with related materials to link to your site, and link to theirs. Think globally; other countries may have superior means of distributing information about digital collections.

Second, test your site’s “goggle-ability” on a regular basis

Third, monitor site statistics and user domains.

Fourth, enhance the website over time with related links, subject guides, and additional materials. This will increase its search engine rank and improve access. Updates also present the opportunity to repeat announcements about the site to its key stakeholders.