Adapting Culture in Transit for public digitization projects

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December 2, 2016 by jillclever

On November 5, 2016, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library held its very first public digitization event. The event was titled “Preserve Your Personal Story: Veterans” and was planned as a Veterans Day program, along with other several other TLCPL programs. We originally got the idea to scan materials outside of our Local History and Genealogy department from Culture in Transit. The idea behind these events is to go out into the community and digitize materials that, otherwise, may be lost over time. While we are planning to take our mobile kits out on the road, we first wanted to test of the program at our Main Library in order to work out any kinks.

Since we based this event on Culture in Transit, we based our planning process loosely on their planning recommendations. Determining location and date, staffing needs, and theme were at the top of our planning list. Once we determined those, we reserved a space to hold the event and began to work on a marketing plan. We started to work with our Marketing Department three to four months before the event. At this time, we also started to create forms and documents that would need to be printed for the event. These documents included the digitization form, the inventory form, and the feedback form.  We also planned to give out a brochure on digital preservation, so we started to work on that three months before, so that it could be beautified by one of our graphic designers. The month of the event, we wrote a blog post and we finalized marketing and social media plans. We also selected a documentary to play in the background and got the rights to do so. Exactly a month out, we also did a test run with staff. The week of the event, we made sure we had all forms and documents needed and charged the necessary equipment.

Before we even started planning this event, we already had the equipment necessary. We purchased said equipment with a grant that we received for digitization equipment. The most crucial pieces include three Epson V600 and one Epson V800 scanners, four Dell laptops, and four Canon Rebels, as well as equipment to easily transport all of these pieces. We only used two of the Epson V600 for this first event because we were not sure what the turnout would be.

So, how did it go? We had eleven people in total. Five came with relevant items for us to scan, one of which brought items that were too large to scan. Six customers left with flash drives on which their documents were saved and five came for the refreshments and/or to check out what was going on. While those that brought items to scan did stick to the event theme, it is unlikely that we will add any of them to Ohio Memory due to privacy concerns. We did connect with a donor that has series of WWII letters that she would like to have scanned though, so that was a win.

After the event, we moved all of the files to a backup hard drive and filled out assessment forms.

What worked well? The technology went well and there were no glitches. People adhered to the item limit (10). Customers seemed to enjoy the documentary while they waited for their items to be scanned. What did we learn and what could we do better? We need to shorten the digitization agreements for these events, as they look much too long to scan. We need to make the inventory form larger, so that people can more easily fill it out. We would like to highlight previously digitized items more at the next event, either at a computer or on an iPad. Next time, we hope to have people sign-up for the event online beforehand, so that we have a better idea of attendance and can staff accordingly. Perhaps most importantly, as we talked through the marketing strategy after the first event, we began to realize that the most successful way to administer these mobile kit events may be to partner directly with a local organization or historical society and go to them, which is more in line with what Culture in Transit recommends. Now that we have staff trained and technology figured out, we are excited to try this new method!




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