Digitization process

Hardware and Software

The EMC Corporation donated the software and hardware necessary to build our digital asset management system (DAMS). We use Captiva InputAccel ScanPlus to scan textual documents (photographs and AV items are digitized differently), and Documentum to import, describe, and manage all of our digital assets. The high quality files we create are stored permanently on an EMC Centera, which is a high capacity storage unit. One Centera is housed at the Library, while a second Centera is housed at Iron Mountain in Boyers, Pennsylvania for disaster recovery purposes. Lower resolution renditions of our images are stored locally, and are used for internal work and for delivery to the Web. Read more about our technical specifications.

Levels of Description

We describe the majority of our textual collections at the file level. Choosing this level of description provides a practical compromise between broad, collection-level description and the time-consuming practice of item-level description; it allows Library staff to process digital materials more efficiently while still providing robust metadata that facilitates their search and discovery. Additionally, file-level access in the digital environment mirrors the research room experience; in both cases researchers review one folder of material at a time while still maintaining its context in relation to other materials.

All audiovisual materials and museum artifacts in our collections are described at the item level, which reflects the needs of most researchers we serve.

We invite you to download our data dictionaries for Collection records and Textual folders.