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Archives & Museum Informatics



Managing Digital Access Projects

Peter Hirtle, Cornell University, USA
Carol DeNatale, Luna Imaging Inc., USA

Session: Managing Digital Access Projects

This workshop will explore the issues involved in planning and executing digital access projects. The workshop will stress the importance of clear program goals in any web digital access project and how to formulate them, establish benchmarks, identify relevant standards and launch appropriate collaborations. With clear program goals in mind, discussion can then turn to the range of digitization hardware and software options available that can meet those needs, requirements for digital storage needs, access mechanisms and data requirements for providing usable access, and the staffing and work flow. Finally, the workshop will address management issues associated with the creation of metadata to accompany digital images. Digital images by themselves are of little use, unless they are accompanied with metadata that can describe, control, and provide access points to the images. Managers of digital access projects must also consider options for the staffing, work flow, and costs associated with metadata creation.

The workshop will be presented by the Co-Project Directors of an ongoing project at Cornell University to digitize the holdings of its art museum. Peter Hirtle works for the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections and continues to oversee the project, and Carol DeNatale currently works for Luna Imaging, in the capacity of Project Manager. During the first 18 months of the project, over 15,000 images have been successfully digitized using a combination of multiple high-end digital cameras capturing directly from the original work of art; scanning of photographic transparencies of works of art; and conversion of slides at a service bureau. Web access and Kiosk access are currently available

Throughout the workshop Cornell's experience in creating and controlling digital images for delivery on the web will be cited as a real-life case study. Participants in the workshop should leave with a better understanding of, and some possible solutions for, the complexities (and some of the pitfalls) associated with managing a large digital access project.

1) Overview of the project:

2) Articles on the project's launch:


9:00-10:00 Introduction

Discussion of goals

10:00-10:30 Project planning

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-12:00 Benchmarks & standards


12:00-1:00 Lunch on your own

1:00-1:30 Capture methods

1:30-2:00 Storage methods

2:00-2:30 Data requirements

2:30-3:00 Staffing & workflow

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-3:45 Access via the World Wide Web

3:45-4:15 Long-term issues

4:15-5:00 Concluding remarks