News from the Digital Library

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on the progress of our digital library project, and in particular the JISC-funded SAFIR phase which is set to complete at the end of December 2008.  Various people have been asking about the project so here’s a very quick overview of progress over the last few months.  Over the coming weeks I’ll provide some more focussed posts on different aspects of the project work.

Regarding the team – we’re now at full strength with Frank Feng and Peri Stracchino making up our crack technical team and Helen Savage giving us some digitisation power in History of Art and King’s Manor Library.  Matthew Herring and Lucy Jaques are still around doing a whole range of non-technical digital library things.  Matthew has worked specifically on metadata profiling and staffs the History of Art slide library three times a week, offering scanning and general image advice to Academics in the Department.  Lucy works half-time on White Rose Research Online (until next February) and the other half on policy creation and our new electronic key texts pilot.

Part of the reason for our quietness is that we’ve been working hard towards our end of the year deadline and with about 6 weeks to go, we still don’t have very much that can be show to the world.  Having said that though, we have a whole raft of things that are almost ready:

  • We’ve installed the fedora commons software and the muradora interface and are about to upgrade to the latest versions of both.
  • We have almost migrated a large chunk of data and metadata into the digital library software from History of Art and are just in the process of testing small samples before carrying out the grand migration.
  • We’ve been experimenting with access control and have a rough plan for controlling access to the History of Art data (something that we have to do for legal reasons).
  • We’ve created a customised form for creating metadata about images, with lots of nice features.  This is still in testing, but again, is almost ready.  We just have to figure out how to tie it into our larger workflow now (a non-trivial task!).
  • We’ve done a whole heap  of thinking about copyright, the CLA licence and licencing generally and are developing a set of guidelines, a digital image licence and a take-down policy which aims to get maximum public content from deposited images, whilst giving assurances to our depositors and copyright holders.
  • We’ve made a lot of decisions about how fedora will manage images, including what the metadata will be, what files sizes we use, how images will be deposited, how they will be licenced, how access control will work and so on.  This is all documented in the Content Model for Images, soon to be public.

In the wider sense, we have two main strands of work ongoing.  One is our image service for History of Art and King’s Manor – Matthew and Helen now staff the History of Art slide library every day in term-time for three hours, plus Helen spends 7 hours in King’s Manor (Tues/Thurs) re-filing slides, scanning and documenting the slide collections.  The second is our elextronic key texts pilot which is a small project to come up with recommendations for how the Library might extend its work into providing key texts electronically, to complement eBooks and electronic journals.  We have identified a small number of modules and will be exploring how best to acquire, store and make available electronic versions of articles or book chapters.

For more information, please do get in touch with me, subscribe to our blog ( or check out our web page for basic project info ( .  We’ll have a system to show people real soon now and I’ll be writing more about our progress over the coming weeks.

Julie Allinson (ja546 at


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