The photo collection of the IU East Archives is available online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/iuelibrary but ideally would be searchable with metadata through the IU Digital Library Program. Certainly offering more collections online would increase their visibility, their usage, and hopefully encourage deeper research into the institutional history of Indiana University East. So what’s stopping us?
Digitization is a very costly project. This includes the cost of a quality scanner, storage of digital files, and the training and time required for staff to properly scan archival materials based on scanning and metadata guidelines. The Indiana State Library, through the Indiana Memory project, has a solution for smaller archives struggling to digitize their collections. Connie Rendfeld, Digital Initiatives Librarian of the Indiana State Library discussed mobile scanning units offered by the ISL. These units can be loaned out for a short length of time and Indiana State Library staff provide scanning and metadata guidelines. ISL offers free hosting of digital files through Indiana Memory, allowing those institutions with limited server space to store some of their more heavily-used materials online where patrons can gain ready access.
Connie opened up new possibilities for the Indiana University East Archives when she spoke about digital outreach within libraries, museums, and archives. She discussed results of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) national survey of library and museum usage that indicated individuals are interested in expanding their use of digital collections of historical materials. This report provides encouragement for libraries to increase digitization efforts, despite small size and limited budgets.
Such opportunities could help to expand the use of archival resources and provide convenient access for learning about IU East history. Are there specific collections you would like to see more readily available? Are there elements of IU East history that you would like to find in a specific digital collection? Let us know what you would like to search for in an online IU East Archives collection. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 765-973-8204 or stop by the circulation desk in the Library (Hayes Hall) and let’s talk digital!