What we do, in a nutshell
The USU Digital Initiatives Department digitizes materials owned by Utah State University Libraries and hosts them on the web as well as coordinates the Institutional Repository. We select materials based upon their uniqueness, research merit, potential for curriculum support, and appeal. Copyright restrictions, condition of the materials, and extent of data available to describe the materials factor into material selection also. Typically collections spotlight historical photographs, journals, old newspapers, letters, and other interesting items from our Special Collections and Archives. By digitizing these one-of-a-kind or rare materials, the Digital Library opens them up to users everywhere, enhances access by subject and keyword searching, and reduces wear and tear on the originals.
Digital Library staff draw on expertise from all over the Library in creating digital collections. Special Collections and Archives staff work with us in developing project ideas, co-writing and administering grants, selecting materials for digitization, and creating web pages. The Library's Systems Department helps with web page construction and provides technical support of our CONTENTdm software and our Linux server. Cataloging staff create metadata for our digital objects and every project includes a cataloger on the project team. As needed, graphical support for landing pages, webpages, and publicity materials is provided by the Library's graphics designer.
Mountain West Digital Library
Utah State University's Digital Library also functions as a regional hub for the Mountain West Digital Library (mwdl.org), a collaborative project digitizing and/or hosting digital collections from regional cultural heritage institutions (libraries, museums, historical societies, etc.). We are one of MWDL’s regional hosting institutions, each running a CONTENTdm server supporting its own digital collections and supporting partner institutions by providing scanning and hosting services. Interested in partnering with us? Contact Becky Thoms at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collection development policy
The USU Digital Library digitizes, presents, and archives materials according to the following content and selection criteria:
- Content criteria:
Material should fall under one or more of the following content categories to be considered for inclusion in the digital library.
- USU Library or campus analog resources that are unique, rare, and/or of special regional interest and are deemed to warrant conversion to digital format
- Materials that support USU teaching or research
- Materials that support desirable collaborative projects such as the Mountain West Digital Library, GWLA Western Waters Project, etc.
- Selection criteria:
Once material is judged to meet content criteria, it is further evaluated to determine its need, suitability, and priority for digitization. Considerations include:
- Is material already digitally available via other collections or services?
- Is material free of any copyright or use restrictions; if not, can clearance from such be easily obtained?
- Does material already have sufficient information for metadata creation?
- Does material have a satisfactory record of provenance and/or authenticity?
- Does material lend itself to digitization without damaging the original?
- Would digitization of material meet a desired preservation outcome, such as:
- reduce handling of fragile materials
- protect from theft, misuse, or mutilation
- be digitized as part of an overall conservation plan
- Would digitization provide added value over the original format, such as:
- enhance access by addition of hyperlinks, finding aids
- enhance searching and optimize use via database manipulation, search engines, image or data comparisons, etc.
- Would digitization generate institutional prestige?
- Would digitization create opportunities for a revenue stream?
- Would this material complement or complete existing digital resources, either inside or outside USU?
- Would digitization create opportunities for desired collaboration?
- Would digitization eliminate significant limitations in access or use of the originals?
- Would a funding agency be likely to support digitization of this material?
- Does USU Digital Library have sufficient resources (financial, staff, hardware, software, time) to digitize in an efficacious and timely manner?
- Would digitization create desirable opportunities for staff training and development?
Content in this section updated on 1/8/2013