Open Forum

 View Only
  • 1.  Digitization without donation

    Posted 12-07-2018 11:49 AM
    Hello fine colleagues,
    This is my first time posting, but I have been learning so much from the sidelines!  

    I am seeking advice and/or policies on how other institutions handle digitization without formal acquisition.  Often people bring their material to our archives with no intention to donate (or they have already arranged to donate to a different repository).  Instead, they offer to "allow" me to digitize their items (scrapbooks, photographs), retain the digital copies, and return the original material with digital files of high quality scans.  The archives' written policy is that we "do not accept reproductions in lieu of original/primary source material".  However, my concern is these private collections will go back into their dark archives and the content will be lost to our researchers and community.  Sometimes descendants are just not willing to part with their family's original items.  

    Does your repository digitize collections that are not and will not be donated to your institution?  And if so, what do you do with these reproductions?  What is the best way to respond to these types of situations?

    Many thanks,
    Kris Ann Knish
    Archivist and Collections Manager
    Breckenridge Heritage Alliance

  • 2.  RE: Digitization without donation

    Posted 12-10-2018 06:46 AM
    Yes, of course we accept digitized or reproduced materials into our collection, and simply catalog them as such.  There is so much relevant archival material, including articles, artifacts and documents, that we could not possibly collect or house them all.  For some years we have collected microfilmed copies of manuscripts in other institutional collections.  Digitization simply expands that capacity.  In our record keeping we note where the originals are located, when they were acquired, by whom, and with what agency or means they were reproduced.  Depending on the media, emulation with a software program, can extend the reach of a work of art or manuscript to a much wider audience.  Given the opportunity, who would not want to share the treasures and other resources we have at our fingertips?

    Colin Windhorst, PhD
    Digital Curation
    University of Maine
    Orono, Maine, USA

  • 3.  RE: Digitization without donation

    Posted 12-10-2018 03:26 PM
    One note of caution is in regard to the resolution/size of the digital scan as well as the format of the saved file. We have some images in our database that are only scans, which is I think a nice practice--it came out of a community outreach day when we asked people to bring in their old photos--but unfortunately they were scanned at 100%, 300 dpi. That means there is no way to enlarge them for use in an exhibition or even print them in a catalogue. So I'd suggest you scan them at the highest resolution you possibly can, and save it in several different formats. Also, you can ask for a donation form for the full rights to the digital file, including unlimited worldwide distribution and reproduction rights, both online and in print. You do not want researchers, or the museum, to have to go back to the owner if you want to use these images for any reason in the future. So although they retain the original, you have worldwide rights to the image. Your language does not need to say you have exclusive worldwide rights, as obviously they may want to give it to someone else, but you need to establish you have equal rights as any other holder of the image.

    Elisabeth Ward
    Executive Director
    Los Altos History Museum
    Los Altos CA

  • 4.  RE: Digitization without donation

    Posted 12-12-2018 11:34 AM
    We actively collect digital surrogates when donation of the originals is not an option. We developed a set of standards for digital capture and treat digital donations the same way we would a physical object. High quality scans are produced, giving us many options for future use in exhibits, publications, etc. We even have a reprint program that generates a small income stream. The museum has greatly increased the size and scope of collections as a result. 

    Mark Dodge, Curator
    Golden History Museum & Park, City of Golden ​
    Golden, Colorado

    Mark Dodge
    Golden History Museum & Park
    Golden CO

  • 5.  RE: Digitization without donation

    Posted 12-13-2018 05:04 PM
    Edited by Meagan McGowan 12-13-2018 05:04 PM
    Hi Mark,

    What database do you use to collect this information and/or from your experience, what is the best way to capture this information?
    I work for an organization that is not yet collections-based. Though we are not ready to accept artifacts/ donations, we would like to build a digital archive of items that people would like to donate or loan. 

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thank you!

    Meagan McGowan
    Columbus OH

  • 6.  RE: Digitization without donation

    Posted 03-27-2019 11:22 AM
    A little late to this but here at the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame we have a lot of digitized "artifacts."  These are primarily a result of items we had on loan for rotating exhibits.  Prior to breaking down an exhibit we digitize everything.  For those items on loan we tag them with as much information as we can about the individual or group loaning them to us.  This serves a couple of purposes:
    1-It easily allows us to present artifacts and exhibits on-line
    2-We build our "inventory" of near-turnkey exhibits.  So if we want to do the same (or very similar) exhibit in the future we have everything we need, who to contact to "re-borrow" the item, etc.
    3-Very often an item from one exhibit is a great item for a very different, but related exhibit.  I.e. Some items from an exhibit of an individual Inductee may be relevant for an exhibit of a championship team.  Again, with all of the contact information, it allows us to easily "re-borrow" an item.
    4-These also serve as sort of a "marketing tool."  As an example, we had a display that featured an Olympic Gold Medal from the 1948 Olympics.  Naturally the family wanted it returned but we digitized it before returning.  When we were designing an Olympics-focused exhibit we presented the 1948 medal to a family and as a result they loaned us medals (and a beret) from the 1908 and 1912 Olympics.

    One final word is that we "Catalog" these items rather than formally curating them as part of our permanent collection.

    Hope this helps!

    Ken Avallon
    Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame

    Ken Avallon
    Philadelphia PA