By Shannon Kupfer, Digital and Tangible Media Cataloger, State Library of Ohio
Late in 2008, State Library staff began a survey project of cultural-heritage institutions in Ohio to identify those institutions with digitized content available on the Web. Our goal in so doing was to help build a centrally-located registry of digital collections. The survey project was completed in spring 2009.
Our project began after learning of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s project, IMLS Digital Content and Collections (DCC), and its sister project, Opening History. Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the DCC was created in an effort to create a registry of IMLS-funded digitization projects. Opening History was created as a companion to the DCC and functions as a registry for both IMLS-funded projects and those collections that were not funded by the IMLS. To be included, content must simply be presented as a collection or as multiple collections on the Web. Ohio, with its rich cultural history, features a number of digitization projects, and so the State Library was extremely interested in assuring that Ohio collections were included in the registry. “We anticipate that the Opening History project will provide increased access and expanded awareness of online digitized content to Ohio institutions of all sizes,” said State Librarian Jo Budler. “For that reason, we are very pleased to offer this service and participate in this exciting project.”
As our survey progressed, we were thrilled to discover the fantastic work Ohio libraries, genealogical societies, museums, historical societies, and so on, have done in an effort to provide virtual access to their special collections. We also realized that our project goals were too narrow; while some of Ohio’s fantastic resources would fit the criteria for either the DCC or Opening History or both, other resources would not be presented in either registry due to the simple fact that they were not organized as “collections.” We chose, then, to build our own simple registry on the State Library of Ohio website, thus providing a portal for access to digital content in Ohio.
Ultimately, nearly seventy institutions were included in the DCC, Opening History, and on the State Library registry, often appearing in multiple registries. In the DCC and Opening History, collection-level metadata makes collections both searchable and browsable. On the State Library website, institutions are organized by county. We recognized that some institutions may have been missed and that others which did not provide Web-access to digital content may do so at a later date. We invite visitors to our page to notify us if their institution provides digital access to items and is not listed.We invite any and all who are interested to visit the DCC, Opening History, and the State Library’s registry of digital content. Interested parties may also visit Sowing Culture, a blog featuring selections from the DCC project. For more information, please contact Shannon Kupfer at firstname.lastname@example.org.