LIBR 284-02
Seminar in Archives and Records Management
Topic: Digitization and Digital Preservation
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Alyce L. Scott

Office Location: Online
Office Hours: By E-mail

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

ANGEL Information: This is an online-only class using Angel and Elluminate. Students must self-enroll for the course between January 20 and January 27. The required password access enrollment code will be provided in an email via MySJSU to students who are registered for the class. Class begins via Angel on January 27.

Course Description

Course Overview
This course will provide an introduction to the digitization of archival, library, and museum materials, as well as an introduction to the digital preservation of the resulting digital objects. Students will learn about using digital technologies to provide better access to and sometimes to preserve text, images, sound, and video. [Please note: the majority of the course will focus on the digitization of text and image because of the nature of this class and equipment requirements.] Particular topics to be explored in depth include: selection for digitization, legal and copyright issues, digitization requirements for text and images, metadata, and technology issues. The course will provide a broad foundation of the principles, processes and standards guiding the digitization of cultural heritage materials.

Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes 
At the completion of this class, students will:

  1. Understand the fundamental differences between digitization and digital preservation;
  2. Understand the issues of quality, speed, production, and accessibility related to mass digitization projects versus local digitization projects;
  3. Acquire the skills to select materials for digitization and provide sound justification for their decisions;
  4. Be able to select and apply appropriate standards and good practices depending upon the type of material and the objective of a particular digitization project;
  5. Understand the role and types of metadata used to describe, manage, and provide access to digital materials;
  6. Obtain an understanding of the technology issues surrounding digitization, including appropriate conversion devices, delivery systems, and digital preservation;
  7. Have the skills to plan and manage a digitization project from design through delivery;
  8. Have experience creating a digital collection: including budgeting, selection, digitization, metadata creation, use of CONTENTdm (an industry-leading digital collection management tool), and digital preservation concerns.

LIBR 284 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information
  • understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users; and
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria.

Course Requirements

Class Virtual Meetings
There will be one mandatory Elluminate session on January 27. All of the lectures will be delivered live on Elluminate. Attendance at the later Elluminate sessions is not mandatory. All live Elluminate sessions will be recorded for later listening.

Computer Access
Angel will be the venue for online lectures, class discussion, and assignments. You must have regular access to a computer to access course materials and online lectures. At least two assignments will involve working with image files. For this reason, you should have access to a computer with a reasonable network connection speed to download and complete the assignments.

Course Assignments

  1. Copyright Assignment
    Understanding copyright is very important to a digitization project. A project must abide by the rules or face possible litigation. For this assignment, imagine that in front of you are the following three items:
    1. Some personal letters written by Mr. Walter Packard to Mrs. Carrie Stevens dated during the year 1900. The personal letter described an outing that they had taken with a group of friends. Both parties are deceased.
    2. A book with the following citation:
      Hall, F. (1871). The history of San José and surroundings: with biographical sketches of early settlers. (L. Goodrich), San Francisco: Printing house of A.L. Bancroft and Company no. 721 Market Street
    3. Some photographs of J.J Owen (1827-1884?) that contain no dates and no information on who took the photographs.
      For each item, discuss whether or not the item(s) can be digitized and why. Cite appropriate copyright laws, rulings, or guidelines you use in making your decision. In the event that a definitive answer cannot be determined, discuss the ambiguities, why you believe the intellectual property rights to be unclear, and the decision you would advise your institution to make in whether or not to proceed with digitizing the item. Discuss possible implications of digitizing the item and making it available anyway. This assignment cannot be completed well in less than three pages!
  2. Benchmarking Assignment
    Using images selected by you, you will determine scanning requirements for the documents, completing the worksheet found on the Angel site. You will also inspect images aspects (compression, artifacts, etc) and create a few derivative images using Adobe Photoshop CS3. A 30-day trial version of the software package is available for free download at: Once completed, the worksheet and the derivative images you create must be submitted via Angel.
  3. Case Study Assignment
    For this assignment, you will be asked to write a short analysis of a digitization project. In choosing a candidate for your paper, please select one which offers sufficient documentation about planning and implementation of the projects, including technical information, such as how the images were scanned ( or, for example, audio tapes converted) or what metadata standards were used. Please note that the documentation found at the websites listed below may not be the only source of information on the projects. You are encouraged to look for supplementary reports and articles from various resources noted in the syllabus (such as the Council on Library and Information Resources site (http://www.clir.og), RLG DigiNews, or D-Lib Magazine, You may also find reports with the kind of necessary detail by completing web searches including phrases such as “imls final report” “digitiz project NEH,” etc. If you cannot find enough information to answer all of these questions, you need to find another project. Not answering all sections will result in a deduction of points from the overall score.

    For case studies of digitization projects, please discuss the following issues:
    • Planning for digitization, including user needs, funding sources, etc.
    • Selecting material: what criteria were used to select documents for digitization?
    • Technical production information: what scanning standards were used (bit depth, resolution, etc.), what equipment was used for the task, and who performed the work.
    • Producing the images: how many versions of the image were produced (archival masters and derivatives)?
    • Storing the images: on what media are the images to be stored? How will images be retrieved (online or near-line access)? Did the collection end up in a digital repository?
    • Cataloging the images: what sorts of metadata were captured (descriptive, technical, structural standards used)? How will the metadata be kept?
    • Providing access to the images: who gets access to the images; to what versions do they have access, what sort of manipulations to the images are allowed? Are there any legal restrictions to access?
    • Preservation: what plans does the institution have for long-term retention of the images? (not just the original or “analog” items).
    • Are there any other issues which are important for understanding how the project was designed and implemented?
  4. Online Collection Assignment
    This assignment is meant to give you practical, hands-on experience building a small digital collection using OCLC’s CONTENTdm, an online digital media management system. For the purposes of this assignment, you will be provided with unique logon information to utilize the CONTENTdm system. It should be used only for this class and this assignment.

    CONTENTdm account information will be provided to you. Using this information, you will need to create a User Support Account, as well as download the Project Client software. This is necessary to create and upload collections into the system. A complete set of instructions will be available in Angel. NOTE: The downloadable version of the software is unfortunately only compatible with Windows machines (or Intel-based Macs capable of running Windows via Bootcamp or Parallels).

    You will be required to build a small collection of at least 25 digital images, providing all appropriate file formats, descriptive metadata using controlled vocabulary, etc. You will utilize personal images. If using images from a project at your job, you need to get instructor permission.

Assignment Submission
This is a "paperless" class. Please submit all assignments via Angel. Naming conventions for files will be discussed during the first week of the class, but must always include your last name.

Assignments must be word processed in 12 pt. Times New Roman and utilize a one-inch margin all around. If you plan to utilize a word processing program other than Microsoft Word, please check with the instructor to discuss the file format.

Late Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted unless by prior consent of the instructor. If you have an illness or a family tragedy please contact the instructor.

Course Calendar
A detailed schedule will be maintained on Angel. The course will follow a week-by-week schedule, and students must keep current with the progress of the course. There will generally be one lecture given each week.

Course Grading
Grading will be based on a total accumulation of 100 possible points, distributed as follows:

Copyright Assignment 15 points
Benchmarking Assignment 15 points
Case Study 25 points
Online collection 25 points
Participation (Angel discussion forums) 20 points

Textbooks and Readings

All readings are available online, either through provided URLs or within Angel.

No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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