INFO 284-10
Seminar in Archives and Records Management
Topic: Digitization and Digital Preservation
Spring 2018 Syllabus

Alyce L. Scott

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This is an online-only class using Canvas.

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 24th, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Class begins via Canvas on January 24, 2018.

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.

Course Requirements

Class Virtual Meetings
During the course of the semester, there will be three (3) live training sessions for the CONTENTdm software, in Zoom.

NOTE: Attendance at the live sessions is not mandatory, as they will be recorded also.

Computer Access
Canvas will be the venue for 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:

  • Copyright Assignment
    Understanding copyright is very important to a digitization project. A project must abide by the rules or face possible litigation.For each item on the list, 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. 
  • Benchmarking Assignment
    Using images provided by the instructor, you will determine scanning requirements for the documents, completing the worksheet found on the course site. You will also inspect images aspects (compression, artifacts, etc) and create a few derivative images using the latest version Adobe Photoshop. Alternate software (e.g. GIMP) can be used for this assignment, with the instructor's permission.
  • Project Planning Assignment
    For this assignment, you will be asked to plan a digitization project. You will evaluate a collection of your choice (that has not been previously digitized) and create a plan for the digitization of the collection. You will provide specific reasons for your recommendations based on the readings and lectures in this course. 
  • Online Collection Assignment (group project)
    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. 
  • NOTE: You do not have to own a scanner, but you will need access to one as you will utilize personal images that you have scanned (from physical resources - digital photos will not be accepted) using information learned in this course. 
  • NOTE: The downloadable version of the CONTENTdm Project Client software is only compatible with Windows OS (or Intel-based Macs capable of running Windows via Bootcamp or Parallels).

Assignment Submission
All assignments will be submitted via Canvas.

Late Assignments/Incompletes
Incompletes will not be given and late assignments are accepted only with prior consent of the instructor.

Course Calendar
A detailed schedule will be maintained on Canvas. The course will follow a week-by-week schedule, and students must keep current with the progress of the course.

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

Copyright Assignment (CLO 3, 7,) 15 points
Benchmarking Assignment (CLO 4, 6) 15 points
Project Planning Assignment (CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) 25 points
Online collection (CLO 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) 25 points
Participation (Canvas discussion forums) (CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) 20 points

All readings are available online, either through provided URLs or within the Canvas course site.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content. 

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the fundamental differences between digitization and digital preservation.
  2. Select materials for digitization, and provide sound justification for their decisions.
  3. Select and apply appropriate standards and practices depending on the type of material and the objective of a particular digitization project.
  4. Describe the role and types of metadata used to describe, manage, and provide access to digital materials.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the technology issues surrounding digitization, including appropriate conversion devices, delivery systems, and digital preservation.
  6. Plan and manage a digitization project from design through delivery.
  7. Create a digital collection, addressing budget, selection, digitization, metadata creation, management, and digital preservation.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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