Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Next Level of Understanding CONTENTdm

Hello everyone and Happy Wednesday once again! As promised from my last blog entry, I come to you with new knowledge about CONTENTdm! If you remember from my previous post, I had learned how to input the metadata in the correct fields and organize the folders to be harvested by CONTENTdm. I could upload these digitized Tipton photos and their accompanying metadata for approval (this is the "digitized pergatory" I mentioned last time). But one final step that I did not know how to do was "take down" or delete the old digitized Tipton photos and "put up" the new digitized Tipton photos with the fronts and backs. This changed this past week when Catherine took the time to demonstrate for me how to complete this process.

Catherine began by showing me where the newly digitized photos and their metadata appeared on the CONTENTdm administration website. During the uploading process CONTENTdm checks for any new important changes that deviate from the other digitized photos already in the GettDigital college photograph collection. One deviation my modified metadata files had concerned the name I placed in the Creator field. This means that in the column where I am supposed to put the photographer's name as printed on the photo, I put a new name that no other photos in the GettDigital college photograph collection had. This was a great sign because my primary responsibility in this project is to go through these photographs taken by William Tipton and modify the creator name according to the way it appears on the photograph itself.

As you can see in the photos above, over the years William Tipton modified the way in which he marked his photos. From the mid 1870s to 1880, Tipton stamped his photos with "W. H. Tipton & Co." During the early 1880s, Tipton began stamping his photographs with simply "Tipton." From the mid-1880s on, Tipton adjusted his stamp once more to read "W. H. Tipton."

But back to CONTENTdm. After I informed CONTENTdm that these new creator names were acceptable, I could then select all of the uploaded Tipton photos I had modified and approve them. At this point, Catherine informed me that I needed to delete the old object files of the digitized photos I wanted to replace. After individually deleting each of these, I indexed the collection in order to add my new object files and delete the old ones. All in all, thanks to Catherine's great help, things went smoothly and I was able to complete the process from start to finish twice today without a problem!

As I learn more and more about digital collections, I am becoming all the more excited about starting graduate school in the fall. I will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in order to receive my Master's in Library and Information Science, with a specialization in Archives, Preservation, and records Management. I know that my experiences here in Special Collections will greatly aid me in understanding the concepts I will learn beginning in the fall. It is so awesome that, even as a novice without a master's degree, I have this opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes archival work that makes digital collections possible. I really can't wait to build upon this knowledge in the fall and to enrich my passion for archival studies! :)

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