You are here

Digital Projects Workflow



The goal of this document is to provide consistent and easy-to-apply guidance for staff of the Hamilton College Library who are involved in creating digital objects from non-digital original materials.

Workflow Summary


The selection of shelf material to digitize is up to the discretion of the head of the department that holds the material. It can be driven by intrinsic importance, external scholarly interest, or preservation considerations. The materials chosen should form some sort of coherent "collection."

For more on this see Selection.


A digitization project is initiated by filling out a Library Digital Collections Project Digitization Form. This form is filled out at a meeting of all parties involved in the project: the head (or representative) of the initiating department, the Photographer, the Metadata Librarian (or representative), and the Library Information Systems Specialist.


The department that holds the materials organizes curates each item (unbinds, unmounts, sleeves, etc.)  and ensures each item is labeled with a unique identifier before sending them to be digitized. It also collects any existing metadata that may be available for the items.

For more on this see Curation.

When the materials have been prepared, they should be moved to the Photographer's office for digitization.


The Library's Photographer oversees the digitization of the materials by selecting the appropriate equipment (scanner or camera) and ensures that the directives specified in the Project Proposal Form are followed. The image files are stored in any provisional location the Photographer chooses.

For more on this see Digitization (imaging parameters, file naming, storage, image metadata).

When the digitization is done, the the Metadata Librarian begin creating the metadata.


The Metadata Librarian sets up a Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheet for the batch of materials (See an example Excel™ spreadsheet) and the Library Information Systems Specialist supervises students in entering into the spreadsheet any inscriptions on the original item and adds all basic collection-level metadata.

When the student is done with this basic data entry, they are ready for ingest into CONTENTdm.

OCR/Text Encoding

If the images are to be transcribed (or OCR'd), the Library Information Systems Specialist creates supervises this work. Macros may be used to mark up the text layout and the students manually encode all name entities in TEI using oXygen ™, our XML editor of choice.

For more on this see Text Encoding.


The Library Information Systems Specialist ensures that the spreadsheet, image files, and transcriptions are properly formatted and ingests them into CONTENTdm.

For more on this see "Ingest Instruction." [forthcoming].


A Metadata Librarian imports CONTETNdm records into the CONTENTdm Project Client and adds titles and updates all fields that require controlled vocabularies.

For more on this see Metadata.


The Library Information Systems Specialist checks the Capture Files for well-formedness using the file utility JHOVE.

The files will then undergo several visual checks to ensure quality and compliance with our local guidelines for Archival Master Files: examination of at least 10% of the batch at 100% magnification, an SHA-1 hash is generated for it and stored in the file's metadata header (and perhaps also in a database or a spreadsheet).

If the files pass all these tests, separate JPEG2000 derivatives may be created at this time which become the "Archival Master File" and will be locked to prevent changes or accidental deletion.

For more on this see Archiving.


Periodically, measures will be taken to audit the health of the Archival Master Files to ensure their long-term usability.

For more on this see Preservation.

- Top -

(Updated: December 15, 2010, October 31, 2012, pjm)