The Rosenthall Experiment: Shooting from the hip digitization

Next week I’ll be discussing my “processing by digitization” experiment with the W.A. Rosenthall Judaical collection at the Society of American Archivists annual conference. It’s part of a larger panel discussion titled Choose Your Own Arrangement: Using large-scale digitization efforts to process image and audiovisual collections.

If you’re attending the conference, stop by and check it out. The other panelists include Benn Joseph (Manuscript Librarian at Northwestern University), Amanda Ross (Archivist at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum), and Heather Gilbert (Digital Scholarship Librarian for the College of Charleston).

Click here to download a PDF of the slides.

Session title: Choose Your Own Arrangement: Using large-scale digitization efforts to process image and audiovisual collections
Abstract: Image and audiovisual collections often attract a wide variety of users with diverse interests. How are archivists to choose just one manner of arrangement to meet these varied research needs? Inspired by the 2011 SAA conference panel discussion Re-Arranging Arrangement and Description, three archivists analyze the results of implementing the methodology presented during this session in the digital environment. They do so by exploring the outcomes of omitting physical arrangement from the workflow of processing (and re-processing) image and audiovisual collections. The key benefit of the “processing by digitization” approach is that users are allowed to choose how the collection is arranged based on their interests, be it geographic location, date, format, topical subject, or some combination thereof. The presenters conclude that implementing a large-scale digitization effort that provides item-level description and online access is an efficient and practical approach to processing significant image and audiovisual collections.
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