Plan or perish

Plan or perish
31 May 2010

About 50 newly digitised collection items are added to the Library’s digitised collections every working day. This adds up to some 14,450 items per year. Simple, you say? Well, it actually takes quite a lot of forward planning to set up the Library’s digitisation program for the year. It all starts with setting the overall digitisation target in early February. Then lists of digitisation priorities for particular collections are prepared in consultation with Preservation and Special Materials Cataloguing. These are then discussed in meetings between digitisation staff and collection managers to make sure that digital capture of the material can be undertaken using the equipment we have. When the collection lists are finalised, they are forwarded to Preservation staff to enable them to survey the collection material during March. Around early April we are ready to bring it all together and a meeting is called with all the parties involved – collection managers, digitisation, Preservation and Special Materials Cataloguing staff. This large meeting can be very robust as we negotiate adequate resourcing of the necessary pre-digitisation activities in a coordinated way (you may want to translate this as ‘who is doing what and when’). Then after all the follow up issues are addressed we compile a draft workplan with indicative targets for each collection. The workplan is placed on the internal wiki accessible to all staff. In fact the wiki is used a lot as a preferred method of working together and information sharing. The draft workplan is then discussed at the Digitisation Issues Working Group meeting and with its input taken to the Collection Development Management Committee meeting in July for final endorsement. So what’s on the draft 2010-11 digitisation workplan? A bit of everything – more than 10,000 items from the Pictures Collection (with such gems as Peter Dombrovskis archive of photographs, B.O. Holtermann archive of Merlin and Bayliss photographic prints of New South Wales and Victoria, and more of the Wolfgang Sievers photographic archive), some 1,500 maps (including 300 Rare Maps, 500 Ferguson Sales Plans, and 250 cadastral county, parish and town plans from each state and territory), 300 items from the printed music collection, 165 posters and other items from the Australian Collection, and finally close to 200 items from the Asian Collections (featuring 19th and early 20th century Japanese woodblock prints, 19th century photographs of Burma, and Japanese sugoroku board games). More detailed outline of the 2010-11 digitisation program will be made available on the Library’s website in July when Current priorities will be updated with the 2010-11 data.