24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Tactics Session: Improving Our Local Electronic Serials Through Standardization and Migration to New Platforms

September 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment

Improving Our Local Electronic Serials through Standardization and Migration to New Platforms

Wendy Robertson, Digital Resources Librarian; University of Iowa
Reported by Virginia A. Rumph

Wendy Robertson presented an examination of the various choices that are currently available for digitization of local serials.  She highlighted four software choices:  journal management, e.g., Open Journal Systems and bepress’s EdiKit; digital asset management, e.g., CONTENTdm; institutional repository, e.g., DSpace and bepress’s Digital Commons; and large scale digitization, e.g., the Google Book Project and the HathiTrust.  Journal management software is designed for managing peer-reviewed journals, and can be either open source or licensed.  In addition, the journal can have restricted or open access.  Digital asset management software can handle images, text, audio and video.  Since all articles in a journal issue are in one pdf document, article linking cannot be done.  An institutional repository can also be open source or commercial and is usually created to store articles, not journals as a whole.  Large scale digitization includes the HathiTrust, a partnership of CIC institutions, the University of California system, and the University of Virginia.  It includes Google book content plus added features.

Robertson talked about currently published/born digital serials with back content in another system and those with print back issues.  She also presented information about retrospective titles that are rare, primary sources, or are of local interest/locally published.  Since time and resources are finite, each library needs to determine which items will be done by someone else, and which are so important to your organization that they deserve your effort.

The functionality you want also needs to be considered.  For instance, if you need editorial capability, use a journal management system.  Article linking, hierarchical structure, material length, the importance of visual browsing, searching vs. article-level metadata, and newspaper article segmentation all need to be considered.  Title changes, shareable metadata, linking to other articles, preservation of content, gathering content together, and using XML to keep options open for future ways to manipulate the content must not be forgotten either.

Robertson gave examples of various ways title changes and variant titles are handled by these platforms.  For instance, if all title changes are included together, the searcher may not find the particular iteration needed.  Focusing on the preservation of content issue, Robertson illustrated with examples of titles that have changed form from simple typescript to very fancy layouts.  Although the older form could be updated to match the new look, the original should be maintained to preserve the archival integrity of the material.  A similar question or decision arises in the online presentation of articles that are broken among nonconsecutive pages.  Should the original layout be maintained, or should the disjointed segments of the article be brought together?

Robertson strongly advises serialists to offer their expertise in the digitization process.  We should understand our institutions’ local digitization plans, local titles should be included in the regular journals work flow, and our projects need to be realistic.  See http://ir.uiowa.edu/lib_pubs/35/ for links to many examples.


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