Digital Collections Stewardship

Digital Collections Stewardship logo


Creating and sharing digital collections is an important way that libraries can share and preserve unique local history, culture, stories, and artifacts. Digital collections offer an opportunity to represent a diversity of experiences and voices in your community that may be missing from your physical collection.

Planning, creating, managing, and preserving digital collections, however, can be resource-intensive work that requires technology, new skills, and an ongoing commitment to maintain them. Understanding the full lifecycle of digital stewardship is critical to successful digital collections.

These courses, designed specifically with the needs of small cultural institutions in mind, will guide you through the lifecycle of digital stewardship. This lifecycle describes the entire ongoing range of tasks and activities necessary to successfully share digital collections. If you are new to digital collections, we encourage you to take these courses sequentially; if not, feel free to choose the courses that fit your needs.

These courses were created by WebJunction in partnership with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation for staff at tribal archives, libraries, museums (TALMs), and small public libraries. They were adapted from the Tribal Digital Stewardship Cohort Program developed at Washington State University, and made possible in part thanks to support from OCLC, Washington State University, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (project number RE-246364-OLS-20). 
For additional information about this project, please visit: oc.lc/digital-stewardship.

Organize a Learning Group for these Courses

While these courses are designed for the self-paced learner, the content presents a great opportunity to learn with your peers. Many people find that learning with a group helps them stay motivated and learn better. You do not need to be an instructor or know the subject to lead a learning group. First learn about how to organize and run a learning a group for any course from WebJunction's Learning Group facilitation Guide. And then use the Digital Collections Stewardship Discussion Guide to help you lead discussions about the DCS courses. 


Supported by OCLC, IMLS and CDSC

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University's Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Length: 1 hour

Overview
Defines digital collections and introduces the digital stewardship lifecycle, a model that describes all the tasks and activities related to creating, organizing, managing, preserving, and sharing digital collections. This course also begins an exploration of how you might shape your own digital stewardship work to meet your community needs and institutional goals.

Learning Objectives
After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Identify examples of digital collections 
  • Describe what digital collections are, what they can include and the purposes they can serve
  • Understand the range of physical objects that you can digitize, and the born digital objects that you might incorporate into a digital collection 
  • Describe digital stewardship, and each stage of the digital stewardship lifecycle 
  • Be able to begin to adapt the digital stewardship lifecycle to fit your institution and community

dcs01

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction
Length: 1.5 hours

About this course: This course was created to complement the seven-course Digital Collections Stewardship series, and to encourage learners to consider how the collections they create do or do not represent the full range of people, groups and organizations in their communities. We recommend taking this course between 1: Introduction and 2: Preparing, though we think you will find it helpful at any point.

Overview
As you develop a digital collection, it’s important to pause and take stock of narratives that might have been left out of the popular stories in your community. To best represent the many voices and narratives of your community in your digital collections, you’ll need to build and sustain respectful relationships that focus on mutual support and trust. This course describes approaches that have proven successful for other libraries, archives, and museums, and illuminates a path forward to build collections that center the voices of many different communities.

Learning objectives
After successfully completing this course, you'll be able to:
  • Describe and plan for a community-centered approach to collections.
  • Identify missing voices and stories from your collections.
  • Build your network so you can identify and connect with communities not represented or served by your collections.
  • Engage in respectful collaboration with communities to build community-centered digital collections.
  • Build and maintain trust and engagement with communities to sustain collaborations.

 

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Curation and Scholarship
Length: 1.5 hours

Overview
Describes the importance of preparing for digital collections stewardship, and the key steps to preparation. Leads you through defining digital stewardship goals for your institution and community and helps you to identify and/or create the library policies and other documentation you’ll need to guide the work. This course will then take you through initial planning questions as you define a digital collection project and how you will accomplish it.

Learning Objectives
After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe key steps needed to prepare for digital stewardship
  • Document your institutional and community goals for digital stewardship and document them with a Digital Stewardship Purpose Statement
  • Identify key policies, forms, and documentation that support digital stewardship, and when to use them
  • Identify any initial resourcing, staffing, and stakeholder needs for digital stewardship work

dcs02

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation 
Length: 2 hours

Overview
Describes the considerations when determining guidelines for the items that will be included in your digital collections, the appraisal and accessioning process, and sourcing items for your collections from partner organizations and community members.

Learning Objectives
After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Determine the types of items to include in their institution's digital collections
  • Select suitable methods to gather digital collections
  • Document your digital collection guidelines and procedures
  • Identify any collaboration or partnership opportunities for gathering collections and items
  • Incorporate cultural and community needs in collection curation decisions

dcs03

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Length: 2 hours

Overview
While digitization is only one of the ways to gather items for digital collections, it is central to the kinds of digital collections most institutions wish to create, and the method most people think of first. It also tends to be the costliest and most labor intensive, requiring specialized skills and knowledge. The various kinds of physical and analog items you might digitize require different technical processes, specifications, skills, and equipment to create the digital objects for your collection.

Learning Objectives:
After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe what digitization is and entails to your staff and community
  • Understand the processes, technologies and skills involved in common digitization tasks
  • Identify digitization technology or resources you will need to digitize your items
  • Make decisions regarding the three basic strategies to accomplishing digitization work
  • Plan for digitization and document relevant processes and workflows

dcs04

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Length: 1 hour 

Overview
In this course we’ll explore how to organize and describe your digital collections to aid digital preservation and discovery, plus enhance the meaning and value of your collections. This will include file management best practices and adding culturally inclusive metadata and description.
 

Learning Objectives
After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe best practices for organizing and naming your digital collection files.
  • Write appropriate descriptive and administrative metadata for your collections.
  • Select metadata standards, schemas, and guidelines that fit your collections and systems.
  • Create a metadata plan for your institution.

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Length: 1 hour

Overview
In this course, we’ll take a closer look at the options for storing digital content and preserving it for the long-term. The focus here is on the preservation files that were created during digitization or received from other sources. Digital preservation work is ongoing and requires a considerable investment of time and resources. In this course, we'll focus on the tools and information you need to get started with the basics of preserving digital files for the long-term.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of, and resources required for digital preservation.
  • Select archival storage options for your preservation files.
  • Identify the tools or software needed for digital preservation.
  • Begin to plan for maintaining long-term file integrity and access.
  • Collaborate with your technical team to choose and implement preservation solutions.
  • Begin drafting a digital preservation plan for your institution.

dcs06

Format: Self-paced Course
Developed by: WebJunction, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
Length: 1 hour

Overview
In this course, you’ll learn about providing equitable and appropriate access to your digital content through online collections. There are many things to consider during this stage, including providing appropriate levels of access for your items, and ensuring that your community’s intellectual property is protected.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion, you will be able to:
  • Identify a digital collections sharing method that meets your institutional and community needs
  • Understand the range of functionality available in different types of collections management systems, and how to go about selecting one that best fits your needs.
  • Determine and document any access and use considerations for your collections 
  • Identify Intellectual Property needs and considerations for your collections 

dcs07