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September 29, 2017

LSTA Grant 2016-2017: What We Accomplished!

Although some time has passed, it's as good a time as any to reflect on the success of the Alliance's LSTA grant for 2016-2017, Building Digital Collections Capacity for the Northwest: Metadata Cleanup, Training, and Support.
   
Between the beginning of the project in July 2016 and its end in June 2017, we:
  • Fleshed out plans for the Dublin Core Best Practices, the harvester, and supports, and validated (and substantially modified) them with the Alliance's unique and local materials community.
  • Developed and delivered twenty web-based workshops or metadata forums (all workshops were presented multiple times). Workshops were attended by 50 individuals from 26 Alliance libraries, plus staff of the Washington State Library. The Metadata Applications Librarian, members of the Digital Collections Working Group, and the Program Manager developed and delivered the workshops, combining expertise to produce interactive and engaging events.
  • Produced twenty pieces of documentation or other supports developed and made them available on the Alliance website. This work was primarily done by the Metadata Applications Librarian and members of the Digital Collections Working Group
  • Using the documentation, supports, and workshops, Alliance members remediated more than 67,000 digital objects and contributed them to the Alliance Harvester—significantly more than the goal of 50,000.
  • Extension of the existing Alliance harvester for metadata aggregation, as planned. The harvester launched on May 1—later than planned since work with the unique and local content community shows that we needed to do more extensive remediation in the harvester than originally planned.
In other words, we met and exceeded the goals of the grant!

Any project will have strengths and weaknesses in its outcomes; this was no exception. Based on Alliance members' evaluations of the workshops and documentation, and on the level of Dublin Core Best Practices compliance of the contributed sets, we find the following:
  • Alliance members were very satisfied with the documentation and workshops developed during the project. 
    • The documentation received primarily Excellent ratings, with some Satisfactory ratings. 
    • The Rights documentation received a single Not Satisfactory rating; the accompanying comment showed that this was based on the layout of the PDF. Other comments reflected that the first version of the Rights documentation was not very clear (this was a known issue based on deficits in the information provided by DPLA; the documentation was extensively revised based on new information gleaned from DPLAfest in April). 
    • In general, comments on documentation and workshops were very positive and characterized the supports as helpful, clear, and essential to do the work. The documentation related to OpenRefine and batch editing in ContentDM were particularly appreciated by all types of institutions. 
    • The revisions made to documentation and workshops in response to requests and feedback were much appreciated.
  • The Program Manager reviewed the 67,000 digital objects submitted for the project for compliance with required portions of the Dublin Core Best Practices as a measure of the effectiveness of the supports provided. The results suggested that the supports were good and needing more work in some areas: 
    • Three out of the sixteen institutions with contributed collections had no issues with their metadata, and five had mild issues that were quickly resolved. The remaining institutions had moderate to severe issues that are in the process of being resolved, or have been already. 
    • The most common issues were with the free-text and standardized rights statements, compliance of creator or contributor names with Resource Description and Access, and (for just a few institutions) dates. 
    • The greatest deficits in compliance appear to correlate to institutions that did not use all the documentation, or were under-represented in the workshops relative to the size of their staff.
For all the details, the final report is available. We are grateful for the support of the Oregon State Library's Library Services & Technology Act Program and the opportunity to work with both the OSL and the Washington State Library's Rural Heritage Program!

The Alliance has once again received LSTA funding for digital collections development, as announced in July
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