NGL 12 Steps to a Digital Collection

Proposal accepted by local committee

All projects must have a formal proposal made to the committee at each school following the guidelines under the Major Project Documents.  Deadlines for submission vary by school, contact your school's steering committee representative for more information.

All paperwork completed

After a project is approved the faculty member(s) who submitted the proposal must complete and return an acceptance form acknowledging the requirements of the grant and any revisions made to their proposal.  Acceptance forms vary by institution, contact your school's steering committee representative for more information.

Needed technology and equipment acquired

Any project that requires equipment not currently available at the local institution should include a list of needed equipment in the proposal and a budget request to acquire that equipment.  For projects that involve outsourcing, this step is complete when the outsourcing agreement is finalized with the vendor.  For projects using equipment already held in-house this step is automatically completed.

For examples of acquiring equipment see 
Collecting and Digitizing Farmer Interviews in Wayne County, Ohio which requests audio recorders be purchased.  After this proposal was accepted each college provided information on the audio recorders they use on Survey of Digitization Resources and the document Information About Audio Recorders was created to combine the knowledge and suggestions from each school to help with this and future audio equipment purchases.

Intellectual property concerns addressed

To complete this step the project participants need to consider any issues regarding copyright of both objects and metadata in the collection.  To see copyright language used in other projects see the Legal Documents page.
  • Check if all objects being digitized are in the Public Domain (for ways to check see information on Copyright Calculators)
  • If objects are not in the public domain, does your institution hold copyright? (check deeds of gift for locally owned collections, and local policies for items created on campus)
  • Do you have written permission from the copyright holder to digitize and display items?
  • Do you have written permission to use objects or metadata created by students in a class? (not needed if the students are paid)
  • If you do not have permission to use some or all objects, is your institution willing to take the risk and put the items online?
  • If you do not have permission to use some or all objects, can you restrict the collection to your campus?

Digitization standards set

In this step project participants need to look at best practices to decide on standards for digital objects.  Standards to consider include file type, file size, color spectrum, ppi, and others.  For an example of comparing best practices for digital image size and ppi see the Oberlin Digital Image Comparison of Standards.

Metadata schema selected

Factors to consider in selecting a metadata schema and elements are the content management system (the DRC can only have flat schema), interoperability, and object types.  Also consider the Metadata Application profile for the schema you want, for example the Application Profile for the OhioLINK DRC.  Check the Mega Metadata Spreadsheet to see what metadata elements are used in similar collections.

Controlled vocabularies selected

Determine what, if any, fields in your schema should be filled using a controlled vocabulary, and what vocabulary to use.  Factors to consider are anticipated users, importance of subject search, and time needed to apply vocabulary terms.

All digital objects created

This step is completed when all objects that are going into the collection have been created.

All metadata created

This step is completed once all objects in your collection have complete metadata associated with them.

Participants surveyed for feedback

Participants in the project should provide feedback.  Faculty and librarians should submit final reports and students can fill out the survey at

Collection published

The collection is published and publicized online.  Each collection should have a landing page that describes the collection or project, usually with text from the faculty involved.  The link to this page will be included in the NGL portal site and otherwise distributed to publicize the collection. For example see
Medieval Manuscripts and Incunabula at Ohio Wesleyan University

The landing page for the collection should include these credits:
Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Five Colleges of Ohio [Next Steps in the Next Generation Library: Integrating Digital Collections into the Liberal Arts Curriculum, 2010]

OCLC record created

An OCLC record is created that points to the collection.  For example see