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Special Interest Group Archive: Archives SIG 3/2/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Archives SIG

The meeting was held via Zoom on March 2, 2021


Are there any projects / questions / discussion topics you have for the group? 


One director mentioned last month that they wanted to purchase a scanner. The IT department put in for a sheet scanner, but what they really need is a flatbed scanner. Does anyone have a scanner they like or a suggestion for what should be purchased? (It will be primarily used to scan legal-sized documents)


-- The Epson 12000 excel is a pretty standard scanner for archives. The 10 is also a good choice if you want to save money. One library added they have the 10, 11, and 12 version in their archives. The scanner also comes with attachments that help to scan transparent media.  

-- There haven’t been a ton of advances in flatbed scanning. Epson still remains the standard. Southeastern has the 10000 version of the scanner.  

-- It is fairly pricey, but the 11 X 7 bed allows for the scanning of larger materials. 

-- With the larger epson model, you can also replace the glass if needed. 


Starting next week, Jen is going to work on a series of webinars focusing on creating online exhibits. It will also touch on digitizing and uploading materials. Does anyone in the group have any tips / suggestions for those who are new to this process?  


-- It’s a really good idea to test your whole workflow with a small amount of materials first. That way, you will know right away if there is an issue with any part of your workflow. 

-- If you’re collaborating with a curator, make sure their captions / label copies consider the online presence for the materials. Sometimes there are directional notes, or other references that make sense in their physical location but not online. Be kind to your designer.  

-- Be sure to limit text with online exhibits. Just because you have more room to include text doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It’s really important to have concise text. 

-- Pay close attention to the number of items you’re planning to put in online exhibits. One attendee shared they once were provided with 150 items divided among different sections. Too many items can be challenging on the viewer. At a certain point, it becomes a collection more than an exhibit. It needs to be a digestible amount that conveys the context of the exhibit.   

-- Think about the fonts you’re using, as well as how you format your text and the contrast. This is important for accessibility. 

-- There are websites that can help you test the color of your website -- this will help you make sure that the sites are ADA compliant. For images, you should include an alt tag which describes what the user is looking at. 


It can be challenging to create an educational exhibit that tackles a huge topic. There are so many interesting side paths -- it can be difficult to limit the information that is included. 


-There’s a platform called scalar which works well with a variety of paths. You can have one main thread and then different threads / tangents built off of  that. It can become a living site of sorts that’s constantly growing and changing. (

-Scalar is open-source. They have a free account that is hosted, although it does have some limitations. 

- Omeka makes a great repository. If you put all your content in Omeka, you can create an online exhibition on another platform. Scalar can also connect to outside platforms.  

-- Storyboarding is really helpful with exhibits. It can help you figure out what the main thread of the exhibit is.

-- Southeastern has an instance of omeka that is available to members. You can upload different formats and build small websites with navigation.


Vassar College is currently working on a several-stage project. They are working on building an islandora 8 digital library. They are currently adding their first collection, a herbarium collection supported by an NSF grant. The collection uses Darwin Core which is the first time that metadata schema has been used by Vassar. They have a standard template for the metadate. Students are using light boxes to scan specimens and barcode them. They are organizing images and items by species. They are about to launch a website to promote the herbarium collection. 


One attendee noted having difficulties with their director who wants everything to be scanned. They don’t seem to understand that you have to maintain materials once they are scanned. 


-- One attendee shared the life cycle of an item with their director. This was helpful in showing how much work goes into the different parts of maintaining a scanned item. It can also be helpful to write it as a workflow and show the amount of time needed for each step. 

-- There is a digitization calculator at DLF that lets you estimate how much time it will cost for a digitization project.  (

-- One attendee Shared the life cycle of an item. Was helpful showing how much work goes into all the parts of maintaining a scanned item. Writing it as a workflow and showing the amount of time for each step can be helpful. 

-- Jen has this conversation with people a lot. She typically starts off by asking people what the oldest item they have in their collection is. Then she asks them to imagine making sure a digital version of that collection was available for that length of time. It’s a challenge to maintain accessibility as technologies and file formats become obsolete.  

- If you digitize everything you own, you’ve essentially doubled the size of your collection. Digital items have their own needs for preservation and continued access. 


Blodgett library has been working on a film series--”Your Story is Fishkill’s Story” where residents are interviewed.  People have been sharing stories of Fishkill and how much it has changed in people’s lifetimes. 


The next meeting will be held Tuesday, May 4th at 2 pm.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065