- A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections
Initiatives Principle 5
Initiatives Principle 5: A good digital initiative has a marketing strategy and broadly disseminates information about its progress and outcomes.
A good digital initiative, whether a short-term project or an ongoing program, will document and actively communicate its processes, progress, and outcomes to its stakeholder communities. This is called marketing when aimed at the community of potential users and dissemination when aimed at other information professionals.
A good digital initiative communicates its activities and broadcasts the availability of its deliverables as widely as possible. If the initiative produces any models, tools, or prototypes, they should be made available to the public to encourage adoption. If the initiative has local, regional, or national impact, that impact should be reported through publications, presentations, media, and other channels. "Trade" meetings of library, archive and/or museum professionals can be excellent venues for disseminating information about content, technologies and lessons learned. The Institute of Museum and Library Services' annual WebWise conferences, for example, are designed to showcase digital collections and projects funded by the IMLS.
Good collection description and good interoperability features like support for the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting can help users find collections, but good marketing and communications are essential. Marketing should not be an add-on, but an essential part of building good digital collections, and funds for anticipated marketing expenses should be included in project and program budgets.
Modern marketing techniques aim to promote collections where the users are, on Facebook, YouTube, and other social networking sites as well as Google and Wikipedia. The New Jersey Digital Highway created a collection-level description entry in Wikipedia to promote their collections (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_jersey_digital_highway). The University of Washington Libraries have gone a step further by creating links to their digital collections in individual Wikipedia articles:
- Ann M. Lally and Carolyn E. Dunford, “Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections,” D-Lib Magazine, v. 13, no. 5/6 (2007) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may07/lally/05lally.html.
Other resources on publicity and promotion:
- Washington State Library, Digital Best Practices: Marketing website http://digitalwa.statelib.wa.gov/newsite/projectmgmt/marketing.htm
- James Andrew Buczynski, Referral Marketing Campaigns: 'Slashdotting' Digital Library Resources (2007) http://hdl.handle.net/1853/13617. An audio, PowerPoint and auxiliary materials from a presentation advocating word-of-mouth marketing.
- University of North Texas Libraries, Portal to Texas History (2007) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlDx9n4wFb0. A YouTube video promoting digital collections at UNT.
- Darren Kornblut, Online Primetime: Promoting via Portals and Other Traffic Building Tricks, presentation at Museums and the Web (2000) http://www.archimuse.com/mw2000/papers/kornblut/kornblut.html.
The primary goal of any project or program should be to accomplish its stated objectives within the time and budget allowed. However, the knowledge gained in the process should not be lost to other organizations. Most funding agencies require interim and final reports at the end of the project period, but internally funded programs should also issue reports at least annually.
Web-accessible reports should provide a detailed description and honest assessment of work accomplished, and should always include a section on “lessons learned.”
Some examples of useful, comprehensive project reports:
- Library of Congress, Manuscript Digitization Demonstration Project, Final Report (1998) http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/pictel/. Although the recommendations are dated, this remains a classic example of a good report.
- Colorado’s Historic Newspaper Collection: Final Report (2005) http://www.bcr.org/cdp/projects/newspapers/docs/chncfinalreportreadyforpdf12-19-05.pdf. Lacks only dates to be a model report.
- Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Final Report Carnegie Institution of Washington Collection of Maya Archaeological Photographs: Phase 1 and 2 (2005) http://hul.harvard.edu/ldi/resources/Maya_Final_Report.pdf. Lacks lessons learned but includes useful illustrations.
- Preserving and Digitizing Plant Images: Linking Plant Images and Databases for Public Access, Final Report from the Missouri Botanical Garden to the IMLS (2002) http://www.mobot.org/mobot/imls/. A report designed for the Web.
- Library of Congress, Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999): Lessons Learned website http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award/lessons/lessons.html. A compilation of awardee reports on format issues, workflow and project management, staffing and skills, intellectual access, publicity, and other outcomes.
Last updated: 09/03/2008