July 27, 2023

Day in the Life of Digital Curation

Ever wonder how History Nebraska’s collection materials end up online? That would be the work of the Digital Curation Department! Hi, my name is Kayla, and I am a Digitization Technician in the Digital Curation Department at History Nebraska. As a digitization tech, I am responsible for digitizing and describing a wide range of collection types.

A Book 2net Scanner used for scanning oversized documents.

A Book 2net Scanner used for scanning oversized documents.

Once a collection has been selected for digitization by our curatorial staff, it needs to be evaluated and prepped for digitization. This may include the removal of staples and paperclips, flattening of objects, minor processing work, and more. Once a collection has been evaluated and prepped, we scan the objects. An object’s format and size determine the scanner used in digitization. History Nebraska has a wide array of scanners, allowing us to digitize objects from microfilm to oversized maps. All objects are scanned at 600 DPI (or higher, depending on the format) and saved as TIFs. After an object has been scanned, it is reviewed through our quality control workflow. The quality control workflow ensures we provide our patrons with the best digital surrogate. We ensure the object is legible, straight, and debris-free. The objects are then ingested into Perservica, our digital preservation software.

One of the storage areas where History Nebraska collections are stored. There are shelves with various boxes that hold documents, photos, and other archival materials.

One of the storage areas where History Nebraska collections are stored.

Once ingested, metadata is applied to objects. Metadata is defined as data about data. We apply metadata to ensure patrons can easily find what they are looking for. Metadata fields include titles, dates, creators, descriptions, subject headings, and more. The metadata is also run through a quality control workflow, ensuring that the applied metadata accurately describes the object.

Once an object has made it through all those steps, it is made public and is discoverable by patrons via our Preservica Portal. Digitization is a time-consuming process, but through doing it, we can expand the use of our collections beyond the borders of the state of Nebraska. We encourage you to learn more about Digital Curation at History Nebraska. And feel free to browse our digital materials at any time.

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About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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