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Digital Initiatives

Pepperdine University Libraries Digital Collections Development Policy

1. Introduction. Pepperdine University Libraries’ digital collections facilitate the online discovery, access, and dissemination of rare, unique, or non-circulating materials held primarily in its Special Collections and University Archives. Through the digitization of analog materials, or the transfer of born-digital or digitized content, digital collections are produced and published in either Pepperdine Digital Collections or Pepperdine Digital Commons. Selection and prioritization of content for digital collections are carried out by the Digital Collections Development and Archiving Working Group based on this policy.

2. Scope of this Policy. This policy covers selection criteria for digital collections and technical specifications for the digitization of materials. For submission policies regarding the University’s institutional repository, which focuses on Pepperdine scholarship and publications, see the Pepperdine Digital Commons Content Submission Policies and Guidelines.

3. Selection Criteria. The criteria for selecting content for digital collections are governed, in part, by the Special Collections and University Archives Collection Development Policy. However, several factors are particularly salient to selecting content for openly accessible digital collections. A potential project need not meet all of the criteria below, but must meet at least one criterion from Section 3.1 in addition to satisfying criteria 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.8.

3.1. Significance of the Materials. Significance is the primary criterion in the selection process and is determined by several factors:

a) Evidence of Use. Use, or the potential for use once online, is measured by evaluating usage statistics of both non-digitized archival collections and existing digital collections.

b) Added Research Value. Added research value is determined by assessing whether the digitization and online dissemination of collections results in improved discovery of the materials, unrestricted remote access to the content, and the integration of related materials in various formats derived from disparate physical locations.

c) Uniqueness or Rarity. Uniqueness is determined by assessing the prevalence of the material.

d) Complements Existing Collections. The degree to which the material enhances or provides a good complement to existing digital collections—including deepening or diversifying collections, or filling gaps—is determined by examining current collection content.

e) Demonstrated Interest. Expressed interest from members of the university community, researchers, or donors is also an indication of significance.

f) Theses and Dissertations. Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) authored by Pepperdine University students are included as evidence toward the partial satisfaction of degree requirements.

3.2. Processing. Materials must first be deposited into Special Collections and University Archives and processed before being digitized. Exceptions, as they occur, may be granted pending staff review.

3.3. Preservation.  Some content may be digitized for purposes of preservation. Materials that are fragile, in poor condition, chemically instable, or otherwise at risk are good candidates for digitization, particularly if their condition limits access and use. For born-digital content, file formats, media carriers, and required software may be at risk of obsolescence, degradation, corruption, or failure.

3.4 Physical Condition. Regarding 3.3, the condition of the materials must permit digitization without unacceptable risk of damage to the originals.

3.5. Legal Restrictions. Materials will be (a) works in the public domain, (b) works for which Pepperdine University holds the copyright, or (c) works for which we have obtained permission to digitize and provide either restricted or unrestricted access. We may also digitize materials determined to be Orphan Works, i.e., works for which the copyright holder cannot be located. We may digitize works known to be under copyright for educational or preservation uses only under the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act. See also the Pepperdine Digital Collections Copyright and Take-down Policy.

3.6. Audience. The potential audience is another factor in selection decisions. Anticipated use by students, faculty, staff, alumni, outside researchers, and regional community members may include use in curricula; campus events, programs, and exhibits; branding and fundraising; and related community projects.

3.7. Breadth of Representation. The degree to which a digital collection represents its physical or digital source in terms of completeness is dependent on the nature of the digital collection (promotional versus extensive); the availability of staff resources or funding; any sensitivity or privacy issues with particular items; and the anticipated research interest in collection materials. Digitizing a representative subset of collections serves to promote the larger collection to researchers and solicit donations to help fund further digitization.

3.8. Feasibility and Available Funding. Grant-making agencies, donors, and other sources of funding may impact digitization decisions. Matching high-priority materials to appropriate funding sources is crucial. A feasibility assessment should be applied to determine whether a particular digital collection will require staff time and/or costs in excess of the anticipated long-term value of the materials. The availability of existing metadata associated with or embedded within materials—particularly in an electronically harvestable form—will likely impact the feasibility assessment.

4. Digitization.  Pepperdine University Libraries is able to digitize most analog formats, either in-house or through vendor services, pending available funding and staffing. These formats include:

  • Reflective originals up to 12” X 17” (Reflective originals refer to anything printed on an opaque surface—such as photographs, manuscript pages, or maps—that can be placed on a flatbed or overhead scanner.)
  • Transmissive originals, both positive and negative (Transmissive originals refer to anything printed on a transparent surface, such as slides or negatives)
  • Analog audiovisual formats, such magnetic tape, film, or video.

Pepperdine University Libraries can, in some cases, accommodate other formats and sizes, such as books and other bound volumes, three-dimensional objects, or oversized materials. Our technical specifications follow the industry standard recommended by publications such as the NARA Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access and A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections. An abridged summary of these specifications by format type follows.

  • Printed materials and manuscripts: Master files are uncompressed TIFF or PDF, 300 to 600 dpi, 8 or 24 bits per pixel, with optical character recognition (OCR) for full-text search. Services files are PDF.
  • Pictorial materials (photographic prints): Master files are uncompressed TIFF, 600 dpi, 24 bits per pixel color. Services files are JPEG2000.
  • Pictorial materials (negatives and slides): Master files are uncompressed TIFF, 600 to 1200 dpi, 24 bits per pixel color. Services files are JPEG2000.
  • Sound recordings: Master files are WAVE (.wav). Service files are MP3.
  • Moving image recordings: Master files are high-bit-rate MPEG-4 files in larger picture sizes. Service files are .m4v or MP4.

Our digital collections employ standard metadata schema (Dublin Core) and metadata value standards, such as the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials and the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Metadata associated with donated materials is harvested electronically or created by Library staff.

5. Digital Preservation. Master files are stored in multiple secured geographic locations and monitored for health and integrity through our digital preservation service. Digital preservation infrastructure and administration aspire to the standards presented by ISO 16163, Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories.

6. Maintenance and Removal from Online Display. Rarely, individual objects or entire collections may need to be removed from online display when lacking enduring historical or research value, when determined to be out of scope, because of storage concerns, or due to a copyright dispute, among others. Migration to new formats, and the usage or disposal of the pre-migrated files will be decided at the discretion of Pepperdine University Libraries. These decisions will be made by the Digital Collections Development and Archiving Working Group.

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