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Library Staff Collaborate to Preserve Digital Materials


Approximately 27,000 Items Entered Into Registry of Digital Masters


September 11, 2012—The Library recently exported nearly 27,000 catalog records to OCLC Worldcat, the world's largest network of library content and services. The records link to complete, high-quality and freely available digitized copies of books and serials from Harvard collections. With the export process now in place, materials digitized here will be added regularly to WorldCat, where they will be discovered and used by scholars from Harvard and beyond.


According to the Digital Library Federation—under whose guidelines the Harvard Library has implemented the project—“By recording materials in the Registry, institutions are signaling the intent to preserve and maintain the accessibility of the described materials over an extended timeframe. This implies that materials were born digital or have been converted to digital form, that the digital objects are stored in professionally managed systems and that the institution is committed to retain and preserve them.”


This recent tapeload is of critical importance, representing the first batch of Harvard Library digital masters to be added to the Registry of Digital Masters (RDM). It includes all titles digitized at Harvard since 2003, the year that Harvard undertook its first systematic digitization project, the Latin American pamphlet digital project.


With the contribution of Harvard's digital masters to the RDM, Harvard's own digitally preserved content will now be easily discoverable and accessible to the world's scholars and librarians. Until now, the digital masters were available only through the HOLLIS catalog. Furthermore, the addition of Harvard's data to the RDM should help to avoid duplication of digitization efforts across libraries.


“Cataloging milestones like these too often go unheralded, even though these are the efforts that make our resources discoverable and therefore underpin all of our services and ambitions for the Library,” said William Comstock, Head of Imaging Services.


The Harvard staff members involved in this project include:


From Imaging Services:

Virginia Smyers Buxton, Manager

Elizabeth Chase, Metadata Technician

Qing Gao, Preservation Cataloger

Robert Heintz, Bibliographic Assistant

Anne Kern, Senior Cataloger

Hilary Kline, Manager

Madeleine Newell, Digitization Workflow Coordinator

Katherine Sweeney, Preservation Cataloger


From Information and Technical Services:

Richard Lesage, Manager


From Harvard University Information Technology

Allison Powers, Senior Systems Librarian

Robin Wendler, Metadata Analyst