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Visual Resources Library
 
Image Database & Digitization Project

Background
Objective
Approach
Implementation
Conclusion


 

Background

For several years, the VRL has considered a number of technologies to aid in gaining intellectual and physical control over its collection. The collection is composed of almost 90,000 slides and was developed over a period of 30 years as the major teaching resource for the art faculty. Over the last few years, faculty members have been transitioning to digital images by scanning slides from the collection. There is no way, however, to systematically store, catalog, and retrieve the digital images. The current focus of the VRL, therefore, is on the development of a digital image database in response to curricular needs.

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Objective

The digital image database and delivery system will provide a means to systematically store, catalog, and retrieve digital images. It will be web-searchable allowing UAlbany users to download images for their courses and research. Faculty from across the University are increasingly using digital images due to the prevalence of digital presentation tools, such as PowerPoint and WebCT, so the image database must be developed as a resource available to the entire campus community.

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Approach

Due to the size and scope of this project, it must be a collaborative effort. A series of outreach meetings are being held with departments and centers throughout UAlbany and SUNY Central to locate potential collaborators and contributors, and to identify any preexisting resources or similar initiatives. To date, SUNY Binghamton, which already has an image management and delivery system in place, has offered to provide their database system so that we may modify it to meet our local needs and to make it compatible with systems in use by UAlbany. Other potential partners in this initiative may include the Center for Art & Technology, the Office of Library & Information Services at SUNY Central, and the University Art Museum.

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Implementation

At this point, the VRL is not committed to a particular technology or implementation strategy. We are, however, determined that the database be made available to the entire campus community and that it be scalable to include instructional media in as many formats, and for as many disciplines, as possible. The database should, however, conform to three levels of standards: 1. the web-based information delivery systems and database standards in use by the UAlbany Libraries; 2. the web-based information delivery systems and database standards in use by the SUNY-wide system; and 3. the national metadata standards and cataloging practices. The implementation strategies the VRL is considering include:
  1. Purchasing a commercial image management software package
  2. Contributing to a preexisting UAlbany database
  3. Cataloging directly into DSpace, SUNY’s prototype institutional repository
  4. Building our own system
  5. Collaborating with a library within the SUNY System
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Conclusion

When we have secured the necessary support for this project, we will proceed to build a digital image collection. With contributions from faculty throughout the University, in time the database should represent the diversity of academic pursuits on the UAlbany campus.

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Visual Resource Library
Department of Art
College of Arts and Sciences
Fine Arts 121
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

 



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