My role in the Digital Center for Americana Project is to scan items and enter metadata for these scans. This includes information on where the item is located in the building, who created it, what it is, and descriptive notes. In addition I enter the technical particulars of the scan itself, such as dpi and pixel dimensions. Early on in the project a decision was made to create metadata records on the box level. That way we can follow through on the More Product, Less Process concept all the way to digitization. This has contributed to a current work flow that cuts down on repetitive data entry, and reduces the opportunity for errors.
At the beginning of the process the project archivist picks some items, or signposts, that are good representations of that particular section of the series and flags them for digitization. When I start scanning I enter the metadata for the group. Each scan is named with three sets of numbers. The first is the collection number, the second is the sequence of metadata records within the collection, and the last is the individual item number. So I only have to go back to the metadata record when I’ve finished scanning all of the signposts in a box, to enter the last scan number in the series. The project archivist will then contribute further edits to the descriptive notes, as needed. In general the data entry is done fairly quickly, for a manual entry process.
Below is a sampling of scans that are grouped together in the one metadata record seen above. They are from the John Rutter Brooke papers (you can read more about the General’s collection in other posts here). All happen to come from a folder labeled “miscellaneous,” and as you can see they cover the gamut. Included are a recipe for tooth powder, an advertisement for a waterproof belt cape, an excerpt from a military report, and a sketch of a military advance.