Projects in the Digital Archiving Lab: Fall 2020

As we near the end of the semester and residential students prepare to head home, Special Collections & University Archives staff are looking back over the past few months, grateful to the entire UMW community that made this a successful fall, despite the immense challenges and obstacles we encountered.  In the Digital Archiving Lab (DAL), we faced limited capacity in the space, remote consultations and trainings, and remote work for DAL staff – just to name a few! While our staff and students are used to creative problem-solving due to the nature of working with technology, they went above and beyond to complete a variety of projects despite the obstacles.

Here are a few of the projects we’ve been working on this semester:

  • The Curriculum Proposals Collection is a new digital collection in Preservica. This project consisted of migrating data from the University Curriculum Committee Proposal Archive, built in WordPress, to our digital collection and preservation system. This new collection includes curriculum proposals reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee from October 2012 – January 2020. In addition to being full-text searchable, researchers can browse and search by submission date, approval date, college, department, and more!
Screenshot of the Curriculum Proposals Collection in UMW Archive's digital collection database.
The Curriculum Proposals Collection preserves and provides full-text access to over 1,000 proposals submitted from October 2012 – January 2020.
  • Of course, digitization was also an important part of the semester! While many traditional in-person events moved online, the Digital Archiving Lab supported the community by scanning and photographing items for virtual learning, events, and publications. For example, in August, DAL staff digitized 20 lithographs for the UMW Galleries digital exhibition: “American Still Life: The Wildlife Lithographs of Maryrose Wampler.” These lithographs were too large for a scanner, but our DSLR camera and tripod were perfect for the job!
  • As part of our ongoing Call to Contribute initiative, staff continued to collect and process items that document the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UMW community. A large aspect of processing is making sure that the content we collect will be accessible to all of our users. For example, it’s important that we caption videos, create transcripts for audio files, and ensure that text documents are fully searchable. Our student staff in the Digital Archiving Lab have worked tirelessly to caption over 20 videos, as well as embed the captions into video files and create documentation to help others with the process. (Thank you, Claire and Francesca!) We are looking forward to sharing these resources with you via our digital collections soon!
  • DAL staff continues to partner with the University of Mary Washington Herbarium, led by Dr. April Wynn, to add high-resolution specimen images and metadata to Eagle Scholar. This semester, in collaboration with Herbarium (and Library!) student employee, Chase Monroe, over 1,400 images have been added to the collection, bringing the total to over 3,500 images! Many years of hard work have gone into this project, made possible by fantastic student volunteers and employees who scanned specimens, collected data, and organized spreadsheets!
Screenshot of the eight scanned herbarium specimens in the Herbarium Collection in Eagle Scholar.
Years of hard work from students, faculty, and staff have resulted in over 3,500 specimen images and metadata added to Eagle Scholar!

Special Collections & University Archives staff are appreciative of our student and staff colleagues who made these projects, and so many more, possible this year. The Digital Archiving Lab may have looked different, but despite the challenges, we found creative ways to build collaborations and projects that we are excited to share with our community. Thank you for a successful semester in the Digital Archiving Lab!

November 20, 2020