REVEAL: Read and View English and American Literature
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While the Harry Ransom Center holds a vast collection of manuscripts, rare books, photographs, and works of art, our digital collections website displays only a fraction of these treasures. This past year we launched a one-year initiative designed to expand access to our archival collections by dramatically increasing the number of items available for online viewing. The REVEAL project (REad and View English and American Literature) entails digitizing entire manuscript collections, reusing descriptive metadata from finding aids, and delivering this content online through CONTENTdm. When the project is completed in the spring of 2015, we expect to have created over 20,000 images from 25 literary manuscript collections, which will nearly double the number of images available to our online researchers. The collections were drawn from our extensive British and American literature holdings, and include work from authors such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Joseph Conrad, Zane Grey, Violet Hunt, Washington Irving, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Oscar Wilde. Materials range from loose manuscripts to correspondence, bound volumes, photographs, scrapbooks, galley proofs, and even a few unusual items. In the past, our digital collections were often created by carefully selecting items and manually producing descriptive metadata. The REVEAL project instead developed a workflow for large-scale digitization of complete collections, building upon previous cataloging work. In this presentation we will discuss our process for re-formatting finding aids into metadata and we will describe our workflows for mass digitization and processing of image files. By sharing the outcomes of challenges we encountered and lessons learned along the way, we hope to provide ideas for other institutions who may be considering undertaking similar initiatives.