Hidden Gems: A Partnership between the Digitization Lab and Photography Studio Art at UNT
In the fall of 2018, A Graduate Student Assistant position was created by the University of North Texas (UNT) Digital Projects Lab in collaboration with the Photography Department in the College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD). The position was designed to filter graduate photography students into the UNT Libraries, and specifically into its digitization lab. The experience of employing a graduate student in photography has been valuable to the UNT Digital Projects Lab because of the increased quality of images, less and easier training time, less oversight on part of library staff, and the maintaining of production levels that this GSA position has provided. Art students are trained to see images wholly and critically, and this kind of skill set can help digitization departments output high-quality images that might not otherwise be easily achieved. Training of GSAs who come from a Photography background is much easier as they are already trained in digital imaging skills such as color management, camera settings, Adobe software, lighting, etc. This means projects can be done more quickly, with fewer errors, thus having a positive effect on digitization labs and their collections in the long run. The experience of the GSA hired by the digitization lab at UNT has also been positive because she has been able to apply her skillset in photography to a variety of digitization projects, and has gained valuable working experience that will benefit her after she graduates. This kind of experience for photography graduate students gives them the proficiency and knowledge to become potential future cultural heritage imaging professionals. We should remain aware of skillsets available outside of the library sciences and information science programs and the potential these other skillsets hold for libraries. Inter-departmental partnerships, such as the one between the UNT Libraries and the Photography Department, can help pave the road for further establishing the library and its services and meeting its goals and objectives. Digitization labs and people with photography and art backgrounds can equally benefit from these kinds of partnerships.