Paper seismograms shake up research data workflows at Georgia Tech
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Although most research data collections submitted for inclusion in Georgia Tech’s institutional repository SMARTech are born digital and comprised of only a few digital files, some researchers still have valuable, non-digital collections. Case in point is a retired seismologist who offered the Library ownership over of a collection of original paper seismograms containing over 30 years of unique readings on seismic events that had occurred in the Southeast region. Given the unique and longitudinal nature of the collection, the Library, with support from the University Archives, agreed to digitized, preserve, and make accessible the complete collection through the Institution’s DSpace repository. The project was a strategic opportunity to provide access to a valuable collection of data files, and to collaboratively review and assess existing practices and workflows for dealing with digital collections. Areas of interest include: the need for review and subsequent adjustment to the existing repository deposit agreement to allow for the transfer of ownership and eventual destruction of the paper records; the expansion of digitization services to include patron submitted materials ; digitization of oddly shaped and often poorly documented paper records; struggles with the hierarchical collections and communities in DSpace when archiving a complex and highly interrelated collection; finding the balance between customized, discipline-specific metadata and the standard fields used for all repository items; and the creation of collection level metadata, using the Encoded Archival Description standard, to comprehensively document the breadth of the collection and allow future users more direct access to individual items contained within the entire collection. Our poster will discuss the specifics our process and reflect on lessons learned, highlighting areas for future consideration and collaboration.