Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

HomeHow to become a contributor to the Iowa Heritage Digital CollectionsSteps to Participation

Steps to Participation

Steps to Contributing a Collection to IHDC

When you begin a new project, it is very helpful to view Moving Theory Into Practice, Digital Imaging Tutorial created by the Cornell University Library. This tutorial will help you with all of the following steps. Also see IHDC's Digitization Resources. Institutions which own their own CONTENTdm™ license and server should contact the IHDC staff for information about how to participate.

Step One: Preparation

Identify a group of items with a unified theme that meets the goals of the IHDC;

Determine if your institution owns the copyright for the items or if the owner will grant you permission to digitize and post the items on the internet;

You can set up a Deed of Gift agreement between the donor and the repository that transfers ownership of and legal rights to the donated materials. Here is an example from the Des Moines Public Library

Des Moines Public Library Deed of Gift


Contact the IHDC staff to discuss your project;

Determine if you have the necessary resources available to undertake the project; planning, selection, digitization, creating metadata (cataloging), quality control - all require time and money;

Apply for a grant (if applicable).

Step Two: Planning Plan your project from start to finish;

Check with your institution's IT staff to determine if you have the hardware necessary for the project - both for the digitization and the digital management software;

Determine if you will digitize your materials yourself or outsource the work;

Look at the IHDC's best practices for digitization and determine digitization requirements;

Look at the IHDC's best practices for metatdata and determine what metadata you will use;

Create clear metatdata standards for staff who will input the metatdata;

Create clear naming standards for your files BEFORE you digitize them;

Plan staff time and resources for the project;

Identify staff and resources for a promotional campaign for the completed project;

Determine if you will provide copies of the selected items if requested by users.

Step Three: Setting up the Digital Management Software

Determine who in your institution has administrative rights to the computers(s) that you will be using for digital item storage and metadata entry;

Contact the IHDC staff for instructions

Schedule a training session  with IHDC staff and/or consult our training page.

Step Four: Start Small

Select 20-25 objects from your collection and create a trial project;

Complete all steps in the project for this smaller subset to find the problems and improve the processes and the metadata;

Digitize the items following your determined standards (i.e. will you create an archival TIFF copy, create two PDF use copies, etc.);

Create metadata for each item following your determined metadata standards, Required Metadata Fields for Items

Create a collection in IHDC's software, Omeka, and add images and metadata;

Evaluate what the collection looks like to the public and how the search works;

Revise your metatdata and/or digitization practices as needed until you are happy with the results.

Step Five: Complete the Project

Digitize all items in the collection;

Import them to IHDC's site;

Create the metadata in IHDC's software, Omeka, or in a spreadsheet and then import to Omeka;

Correct errors;

Create a brief description of the collection and send it to IHDC staff for inclusion;

Make the collection available to be viewed by the public

Establish procedures for providing copies of the items, if necessary;

Plan and implement your promotional plan. For a detailed Q&A about the IHDC click here.


For More Information:


About IHDC

Digitization Resources

Funding Sources

Contact Us