Building & Maintaining Collections

Primary goals when creating a digital collection:

  • Digital assets (files) are captured in the best possible way for their expected use(s)
  • Digital assets (files) are preserved and accessible in the near- and long-term
  • Storage space is used efficiently

Software and Hardware Requirements

Before beginning any digitization project you should be sure that you have the appropriate hardware and software.  Depending upon the scope of the project, digitization can require considerable computing resources.  You will need a computer (either a Mac or PC) with the right combination of components that will ensure productivity and reliability.  Laptops are not generally recommended except in cases where use of a desktop is not possible (asset capture in the field, for example). 

For image and video collections, the right monitor is important for accurate color and tone correction.  Each monitor interprets and displays colors and tonal values differently. You should calibrate your monitor and scanner to be sure that when adjusting and manipulating images you are not introducing color and tonal biases of your equipment into your images. Even with the best calibration, images will appear differently on different monitors.  Additionally it is impossible to reproduce colors seen on your monitor in print.

For audio collections, better sound cards, speakers or microphones may be useful, depending on the goals of the project. Moreover, specific digital recording equipment may be useful, depending on the desired result. Contact IT for a thorough hardware review prior to any acquiring equipment to ensure success.

You will need several software packages to edit your captured files and to perform digital asset management.

Software and Hardware Standards

Because computer models, peripherals, scanners, and software versions change so quickly, it is important that you contact IT to get the most recent standards.  The staff will assist you in selecting the correct equipment for your project.

File Storage and Management

Storing digital asset files requires huge amounts of disk space.  Depending upon digital file specifications, a collection of 50 slides might use from 450 megabytes to 5 gigabytes. Digital audio and video files can be significantly larger than this. This data will quickly fill a hard drive, network space, or other storage device. 

File structure and storage should ensure that the many files involved in the digital collection can be stored easily and without unnecessary duplication.  This file storage system should include a storage location on the Bowdoin network (which is routinely backed up) and a single top-level directory to which all files are saved.

File Storage Standards

Please call IT to discuss file storage needs.

File Naming

Different operating systems and networks interpret letters, numbers, and other characters differently.  In order to avoid problems as files move between different computers or networks use a base set of rules when naming your files:

File Naming Standards

  • Length: 32 or fewer characters, including the extension
  • Include three letter extensions (e.g., “.tif”)
  • Use only one period in a file name, and position it before the three-letter extension; if there is no extension, then do not use any periods in the filename.
  • Use only the characters from the following sets: a-z, 0-9, hyphen ( - )
  • Use all lower case letters

Maintaining the Collection

IT will provide sufficient network storage space for the consistent backup of all files.  As the collection grows, or once it is built, the scope, intended use, and audience may change.  The collection manager should meet with IT to discuss changing requirements and adjustments in both the workflow and systems infrastructure. 

Off-campus network access for project development or maintenance requires special accommodation—please consult IT staff to make those special arrangements.