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Regional Digitization Program

Introduction and History:

The LILRC Regional Digitization Initiative began in August of 2002 through the use of Regional Bibliographic Data Bases (RBDB) and Library Services & Technology (LSTA) grant money. This Initiative was intended to create a central access point for digital library resources in the region. The first year of the Initiative focused on exploring the current digitization activities on Long Island by surveying area libraries using a survey form provided through the courtesy of Metro Council, which they had created with LSTA funding. This was followed by hiring a consultant with experience in the field of digitization, development of a collaborative initiative, development of standards and guidelines to facilitate digitization, joining the OCLC Digital and Preservation Cooperative which provided a test kit of their product, ContentDM, and finally testing the product through a pilot project.

The pilot project was undertaken by the Bryant Library of Roslyn using the ContentDM tutorial kit. The Bryant Library created the “Long Island Post Card Memories” digital pilot project, which consists of 330 post cards. With the completion of this project, the LILRC Regional Digitization Initiative progressed into the LILRC Regional Digitization Program.

The Program includes digitization of resources contained in Long Island historical repositories that can be used in teaching with historical documents in K-12 classrooms, and is in accordance with New York State Education Department Standards.

The LILRC Regional Digitization Program Collection Policy is to obtain materials pertaining only to Long Island history in analog (scanned and converted to digital format) and born digital formats.

Regional Digitization Task Force:

A Task Force for the LILRC Regional Digitization Initiative was established in 2002 when the Initiative was started. The purpose of the Task Force was to develop standards and guidelines to facilitate digitization, development of a collaborative Regional Digitization Initiative, and eventually, a Regional Digitization Program. This group established guidelines for metadata & imaging, standards for scanning, selection of materials, and a collection policy.

A LILRC Regional Digitization Program was established as part of the Regional Digitization Initiative. The Task Force set goals and objectives, standards and policies, and evaluation criteria for a three year Digital Library Program for the region. The work of the Task Force was completed at the end of the three year period.

Program Mission:

Through the collaborative efforts of Long Island archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and organizations, the people of Long Island will have access to the visual and oral record of Long Island history, culture, government and industry through a variety of textual, graphic and audio content in digital format via the World Wide Web.

  • To promote the use of accepted standards and processes for digitization by its members.
  • To ensure that the materials are of good quality and can be easily accessed.
  • Advocate for libraries that remain behind the curve to learn and use digitization to their benefit.
  • Build capacity, knowledge, and services among LILRC members so that more second and third stage digitization projects can be engaged.
  • Encourage collaboration between institutions, members and non-members of LILRC, to develop third stage collections of valuable digitized materials.
  • Pursue the necessary funding and other resources to assist in the creation and marketing of digitized collections and projects.

Program Purpose:

The purpose of the Program is to develop a regional digital collection of Long Island history built collaboratively by regional institutions that will:

  • Ensure public access to the rich regional resources of Long Island
  • Promote the economic and efficient delivery of digital resources to the people of Long Island
  • Contribute to the State and National effort to develop digital libraries and museums
  • Encourage the use of digital resources to meet the New York State education standards
  • Provide a regional website to promote Long Island history

Program Goals:

LILRC’s role through the Regional Digitization Initiative and now the Regional Digitization Program is to be the catalyst for digitization projects, and in this capacity it will be a:

  • Resource for information in the process of digitization
  • Provider of training sessions on digitization, standards, metadata, and access
  • Provider of information on digitization resources that are available to its members
  • Promoter of the use of accepted standards in digitization
  • Facilitator for collaboration within the region to provide a comprehensive digital history of Long Island
  • Advocate and trainer of digitization best practices
  • Provider of assistance to libraries, museums, and other organizations in the digitizing of materials and managing digital projects
  • Promoter of the content and rich resources available in Long Island archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and organizations
  • Liaison to the New York State Educational Community to incorporate digital objects that assist teachers, parents, and students in meeting the New York State Education Standards
Historical Newspapers:

In 2006 LILRC started the digitization of Nassau County historical newspapers. A pilot project was started using microfilm provided by the Freeport Memorial Library. The library had discovered this service copy of microfilm in storage. After it was determined that no master copy of the film was contained at the New York State Library, nor was a hard copy of the newspapers available, a decision was made to digitize the film.

Although this microfilm did not provide a pristine copy, it did make the information contained in the newspapers available. The information contained in the historical newspapers was far more important than the quality of the format. A valuable piece of Long Island history was thus preserved and made accessible to the public.

LILRC completed two additional newspaper projects namely, the Farmingdale Observer, with fragile hardcopy newspapers provided by the Farmingdale Public Library, and the second from microfilm of the Bethpage Tribune, provided by the Bethpage Public Library. Both projects were funded by matching grants from the libraries and a grant given to LILRC for digitization of newspapers from Senator Kemp Hannon.

Collaborative Program

In accordance with the mission, purpose, and goals set forth when the LILRC Regional Digitization Program, “Long Island Memories”, was initiated in 2002, it has entered a new era of collaborative expansion.

In June 2015, “Long Island Memories” joined the Empire State Library Network (ESLN) as part of a digitization cooperative program. “ Long Island Memories” materials were added to New York Heritage and the Digital Public Library of America.

Newspapers contained in “Long Island Memories” have been transferred into New York Historic Newspapers. These mergers will allow Long Island’s history to be open to a broader audience and will provide a better user experience when using the New York Heritage site.

For further information, please contact the LILRC Regional Archivist, at (631) 675-1570 ext. 2004 or via email nmenchise@lilrc.org.

Long Island Library Resources Council
627 N. Sunrise Service Road
Bellport NY, 11713
Phone: (631) 675-1570

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