Putting the Collection Online
How can you provide online access to the collection?

Steps to Success: Before the Event

STEP 1

Designate an Online Access Specialist and a Data Entry Volunteer.

The Collection Coordinator will designate a member of the Project Team to serve as the Online Access Specialist. The Online Access Specialist will oversee all activities related to putting the collection online, including overseeing the selection of an Online Access Platform prior to the event, as well as all data entry work related to the various forms collected at the event. The RoPA Developers recommend that the Online Access Specialist be a staff member of the Collecting Organization who can answer any questions about copyright and permissions on behalf of that organization.

The Collection Coordinator will also designate a member of the Project Team to serve as the Data Entry Volunteer. The Data Entry Volunteer will enter the information collected from the Event Registration and Permission Forms and the Descriptive Information Forms into the corresponding Event Registration and Permission Spreadsheet and Descriptive Information Spreadsheet (see Step 4 and Step 5 in the After the Event section of this module). The RoPA Developers recommend that the Data Entry Volunteer be someone who is comfortable with technology and has strong attention to detail.

STEP 2

Select your Online Access Platform.

Following archival best practices will help ensure that your collection is available to researchers and community members over the long term. The RoPA Developers strongly recommend providing access to your collection through an Online Access Platform. 

Setting up your Online Access Platform requires a certain amount of research and implementation time, so it’s important that you begin this work early in the participatory archiving process. Your Project Team will need to have a plan in place well before you host your event. Depending on the resources of the Collecting Organization that will be overseeing this work on behalf of the Project Team, you will have three different options.

Option 1: Use an existing digital repository platform.

If your Collecting Organization already has an online digital repository, this might easily serve as your Online Access Platform. Adding this new collection to the existing repository should be relatively straightforward as you are following established protocols and have staff members to help. The Collection Coordinator and Online Access Specialist will work with the Collecting Organization staff members to ensure that forms and descriptive fields align with the structure of the existing digital repository, as described in step 3 below.

Option 2: Establish a digital repository that you will either host and maintain, or that you will pay a vendor to host and maintain.

Host the platform yourself 

If the Collecting Organization has in-house technical support, resources, and expertise, your Project Team may decide to host your own digital repository as your Online Access Platform. The benefit of hosting your own repository is that you will have full control over the design and technical aspects of the platform. 

Some repository systems are free to download and install, but there can be unexpected and substantial costs associated with this choice. Hosting your own repository requires managing the day-to-day maintenance and technical oversight of the platform. Any errors, glitches, or larger-scale platform problems that occur will need to be addressed by your Collecting Organization, which can incur additional costs.

The RoPA Developers do not endorse any one platform; we want to help you make informed decisions about which platforms are best suited for your budget and needs. The RoPA Vendor and Repositories Spreadsheet (download as MS Excel file) currently includes a breakdown of several repository platforms, and we expect this list to grow. The list addresses a number of factors to consider when choosing one or more repository platforms to manage, store, and provide access to your digital collection, including:

  • Hosting and implementation requirements; 
  • Whether a repository platform can serve as a public-facing front-end;
  • Whether a repository platform can serve as a Digital Preservation Storage Platform; and 
  • Cost concerns.

Please contact us if there is a platform that you recommend the RoPA Developers include.

Engage a vendor to host the platform and provide technical support

If your Collecting Organization doesn't have the in-house expertise to host and maintain your own repository platform, you may want to explore using a vendor-supported online digital repository. While there are more upfront and maintenance costs, the vendor will be available to address any errors, glitches, or larger-scale platform problems that arise over time. 

The RoPA Developers do not endorse any one platform; we want to help you make informed decisions about which platforms are best suited for your budget and needs. The RoPA Vendor and Repositories Spreadsheet (download as MS Excel file) currently includes a breakdown of several repository platforms, and we expect this list to grow. The list addresses a number of factors to consider when choosing one or more repository platforms to manage, store, and provide access to your digital collection, including:

  • Hosting and implementation requirements; 
  • Whether a repository platform can serve as a public-facing front-end;
  • Whether a repository platform can serve as a Digital Preservation Storage Platform; and 
  • Cost concerns.

Please contact us if there is a platform that you recommend the RoPA Developers include.

Option 3: Partner with a local institution or regional organization that already has a digital repository.

If your Project Team does not yet include a Collecting Organization, you may be able to partner with a local institution or regional organization and use their established Online Access Platform to make the collection available.  

Your Project Team will know your cultural landscape best. If you’d like to explore partnering with a local institution, consider contacting:

  • Local colleges and universities;
  • Local museums;
  • Historical societies or other cultural institutions; or
  • Regional or statewide library networks.

If you’d like to partner with a regional organization, the RoPA Developers compiled a list of statewide and regional repositories (download as MS Excel file), many of which are connected to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The RoPA Developers expect to update this list on an annual basis. Please contact us if there are updates, additions, or errors that we should address.

STEP 3

Match the Event Registration and Permission Spreadsheet and Descriptive Information Spreadsheet to your forms.

Event Registration and Permission Spreadsheet

Everyone who attends your event will complete an Event Registration and Permission Form at the Welcome Station. After the event, the information collected on these forms will be entered into the Event Registration and Permission Spreadsheet (download as an MS Excel file). 

In the Obtaining Permissions module, the Project Team has an option of whether to modify or adapt the Event Registration and Permission Form. If your Project Team did not change the Event Registration and Permission Form, the Online Access Specialist will not need to update the Event Registration and Permission Spreadsheet. If your Project Team modified or adapted this form, the Online Access Specialist will work with the Collection Coordinator to adapt the spreadsheet to match the form. 

Descriptive Information Spreadsheet

At the Information Station during your event, Contributors will complete a Descriptive Information Form for each Item they are adding to the collection. After the event, the information collected on these forms will be entered into the Descriptive Information Spreadsheet (download as an MS Excel file).

In the Describing Items module, your Project Team has the option to modify or adapt the Descriptive Information Form. If your Project Team did not change the Descriptive Information Form, the Online Access Specialist will not need to update the Descriptive Information Spreadsheet. If your Project Team modified or adapted this form, the Online Access Specialist will work with the Collection Coordinator to update the Descriptive Information Spreadsheet to match the form. 

STEP 4

Develop a takedown policy and standard rights statement for Items in your digital collection.

Before you can create your digital collection, the Collection Coordinator and the Online Access Specialist will need to develop a takedown policy and a standardized rights statement for use across all Items in your collection.

Takedown Policies

A takedown policy is one way to mitigate instances when a creator or copyright holder requests that an Item be removed from your online digital collection. A takedown policy is a documented procedure to remove Items, most often photographs, from a website or online digital repository. As explained in the Obtaining Permissions module of RoPA, such policies are essential when you’re acquiring materials that have a potentially questionable or unknown copyright status.

If you don’t currently have a takedown policy for your digital collections, the RoPA Developers recommend developing one that meets the needs of your Project Team. Many institutions have takedown policies with language in common.

Sample Takedown Policies

  • New York University Libraries: The Notice and Takedown Policy provided by NYU Libraries is fairly straightforward and provide a general overview of the policy as well as steps for requesting that material(s) be removed from the online digital collections.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston, Joseph P. Healey Library: The UMass Boston library's takedown policy is included as part of their Rights and Reproductions page, and includes specific information about takedown related to the department's Mass. Memories Road Show participatory archiving program and collections.
  • University of Nebraska Omaha Libraries: The Takedown Policy from the UNO Libraries is slightly more detailed than the policies at NYU or UMass Boston, but still also includes a general overview statement and policies and procedures for requesting that material(s) be removed from an online collection or repository. 

Rights Statements

Establishing a short, standardized rights statement for all of the Items in your collection can help streamline your workflows. 

Your Project Team may also want to consider mentioning your takedown policy in the record for each Item in the collection as part of a larger rights statement, as seen in the rights section of the description for this image from UMass Boston's Mass. Memories Road Show collection

The Online Access Specialist and the Data Entry Volunteer will use this statement when they’re carrying out collection data entry, posting the collection online, and preserving the collection. Specifically, this statement will go be included alongside each item uploaded to your Online Access Platform.

The RoPA Developers recommend adapting the following rights statement, which is used for the Mass. Memories Road Show collection, for use with your own collection: 

  • Copyright restrictions may apply. Visit [insert link to your takedown policy] for more information and to review our takedown policy.