Getting to Beta

Building a Model Collection in a World of Digital One-Offs

  • Kathryn Gucer University of Maryland
  • Kristina Adams
  • Chuck Schoppet
  • Ricardo Punzalan


Libraries and archives are increasingly producing subject-based digital collections alongside, but separate from, their main digital collections. These smaller projects are often treated as digital one-offs; they are created, launched, promoted, and then largely forgotten. The authors of this study argue that small-scale digital collections instead be treated as test cases for their institutions’ main digitization programs. Because they are lightweight and have relatively low stakes, these collections get pushed through the system quickly and can illuminate its workings and shortcomings in a snapshot form. The authors treat their own experience in developing the Animal Welfare Act History Digital Collection at the National Agricultural Library as a case study in using a digital collection to test and revise an institution’s digitization program. In so doing, this study suggests how agile projects like the AWAHDC can be core components in digital curation policies and their implementation. 

Research Papers