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Seton Hall University Libraries Digitized Collections Technology Plan

Seton Hall University Libraries Digitized Collections Technology Plan: 2016-2021[1]

Date:  June 7, 2016


Preservation: We share with all libraries the responsibility of preserving the cultural and intellectual legacy of human endeavor and knowledge for current and future use, particularly those materials that speak to the University’s history, Catholic mission and tradition of service.




Seton Hall University Libraries’ Strategic Plan Objectives 19 and 22 (see Appendix A) point to the need for more robust digital collections services, including a digital preservation program to share “selected Seton Hall assets to highlight the University, mission, and depth of resources.” This document addresses the requirements needed to achieve these goals, with the long-term aim of ensuring that born- and created-digital information is accessible and preserved for future access. Additionally, any serious grant or fundraising activity around digitization will be predicated on this infrastructure being in place.


In spring 2016, Dr. John Buschman, Dean of University Libraries, charged Elizabeth Leonard, Assistant Dean of Information Technologies and Collections Services, Prof. Sharon Ince, Digital Services Librarian, and Prof. Amanda Mita, Technical Services Librarian for Archives, with performing a thorough review and assessment of the current state of Digital Collections services for the University Libraries, as well as suggesting systems to address shortfalls and create a plan that would allow SHU Libraries to grow its Digital Collections capacities over the next five years. While reviewing existing digital operations and tools for SHU Libraries, the team was mindful of both the University Strategic Directions and the University Libraries Strategic Plan Goal and current Objectives (see Appendix A).


After reviewing our current infrastructure, we identified the following solutions that would respond to and support the above Strategic Directions, Objectives, and Goals:


  • Existing digital preservation practices at Seton Hall University are at a National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Level 1 (see Appendix C). We need to increase digital preservation to Levels 3 or 4. (Univ SD 2.4.11, 2.4.12, 4.7.22; Lib Obj. 19)


  • The University Libraries require Web Archiving software for preserving selected University websites and select University-wide e-mail communications from the University President and Provost among other important communications.  (Univ. SD 2.4.12, 4.7.22; Lib Obj. 19, 22, Goals 1-3, 6, 8, 9)


  • Our open-source collection-management software, Archivists’ Toolkit (AT), at present contains vital university and collections information.  However, it is no longer supported by the Archiving community, and has been superseded by a next generation tool, ArchivesSpace. Therefore, it is essential that the University Libraries upgrade its system. (Univ. SD 2.4.11-12; Lib Obj. 17-19; Goals 1-9)


  • Archives and Special Collections and Gallery/Museum Collections need public access systems for online exhibitions (Univ SD 2.4.11-12; Lib Obj 19-20,22; Lib Goals 1-5, 7-9).


  • Gallery/Museum Collections currently lacks a public access module for collections. This is an essential piece of software to provide researcher’s with access to the collections.  (Univ SD 2.4.12; Lib Obj 3, 13, 17, 22; G 3, 5, 7)


  • The existing digital asset management software, CONTENTdm, has been used for nearly 8 years without any major enhancements from the hosted vendor OCLC, and the pricing structure relative to the collection volume is high.  As products are developed, alternatives will be considered that possess a better pricing structure, ease of use, development timeline, and enhanced end-user experience (Univ SD 2.4.11, 2.4.12; Lib Obj 17-19; G 1-3, 9).


  • The flow of paper Records Management are diminishing. While the tools to manage those assets are antiquated, we need to implement best practices and select software and tools that will grow with our increasing need to manage incipient electronic records while assessing the need to modernize workflow for paper records. (Univ SD 2.4.12; Lib Obj 18; G 1-3, 5-8)


  • The university and its libraries need to position itself competitively to obtain grants. Successful grant applications require grant recipients to create and implement Data Management Plans that outline the practices for collecting, organizing, backing up, storing and, where appropriate, disseminating the data generated by their research. (Univ SD 2.4.12, 6.12; Lib Obj. 14; G 1, 3, 5-9)


  • We are codifying and implementing both a Digitized Collections Policy and a Digital Preservation/Curation Policy, as none currently exist. These documents will help guide University Libraries in the selection, creation, and preservation of digital collections. (Univ SD 2.4.11, 2.4.12; Lib Obj 17, 19, 22; G 1-3, 5, 7, 8).


  • To implement the SHU Libraries’ Strategic Plan, a position to manage and develop these tools – long in planning and budgeting – is currently in front of HRC for approval (Supports all University Strategic Directions and Library Goals & Objectives listed above).


Digital Processing Overview


To ensure that we meet the above needs well as develop a full complement of digital preservation systems that would allow us to achieve NDSA Level 4 (See Appendix C), we parsed out our current and recommended systems against the Digital POWRR (Preserving Digital Objects with Restricted Resources) preservation process, which covers five basic functions. Presenting the systems in this manner allowed us to identify and fill gaps in services:, pg. 6


Our proposed and existing systems would fit thus (new tools recommended in this report are in bold):


Ingest: ArchivesSpace, Preservica, PastPerfect

Processing: ArchivesSpace, Preservica, PastPerfect, Digital Commons

Access: CONTENTdm, OMEKA, ArchivesSpace, Digital Commons, PastPerfect Online

Storage: Digital Commons, Preservica, Amazon Glacier, Amazon S3

Maintenance: Preservica



Review of proposed systems:



  • Supports collection management and metadata authoring tools
  • Used by Archives for accessioning and describing collections
  • Replaces Archivist’s Toolkit (no longer in development)
  • Integrates with Preservica via API
  • Open Source; locally hosted
  • $3,000/ year for support contract



  • Provides storage, fixity, and current version of files, websites, email, etc.
  • Will be used by Archives, Gallery, Library, and University
  • Contains a web archiving module, a public access module, and is compatible with existing tools and future software. Allows ingest (direct import of items) from ArchivesSpace, PastPerfect, Digital Commons (workflow TBD w/Preservica), archives websites and email; provides basic electronic records management
  • Features a public-access module
  • Compliant with OAIS and NDSA Level 4 Preservation
  • Integrates with Amazon S3 and Amazon Glazier
  • Cloud hosted by vendor
  • $11,950  + for 1TB; then $1,450 per TB S3 per year and/or $550 per TB Glacier per year


  • Best quality web content and access point for digital exhibitions
  • Will be used by Gallery, Archives, and Museum Collections
  • Open Source; locally hosted
  • Internal IT costs (server, setup, space) $6,000


PastPerfect Online:

  • Provides online access to Gallery/Museum collections
  • Will be used by Gallery/Museum Collections
  • Hosted by vendor
  • $285 setup fee; $450 per year for 10,000 records; $245 for each add’l. 10,000


Maximizing the utility of our digital collections requires us to leverage the customizable functions of these systems. Therefore, the University Libraries has submitted to HRC a Digital Collections Projects Developer position. This position, reporting to the Assistant Dean of Information Technologies and Collections Services, will develop and implement digital library applications across multiple environments and operating platforms essential to University Libraries’ services and digital initiatives.

Digital Infrastructure, Preservation, and Archiving

These new tools meet five areas of critical need to enhance our digital infrastructure:


  • digital preservation software
  • dark archive storage capacity
  • implementation of web archiving
  • upgrade of our archival and art/artefact management software
  • presenting digitized resources with the use of digital exhibition software



Digital Preservation, as defined by University of Michigan Libraries, is “the management and maintenance of digital objects (the files, or groups of files, that contain information in digital form) so they can be accessed and used by future users”.  Without digital preservation, digital objects eventually become inaccessible. SHU Libraries’ existing digital preservation practices are at a National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Level 1 (which is defined as protecting data) (see Appendix C for full table). Our goal is to increase digital preservation practices to Level 3-4 (defined as monitoring and repairing data). To move forward with current and future digitization projects, to begin collecting born-digital archival materials, and to secure grants, a more robust preservation plan and preservation software are needed. SHU Libraries has selected Preservica preservation software to help meet that goal.


Dark archive

Preservica preservation software supports long term preservation (dark archive) and is compliant with OAIS (Open Archival Information System) supporting National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) level 4.

The Preservica software contains a module for web archiving that can be used for capturing and preserving University websites and select e-mail communications (from the Seton Hall University President, Provost, the Seton Hall Newsletter, etc.) for the Archives. This, essentially, is the next step for university archives in the 21st century and needs to be performed before more of this content is lost.


Archives & Special Collections Management Software

The University Libraries has opted to transition from Archivist’s Toolkit to ArchivesSpace, which will support such core services as accessioning, collection description and arrangement, and supports multiple metadata schemas as EAD, DC, METS. ArchivesSpace will be hosted locally and implemented between the summer and fall 2016. Upgrading to any new system necessarily entails data migration and negotiations with IT over server storage and maintenance.


Digital Assets Management

The Digital Services Planning Committee has not found a suitable replacement for CONTENTdm, and therefore has opted to keep it while looking for a suitable replacement.  Alternatives with a better pricing structure, ease of use, and enhanced end-user experience will be considered.

>Digital Exhibitions

Omeka, an “open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions,” [ ] has been identified as software that can support the library’s needs. This will enable us to produce more professional digital exhibitions (see Appendix B for a full list of open and completed projects) and more seamlessly utilize assets (finding aids, digitized objects) housed elsewhere.


Future Products


Research Data Management

We are reviewing products that will allow the UL and the entire University to respond to the requirements of many grant making authorities to centrally preserve and manage research datasets. We have tentatively identified Tind ( ) as an open-source, cloud managed product that can manage research data, and will consider implementing this or a similar product year two or three.


Budget Proposal, Year One




University Lib. Pays

IT Pays


$3,000/ year (UL)


Preservica **


=$11,950 for 1TB+ $ 1,450 (1TB) S3+$1650 (3 TB) Glacier/year (IT)


 $ (open source)


PastPerfect Online

=$285 setup + $ 900 for 20,000 records

(server done:  IT)

Digital Collections Developer Position

DCDP salary



* Estimate, based on the cost of implementing Omeka.

** Cost based on estimates of space needed; may increase.



Existing Commitments



External Cost

Internal Cost


$3,305 / year


Digital Commons

 $35,748 /






Total Projected Budget Year One

  • Existing Costs: $39,053
  • Proposed External Costs: $ 19,235 (without position)
  • Proposed Internal Costs: $6,000 + unknown (internal costs for ArchivesSpace not established)
  • Total Year One Costs:


Projected Budget Year Two: Dependent upon product price increases; Preservica needs for Year Two are expected to grow from 4 Tb to 7+ Tb, which will incur at least $2,000 increase over Year One.


Projected Year Three: Dependent upon product price increases; projected Preservica server needs to over 10 Tb, a minimum increase of $2,000 over Year Two.                                     

Proposed Timeline: Spring/Summer 2016 +


Immediate (spring/summer 2016)

  • Install OMEKA

Next four months (by August 2016)

  • Hire new Digital Developer
  • Implement OMEKA


Fall 2016

  • Install ArchivesSpace; plan data migration
  • Implement Preservica
  • Migrate data from Archivist’s Toolkit to ArchivesSpace
  • Begin writing Data Management plans


Spring 2017+

  • Continue Fall 2016 projects
  • Data Management plan development
  • Review options to replace CONTENTdm


Digitization of Collections

The Committee has developed a Policy for the Digitization of Collections that outlines the criteria that must be met before collections are digitized. See Appendix D for this document.


Appendix A:


University Strategic Directions (relevant portions)

SD 2.3: Enhance the culture of excellence in academics.

SD 2.3.5: Strategically and disproportionately invest in the distinctive aspects of a Seton Hall undergraduate education including the core curriculum, servant leadership, Catholicity and student research.

SD 2.4.11: Selectively invest in identified key support areas such as the library, technology, and academic advising.

SD 2.4.12: Enhance existing structures that support academic excellence, scholarly activities, and research efforts, such as University Research Council, travel awards, sabbaticals.

Univ SD 4.7.22: Communicate the importance of the Catholic identity and academics to the entire University community and all stakeholders via the web, all media and publications disseminated by the University.

SD 6.12: Diversify and increase sources of revenue.


Library Goals:

Goal 1) Provide expert assistance, instruction, and an innovative suite of user services which are responsive to the needs of our community and changing circumstances.

Goal 2) Build up and preserve print, digital, and other materials using selection criteria that reflect the academic priorities of the University, current collection strengths and significant research in all areas of study pursued at the University.

Goal 3) Provide effective organization and presentation of information and collections and access to information located elsewhere.

Goal 4) Create and maintain a physical environment that fosters learning and research and encourages use and interaction.

Goal 5) Communicate the library’s services and resources effectively, expand outreach and develop opportunities for our users to communicate about and shape those services and resources.

Goal 6) Develop strategic alliances and cooperate with other organizations for the advancement of scholarship, efficiency, and University goals and objectives.

Goal 7) Contribute to the academic, ethical, and cultural growth of the University community.

Goal 8) Foster an organizational culture and work structures that are agile, communicative, transparent, resilient and flexible, embrace change and encourage teamwork.

Goal 9) Secure the resources to meet Seton Hall University Libraries’ goals and objectives.


University Libraries’ Objectives (relevant portions)

Lib Obj 1: Design, staff, and build an opening day collection and space for the Seton Hall University School of Medicine

Lib Obj 3: Investigate, select, and deploy alternate service/teaching tools and technologies

Lib Obj 13: Enhance the Libraries’ discovery tool and the WMS library management system (e.g. the KnowledgeBase, etc. and its performance with ILLIAD/RAPID)

Lib Obj 17: Organize, expose, and preserve the Seton Hall University Museum Collection (2-9)

Lib Obj 18: Manage Special Collections space efficiently and effectively

Lib Obj 19: Develop a basic digital preservation program in Special Collections;

Lib Obj 20: Work with Advancement on top fundraising priorities (9)

Lib Obj 22: Digitize selected Seton Hall assets to highlight the University, mission, and depth of resources (e.g. Padilla de Sanz papers, Priest’s cassettes, Seton Hall University Museum Collection)



Appendix B:


Open and completed projects


  • Trina Padilla de Sanz Papers - The Archives & Special Collections Center (SPC) is digitizing the Trina Padilla de Sanz papers. This collection comprises the writings, correspondence, and family papers of Puerto Rican writer and suffragette Trina Padilla de Sanz. The collection dates from 1845 to 1968 and is approximately four linear feet. SPC has already created a digital exhibition of select materials utilizing a free hosted version of Omeka. The complete digitized collection will be housed in a local instance of Omeka. The project is ongoing. (See an exhibition of select materials created with a limited free, hosted version of Omeka --


  • D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities -– SPC in partnership with the Walsh Gallery, is processing and digitizing the D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities. The collection comprises 365 Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins, as well as a number of antiquities and artifacts. The complete digitized collection, along with a number of digital exhibitions, will be housed in a local instance of Omeka. The project is ongoing.


  • Galleon Yearbooks - in collaboration with Alumni Department,   SHU Libraries is outsourcing digitization of 70+ Galleon Yearbooks.   The yearbooks will be cataloged and uploaded to the SHU institutional repository, eRepository,[2] and the InternetArchive for online open-access dissemination. The project will be completed in time for the Fall 2016 Gold Pirates reunion.


  • Summer Institute for Priests - SHU Libraries is converting 1700+ cassettes to MP3 to be cataloged and made available via eRepository and InternetArchive for online open-access dissemination. This project is ongoing; release of first streaming materials is expected by Summer 2016.


  • Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETD) - In Fall 2013, SHU Libraries launched the online submission module for dissertation and theses submission to eRepository. The ETD collection currently contains approximately 1,500 items, with over 600,000 downloads. Also during Fall 2013, Seton Hall began submitting dissertations to ProQuest ETD collection. This is an ongoing service.


  • Journal of Political Analysis – is an open access journal run by SHU students. Contents include the best research papers and senior theses in fields of Political Science and Public Administration (i.e., Comparative Politics,  Public Policy, Political Theory, International Relations, American Politics, and Political Economy) in eRepository:










Appendix C:

Levels of Digital Preservation, NDSA

Appendix D:

Policy for Digitization of Collections



This policy is intended to guide the digitization of collections in the University Libraries as well as provide information to potential collaboration partners both on-campus and external to Seton Hall University.


A proposal to digitize collections materials must meet the following criteria:

  • It is non-duplicative of previously digitized materials (except in the case of content or resources for which local control of final product is sufficiently important to justify the possibility of duplication)
  • The University owns the copyright to the item(s) or it can be demonstrated that rights issues have been addressed
  • Condition of the original permits digitization without risk to the original’s artefactual value
  • Appropriate metadata exists or there is a plan in place to produce it.
  • Needed equipment and technical capability are in place and available or part of a proposed or approved funding plan
  • An appropriate delivery system exists or a plan is in place to provide it


Selection criteria:


The following factors will be considered when evaluating proposals to digitize or enhance digital access:


Content or resources that

  • Forms part of the University Archives
  • Are officially part of the records of the Archdiocese of Newark
  • Is at risk of being lost due to poor condition to obsolete media format
  • Falls within the Library’s stewardship responsibility
  • Has institutional significance
  • Is of particular local or regional value


The extent to which the proposed activity

  • Supports institutional goal or high-priority programs
  • Would add to institutional distinctiveness and recognition
  • Would make new uses possible
  • Provides a strategic opportunity for library innovation and learning
  • Provides a strategic opportunity for library partnership or collaboration
  • Contributes to an existing digital collection, brings together materials in different formats or repositories, links previously isolated titles, or creates an entirely new collection


Scope of the Policy for Digitization of Collections

  • Locally-digitized or Seton Hall University contracted-digitized resources
  • Library and University born digital resources
  • Acquired resources that are locally hosted and/or served
  • Resources for which the Library is responsible for one or more of the following critical functions: metadata, archiving, curation, access, or discovery


Not in scope for the Policy for Digitization of Collections

The following are not covered by this policy

  • Purchased or licensed resources that are hosted by vendor/publisher and for which the Library provides mainly metadata
  • Freely available content hosted elsewhere, and requiring only routine cataloging or other description for access using online cataloging and EDS, Worldcat Local, or Worldcat Discovery for discovery
  • Files that are being held as a dark archive
  • Non-database format bibliographies
  • Library’s website
  • TLTC resources
  • Faculty learning objects
  • Library learning objects
  • Materials created by digitization on demand


Adapted from (with permission)



[1] For Digital Services, Archives & Special Collections, and Gallery/Museum Collections:  A Supplement to Seton Hall University Libraries’ Strategic Plan

[2] eRepository (Digital Commons) ­ hosted SHU Institutional Repository shared with Law School. Collections include dissertations, theses, capstone projects, faculty publications, images, journals, and reports. Files include pdf, jpeg. The repository is publicly accessible, except for a few series that are restricted to the SHU community. Students can embargo their dissertation or thesis eRepository has over 4,500 items and 1.3 million downloads.