The Forums

Collaboration in the Digital Age
June 24 and 25, 2008
Denver Public Library, Colorado Historical Society, and Denver Art Museum
Denver, Colorado

Webcasts now available!

It is clear that Americans are increasingly using the Internet to connect to museum and library resources. A recent IMLS study reports that in 2006, 310 million of the 1.2 billion adult visits to museums were made online and 560 million of the 1.3 billion adult visits to libraries were made online. Yet the Health Heritage Index found that 60% of collecting institutions do not include digital preservation in their mission.*

Digitizing special library and museum collections has many advantages—better collection management, less wear and tear on objects, and greater public access—to name a few. But the challenges are also formidable, and include cost, prioritization and, of course, preserving digital collections. Where to begin?

To answer some of these questions, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) sponsored the forum, "Collaboration in the Digital Age."

This program - organized in cooperation with Heritage Preservation, the Colorado Historical Society, the Denver Public Library, and the Denver Art Museum - is part of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, an IMLS initiative to save endangered collections in the nation’s museums and libraries. Held on June 24 and 25 in Denver, CO, this was the second in a series of four national conservation forums that are part of the Connecting to Collections initiative.

"Collaboration in the Digital Age" responded to the needs of museums and libraries by helping them think strategically and collaboratively about digitization and digital preservation. Speakers reviewed the fundamentals of digital content creation and preservation, emphasizing practical approaches to planning digital projects, increasing access to collections, enabling digital resources to serve multiple purposes, and protecting digital investments. Francie Alexander, Senior Vice President of Scholastic Education and Chief Academic Officer of Scholastic Inc, was the first of many speakers, including leaders in the digital collections field and other distinguished professionals from across the nation. The keynote speaker was Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The forum was open and free of charge to staff and board members of museums, libraries, and archives, as well as to conservation professionals, representatives of government, funders, and the media.

"Collaboration in the Digital Age" was held at the three sponsoring institutions, all located just south of Civic Center Park in downtown Denver.

*Interconnections: Museums, Libraries and the Internet was sponsored by IMLS through a cooperative agreement with the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science. The Heritage Health Index was conducted by Heritage Preservation in partnership with the IMLS.


June 24

Denver Central Library Conference Center

1:00 p.m. – Welcome and Introductions
• Anne-Imelda Radice, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
• Lawrence L. Reger, President, Heritage Preservation

Opening Speaker
• Francie Alexander, Senior Vice President of Scholastic Education and Chief Academic Officer of Scholastic Inc.

Panel 1: What Do You Do First? Getting Started with Digitization
      Thinking strategically about digitization
     • Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., President, Center for Research Libraries
      Elements of a digitization project
     • Nancy Allen, Dean and Director, Penrose Library, University of Denver

Panel 2: Taking Control: Guidance and Best Practices
     Gaining intellectual control

     • Susan Chun, Cultural Heritage Consultant

     Making it all last
     • Priscilla Caplan, Assistant Director for Digital Library Services, Florida Center for Library Automation

     Case Study: Getty's Electronic Cataloging Initiative
     • Christina Olsen, Program Officer, Getty Foundation
     • Mary MacNaughton, Director, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College

6:00 p.m. – Keynote Address
Denver Art Museum
• Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum

7:00 p.m. – Reception
Colorado History Museum

June 25

Denver Art Museum

8:00 a.m. – Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – Panel 3: Getting Help
     Products and services you can use

     • Gayle Palmer, Digital & Preservation Services Manager, OCLC Western Service Center

     Improving staff skills
     • Tom Clareson, Program Director, New Initiatives, PALINET

     Sustaining digital projects
     • Toby Graham, Director, Digital Library of Georgia

Panel 4: Better Together
     Collaboration Panel Discussion

     • Leigh Grinstead, Project Coordinator for the Collaborative Digitization Project

     • Emily Gore, Head of Digital Initiatives and IT, Clemson University Libraries, and Co-Director, South Carolina Digital Library
     • Anna Lookabill Scott, Archivist, Aspen Historical Society
     • Ira Revels, Project Manager, Cornell University Library - HBCU Library Alliance Digitization Initiative
     • Janice Franklin, Dean, Alabama State University Library and Learning Resources

1:00 - 3:30 p.m. – Connections Lab and Lunch
Denver Central Library Conference Center