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Expanding Audio Digitization Capacity: Introducing PAADS

In 2012, the UMD Libraries Digitization Center expanded from three Epson 10000XL flatbed scanners and one Zeutschel OS12000 to include one more Epson 10000XL, an Epson V700 Perfection, and the beginnings of an audio digitization station. Two years later, we have two operational audio digitization workstations and one video digitization workstation nearing completion. Over the last several months, we have been planning the next stage in developing digitization capacity at UMD Libraries–reorganizing, updating, and staffing the former digitization lab in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL), now known as the Performing Arts Audio Digitization Studio (PAADS).

Under the management of DCMR, PAADS will be an extension of audio digitization efforts in the UMD Libraries. The studio is located within MSPAL and will primarily serve the digitization requests and projects for collections within MSPAL, including the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM) and Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA). With the increasing volume of requests from these collection areas, we realized the value of expanding digitization operations into the library. The studio will allow DCMR to digitize these collections without coordinating the transfer of physical materials between libraries, and will provide faster access to digitization-on-demand for requests.

Creating a digitization studio in this space is a smart decision for increasing access to collections and is a good financial option for expanding our operations. The space was originally designed as an audio studio with optimum sound absorption and minimal vibration interference, making it an ideal space for preservation-level digitization work. Most of the legacy media players are already housed in the space (though a few pieces will need to be repaired). We will update the digital convertor, interface, and a few auxiliaries. We also plan to update the wiring and connections to reflect a more streamlined audio digitization workstation, which relies on multi-purpose equipment and more flexible software. The proposed PAADS configuration is very similar to the configuration of the audio workstations in the Hornbake Digitization Center; the similar setups will enable us to train students more quickly.

Project Timeline
After a conversation with MSPAL staff, Robin Pike, Henry Borchers, and Eric Cartier met to discuss expanding audio digitization in October 2013. Over the next two months, Borchers and Cartier documented and assessed the equipment in the digitization studio. Borchers delivered an analysis report to Pike in January 2014, which she integrated into the Analysis and Proposal sections of a larger plan. Pike delivered this plan to MSPAL staff in February and they collaborated to complete it throughout March. The Associate Deans of Public Services and DSS recently approved this plan.

Parts of the Plan
The plan addresses the business case and operational need in the Introduction. Borchers’s Analysis includes a list of the equipment and their operational status, and the overall operational and functional status of the studio in its current configuration. The Proposal features a list of new equipment to purchase, a budget, and details of the plan to reconfigure the space. The Installation Timeline follows the Proposal, and is based on the hours Borchers estimated it took him to set up one audio digitization wotkstation in the Hornbake Digitization Center. It also includes a list of dependencies or restrictions on the timeline, such as the availability of new equipment and unforeseen issues with legacy equipment currently in the studio. Pike also included a Staffing Plan, stating who would be in the workspace, when, and that DCMR’s goal is to staff the space approximately 20 hours/week, if budgets permit. It concludes with a plan for staff hours and access, a communication plan between MSPAL and DCMR during the setup phase and during production operations, and a commitment to maintenance of the space.

We ordered the new equipment this week and hope to start installing it at the end of April. Borchers and Cartier plan to photograph the progress of the space so we can share the phases towards completion on this blog.

About robincpike

Robin Pike is the Manager, Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting at the University of Maryland Libraries. Her interests include digitization standards and workflows and preserving audiovisual materials.


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