Building Digital Archives, Descriptions and Displays

Mark Shelton (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 December 2004




Shelton, M. (2004), "Building Digital Archives, Descriptions and Displays", Collection Building, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 203-204.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Building Digital Archives, Descriptions and Displays is another title in the Neal‐Schuman series of How‐to‐do‐it Manuals for Librarians. Frederick Stielow, with a background in archives and information technology, authors this, his second title in the series. The author does an excellent job of creating a real “how to” manual by taking the reader from the project planning stage, to developing policies for digitization procedures, to putting together the Web site, to finally dealing with the issues of maintenance and long‐term preservation. Most of the book deals with the planning stage and Web site development as it looks at many different options for structure and design. To help the reader understand what is being explained, the book develops aspects of an HTML‐enabled finding aid for a digital archive. The archives slant to the discussion helps to bring the book back to its purpose when HTML coding and Web site management issues are presented. Information on coding systems and a section on previously developed systems for digital archives in libraries and museums presents additional options to institutions that are looking to develop a digital archives project. By covering many different aspects of a project, each reader will find sections that are significant to their need.

This book is very easy to read, and the author creates a structure that adds to the information without making the book verbose. First, there are many bulleted lists throughout the book that makes it easy to find information fast. Second, gray boxes act as sidebars that provide background and supporting details relevant to the topics under discussion. Forms, templates and tools are included to help the reader both visualize the work being presented and they provide support for the reader's own project. Do not worry about making your own list of Web sites discussed in the book because the author also provides a complete webliography at the end of the book. All of these items work well together to make the book very clear and readable. At times, the reader will find that the information will jump from being very detailed to being somewhat broad in its coverage, but this is minor in comparison with how well this book is put together. This book is for anyone who is planning to develop a digital archiving project, or is in the middle of one and wants to make sure all the details have been covered.

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