Practical Technology for Archives

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[Excerpt] In 2007, OCLC published the report Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get Into the Flow to bring to the forefront a much needed conversation about digitization of archival collections, and access to the rich content accessible only through paper or other analog formats. The authors emphasized that any successful large digitization program would focus on access and quantity. They challenged archivists to rethink policies, procedures, and technologies that either slowed the process of mass digitization, or were unfriendly to the implementation of a rapid capture program. Recent articles, blog posts, and columns demonstrate that we as a profession continue to grapple with ways to implement digitization programs that are both sustainable and efficient. The strategies offered in this paper highlight a practical program for the mass digitization of organizational archival records using a rapid capture process that is replicable regardless of the size or resources of the repository. It will review the establishment of a rapid capture workflow at the University of Minnesota Archives; provide details on how it functions, including equipment information, scanner settings, and workflow procedures; explain the selection process for scanning; describe how it has helped to create inreach opportunities; and finally, examine how it has changed not only daily operations, but the perspective on what it means to provide broad access to the collections.