This week, just like Marissa, I learned about metadata and uploaded my very first item on to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library, California Water Documents. I must admit, for some odd reason, I had not completely thought through the idea that the scanning I do and all the metadata information I find and I identify would be directly placed on the big world-wide net for all to use. As I sat down Thursday afternoon in front of my computer with Tanya by my side looking at my very first uploaded document (titled Preliminary Report upon the American States Water Service Company of California and Bear Valley Utility Company and which you can find here *wink wink*: http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/cwd/id/4914) I could not help but feel slightly nervous and profoundly conscious of my scanned images (were they too uneven? were they all the same size? were they all rotated correctly?) and especially the metadata I had entered (was it all correct? was it all completely certified by the Library of Congress despite having gone through with Tanya to assure that it was? Is there more I should add? More that could be useful to someone looking up information on the business growth and water rates of a water-supply company from the 1800s??). The information must be precise, even the slightest errors such as an unneeded space or whether a letter is capitalized must be found and fixed. Those attention to detail skills are extremely necessary right now.
Simultaneously I felt a sense of accomplishment for having been responsible for providing this sort of information now accessible to so many people. I mentioned in some of my very first blog posts of how important and incredible it was to make these historical documents easily accessible to such a wide audience and this has just reinforced that feeling inside me. I must also admit that doing metadata allows a different yet deeper understanding of the documents I have been working with. Often in scanning so many pages in a day, sometimes up to 60, 80, or 100 pages, I begin to mechanically scan without taking time to read the page I am scanning let alone take the time to admire the page(s). But, five more documents uploaded (here’s the link to the Claremont College Digital Library, California Water Documents so you can check them out *wink wink wink*: http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/cwd) and I can conclude that metadata is a nice break from scanning as well as an opportunity for my relationship with these documents to deepen. I think I can officially say I have spent more time on this relationship than any other…
until next time!