1 04 2010

The AddressingHistory project will create an online tool which will enable a broad spectrum of users, both within and outwith academia (particularly local history groups and genealogists), to combine data from digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories with contemporaneous historical maps.

The AddressingHistory project will be delivered by EDINA in partnership with the National Library of Scotland using materials already digitised under ongoing NLS programmes.

Crowd-sourcing through the AddressingHistory tool will, it is envisioned, lead to a fully geo-coded version of the digitised directories thus providing significant added-value to the general public, local historians and specialist researchers across multiple disciplines.

The project will focus on three eras of Edinburgh mapping and Post Office Directories (1784-5; 1865; 1905-6) however the technologies demonstrated will be scalable to the full collection of digitised materials which include 400 directories and associated maps covering the whole of Scotland.

Project Deliverables

  • The Web 2.0 enabled AddressingHistory tool which will contribute to crowd sourcing through the georeferencing of historical addresses.
  • Increased community awareness and engagement with the digitised maps and Post Office directories at the core of this project.
  • An API onto the crowd-sourced data.
  • A sustainable exit strategy for the data created by users for AddressingHistory.
  • Final report

EDINA Contacts

Stuart MacDonald




National Library of Scotland


Digitizing Dissertations for an Institutional Repository: A Process and Cost Analysis

10 03 2010

A very nice article published in 2008 about digitization, workflow, policy development, cost analysis, and end user access by Mary Piorun, Associate Director for Technology Initiatives and Resource Management ; Email:


This paper describes the Lamar Soutter Library’s process and costs associated with digitizing 300 doctoral dissertations for a newly implemented institutional repository at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Project tasks included identifying metadata elements, obtaining and tracking permissions, converting the dissertations to an electronic format, and coordinating workflow between library departments. Each dissertation was scanned, reviewed for quality control, enhanced with a table of contents, processed through an optical character recognition function, and added to the institutional repository.


Three hundred and twenty dissertations were digitized and added to the repository for a cost of $23,562, or $0.28 per page. Seventy-four percent of the authors who were contacted (n=282) granted permission to digitize their dissertations. Processing time per title was 170 minutes, for a total processing time of 906 hours. In the first 17 months, full-text dissertations in the collection were downloaded 17,555 times.


Locally digitizing dissertations or other scholarly works for inclusion in institutional repositories can be cost effective, especially if small, defined projects are chosen. A successful project serves as an excellent recruitment strategy for the institutional repository and helps libraries build new relationships. Challenges include workflow, cost, policy development, and copyright permissions.


One Dove; One Dove; Your Lucky to Have One Dove…

1 03 2010

“A century from now, will desegregation in Virginia be a forgotten story? If we don’t do a better job of saving our records, it could be. Currently, few records of school desegregation in Virginia are publicly available….”

With this ominous sentence Old Dominion University librarians Sonia Yaco and Tonia Graves discuss the state of historical access and preservation of records relating to the desegregation of Virginia schools. “Mapping the Desegregation of Education in Virginia: Where are the Records?” describes  the all too common scenario of historical records disappearing. I have discovered the same scenario while conducting research about a particular county in Alabama. However, the picture is not so gloomy. Yaco and Graves also describe a very unique, ambitious and valuable initiative Desgregation of Virginia Education (DOVE). DOVE’s goals are to identify, locate and preserve records that document Virginia’s  School desegregation process.

Visit the DOVE website @; monitor DOVE’s progress on DOVE’s blog @ and view the DOVE catalog @

Sometimes it’s great to read and write about high level concepts such as web 2.0, cloud computing, metadata, XML or other ways of leveraging technology in archives and special collections, but, as a historian, I get really excited when I see a concrete effort to place the focus on the one thing that matters the most – the COLLECTION i.e. the objects that the researcher/end user is interested in.  

DOVE’s progress should be monitored and the framework should be noted and referenced as a model for similar state/regional inventory projects.