Staten Island Project Management Plan

After selection, documents for this project will go through a series of steps to ensure that they are digitized and made available with all necessary and useful information. It is extremely important that researchers be given the greatest amount of information possible about the documents provided for them, because it is unlikely that they will ever be able to study them personally or physically. Standardized terms for units of measurement or for descriptive labels will be necessary to ensure consistency. At the same time, the digitization process should be as straightforward as possible to make the project understandable and clear. Keeping the procedures simple will also minimize any necessary staff by reducing the amount of oversight and management necessary, and will ensure that the widest variety of people can potentially work on the project.

Photographs will be scanned at a reasonably high resolution, most likely 600 dpi, and will be stored in a common but high-quality format, such as TIFF. This will be the main or original version from which lower quality copies can be made for various purposes. Next, the vital information about the photo, including its photographer, date, and the studio in which it was produced, will be noted. Any writing or markings on the side or rear of the image will be recorded as accurately as possible, in addition to its location and size on the photo. After this, a description of the photograph will be provided, including any information about its provenance, and a written explanation of the content in the photograph itself. This will serve as the location for index terms, or standardized words that will enable a search to locate individual items. A brief section will describe the reasons for the selection of individual photographs, indicating if it was chosen for a specific purpose or if it was part of a larger group of images and materials and simply came with those.

Written documents will be managed in much the same way, though the exact nature of the information will be different. Once again, a high-quality scan will be produced, and any information concerning the author, publisher, and date of creation will be noted. A description of the document, in terms of both its physical and informational characteristics, and other meta-data concerning the material, will also be provided. The largest difference between photographs and written works is transcription and annotation. Entirely handwritten works will need to be transcribed in full, and handwritten notes on typed documents will need to be recorded as well. Transcriptions can be provided either with the scanned document itself, or made available on another page and linked to the scan, depending on available equipment, the expertise of the workers, and the ultimate format of the website. Because researchers are likely to be interested in the information of the document, transcriptions will be made to clarify the text, standardizing misspellings and dropping or correcting minor or confusing grammatical errors. Annotation will be minimal, and used only when a subject or topic is too pedantic for researchers to find easily. As with photos, the reason that a document was selected will be indicated, highlighting its value to the project.

Newspaper articles, because they are typed, will be managed similarly to other written documents. The author, newspaper, date, and pages will be noted, and any available information about the article or the events it mentions will be described. One possible issue during scanning will be seeing through the scan, where text on the opposing side of the page is visible on the scanned side. Scanners will have to be careful to minimize this, and if necessary, the scans will be corrected later in an image editing program. Every attempt will be made to accurately convey the information in the article. Otherwise, newspapers will be handled like other written documents.

In total, then, the staff for this project should not be particularly large. Someone will need to scan the materials, and the larger number of people devoted to this task, the faster it will proceed. The same group, depending on the design of the scanning software and the options it provides, may also be able to put in the basic information at the time of the scan, such as the date and creator; otherwise, this will need to be completed later. Afterwards, an individual or group will need to input metadata, including the description, provenance, and relevance of individual items. Because this will require research skills, staff in this area would have to have related experience. Several people may need to be hired for this task if it is difficult or proceeds slowly. Someone capable at transcription will be responsible for any work in that area. Lastly, some staff member will need to actually post this material online, and arrange it in a manner that is useful to users.

Titles for the materials will be kept as straightforward as possible while ensuring that each item is distinct. They will be based on topic or location, depending on the material in question. For example, a photograph showing activity in a landfill will be given the title of that landfill, followed by a number. If an individual item contains information concerning more than one topic, the subject that has more weight will be used. A newspaper article describing an increase in the size of a park due to the activism of a certain group may either be catalogued by the name of the park or of the group, depending on which is more prevalent in the article. If space (i.e., computer memory) permits, disputed materials can be copied and placed in folders for various topics. Electronic file folders will be the main way to organize documents. The name of the subject or topic will be the name of the folder, and items within the folder will have individual numbers. Maintaining control can be as easy as using an Excel spreadsheet or similar program. It will list the title of the folder (and therefore the subject), followed by the numbers of the items, a small description, and its ultimate location on the website.

Once online, items in this project will be arranged topically. Materials relating to Clay Pit Ponds park, whether written material, an image, or an article, will be grouped together on individual pages, but possibly separated by format once under this general heading. Each page will have a paragraph or short essay explaining how it relates to environmentalism or conservation on Staten Island, and how it is significant. A thumbnail image will lead users to the scan or digital image itself, which will open in a separate file to ensure that main page itself remains open and accessible. The title, creator, and date will be placed above the item. A horizontal menu bar placed below the scan will provide links to the metadata or auxiliary information, including provenance or history of the item, its description and reason for selection, its importance for this project. Any other material, such as a transcription, will be located here. A credit or copyright line will be located below the menu bar to indicate the ownership or source of the materials.

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