Collaborative Digitization in the USGS Libraries

The USGS Libraries have joined the collaboration between USGS Human Resources and Chantilly High School‘s Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP), which transitions special needs students to workplace environments and teaches them professional skills.  In the Libraries, three student interns have joined the digitization team to scan some of the Libraries’ unique and valuable collections.

Graph capturing USGS Libraries Collection's OCLC statistics, April 2, 2014

Graph capturing USGS Libraries Collection’s OCLC statistics, April 2, 2014

The Libraries collection comprises 383,830 WorldCat holdings, which represent over 1.5 million items.  Of those holdings, 7.9% are unique in libraries around the world, and an additional 36.5% are held by ten libraries or less (OCLC statistics, accessed 4/2/14).

Many of these items are in the public domain, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions on them.  This is either because they are published by the USGS and therefore fall under 17 U.S.C. § 105 of U.S. copyright law, or because the copyright has expired.  The Libraries work to provide digital access to these items, but with limited resources it has become necessary to find creative solutions.

The Libraries’ three STEP interns are onsite in basement of  the Reston Library scanning five days a week.  Some of the materials being scanned are USGS publications to be uploaded to the Pubs Warehouse, and others are pre-copyright publications to be uploaded to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, of which the USGS is a member institution.  In either case, all of the publications will be freely accessible to the public.

All scanning through the Libraries program is currently handled in-house, and all digitization scanning conforms to archival standards and formats.  Equipment includes:

PS7000C MKII Book Scanner: Scans bound books, flat images, and 3-D objects up to 24″-18″.
Contex HD Ultra: Scan maps and flat images up to 42″ wide.
ProScan2000: Scans microfiche and microfilm formats.
OpticFilm 8200i Ai: Scans slides and 35 mm film.
Canon DR-9080C:Scans unbound sheets at high speeds.

The student interns are learning to operate the digitization equipment, as well as how to process archival files with Adobe Creative Suite and other software.

Image of USGS Librarians Helen Tong and Jenna Nolt with students

USGS Librarians Helen Tong and Jenna Nolt with students

The digitization team is working to support both diversity in the workforce, and free global access to authoritative scientific information, and hopes to continue this collaboration in the future.

For more information regarding the STEP collaboration or the Libraries’ digitization program, please contact Jenna Nolt,

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