Pratt Institute: A Historical Snapshot of Campus and Area

The following chapter excerpt is from the third section of Digitization in the Real World; "The Digital Campus: Digitization in Universities and Their Libraries." Download the entire chapter for free (PDF) or purchase the book online at

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Paul Schlotthauer (Pratt Institute Libraries)


3460556463_95831cf858_m The chapter discusses the planning and procedures for two digitization grants received from METRO in 2005 and 2006 by the Pratt Institute Libraries. Despite the creation of a timeline, unexpected issues necessitated adjustments. Selection of materials was more labor intensive and time consuming than expected. Our collection consisted of different formats, which required managing significant differences in metadata content and interpretation. OAI-compliancy was problematic with our image management software. Also, we had modified the Dublin Core fields, which created compatibility issues with OAI gateways. In 2006, we planned for potential pitfalls based on our previous experiences, but still encountered delays and problems, such as color management. In 2008 we mounted our images on Flickr and saw a marked increase in use.


In 2004, when we applied for the METRO grant for digitization, the library at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus had a Visual Resources Center that, since 1997, had been digitizing its collection of over 160,000 slides for teaching and research purposes. We had staff and student workers with training and experience in digitization, as well as dedicated space, equipment, and technical support. Our digitized images were available online, so we had some acquaintance with the issues surrounding online collections.

For us, therefore, it was not so much a question of beginning a digitization initiative as it was beginning a new phase in our already-existing digitization program. Our hardware was no longer state of the art. The evolution of metadata schemas and best practices, such as Western States Digital Imaging Best Practices (later revised by the Bibliographic Center for Research as BCR’s CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices) (Bibliographic Center for Research [BCR], 2008), meant that our own protocols were inconsistent if not out of date: they worked for us, but they were not truly in step with the most current professional standards. We envisioned a METRO grant as an opportunity to update and tighten our practices, and believed that the resulting increase in efficiency would generate momentum to expand our digitization program in order to better meet the increasing expectations of our users.

  Download the entire chapter for free (PDF) or purchase the book online at


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Southeastern NY Library Resources Council [SENYLRC]. (2004). General collection criteria guidelines for HRVH. Retrieved from