clickHistory Great Lakes

As featured in PUBLIC LIBRARY NEWS April 2014 Edition

Thanks to the State Library of NSW Library Development Grant funding the Great Lakes Library is deep into a major digitisation project working with the Great Lakes Historical Society to digitise their photographic collection and make it available through the library catalogue.

We were fortunate to employ a digitisation officer for a twelve-month period who not only had significant strengths in both the areas of photographyand local history, she also provided us with an excellent linkage to the Powerhouse Museum.

With the vital input that this gave us we decided to re-evaluate how we would implement the project, starting from the ground up. As a result the collection will have the flexibility to incorporate a range of formats and the cataloguing structures put in place will maximise the ability to describe the items as well as making catalogue searches even more powerful.

An outcome of the project that exceeded expectations has been the collaboration between the Library and the Historical Society. The Society has embraced the project and they now have a team of 19 volunteers working on
numerous key tasks, such as collating, sorting and scanning the photographs, placing the originals in suitable archival storage and sourcing vital information on the contents of each photograph, which is then captured through data collection sheets. Thanks to ClickHistory Great Lakes a strong bond has formed between us and the Society and there’s a real air of excitement at the Great Lakes Museum, where the Society operates from.

As part of the project the library LMS providers, Libero, are developing an automated process that will extract
metadata from the catalogue records. This data will then be manipulated into a suitable format and uploaded to Trove. Once this software has been developed it will be available for all other Libero libraries.

The digitisation project team, which includes library staff with expertise in both IT and collection management, recognises the importance of good branding and the role of social media. Social media provides us with the opportunity to promote the collection as well as encourage public feedback and content enrichment. The project is now operating under the brand clickHistory Great Lakes and the team has already established a Facebook page with this name. In conjunction with this the team has created a blog at, which will be linked to a Facebook page. Other forms of social media are being investigated for suitability to the project.

Whilst this has meant a lot more work in the formative stages we think the outcome will be far superior to the original approach we were taking and this will be reflected in the quality of the collection when it is launched.

Because of this ground-up approach we’ve already investigated a range of new technologies and we’re
still discovering new opportunities and approaches. If you’re thinking of heading down this path I’d be happy to talk to you about what we’ve learned, and are continuing to learn, along the way.

Peter Flemming
Great Lakes Library

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