Digitization and Social Media: Strategies & Tools #il2013 #internetlibrarian

Digitization and Social Media: Strategies and Tools

Kenn Bicknell, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library

Los Angeles Railway Library, started in 1937

Reports, photos, gray literature

Open to the public, but on the 18th floor behind security

Serves 9,000 employees, consultants, reporters, bloggers, transportation nerds

2 full-time employees

Library had a budget cut at the same time transportation projects are increasing.

Multi-disciplinary: law, geology, geography, even paleontology

Pitched digitization as: 24/7 access and everything, everywhere

Guiding principles:
– Immediacy
– Personalization
– Interpretation
– Authenticity
– Accessibility
– Findability
– Embodiment (keeping things together)
– Patronage

3 phases of digitization:
– Digitize as needed, on demand. Set up a server to keep things. File structure, permissions. Also launched Flickr account (MetroLibraryArchive). Also started a news aggregation service for staff in 2005. (Boast: I did it at MPOW before 2002.) Collected 5 years’ worth of reference question to build knowledge base (WordPress has an encyclopedia plugin.)

– Scanning whole collections: for example, multiple reports, photos, etc. on a given project. Harvesting “born digital” and gray literature. More social media: Twitter (@MetroLibrary), Facebook (LACMTA Library), YouTube (Metrolibrarian).

– Digitize everything that’s not copyright-protected. Protocols for metadata and OCR.

Primary Resources: their blog.

Flickr account has gotten 3.9 million hits! Do crowdsourcing to ask users to add metadata for pictures. Putting out one image a day on Tumblr (LACMTAlibrary); now have 50,000 followers in six months!

Digitizing California Highways

Resource sharing: catalog, Online Archive of California, Flickr, YouTube, Scribd. (Flickr is not for high-quality TIFFs that people can steal.)

Recommended book: “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”

News and information: blog, Twitter, Paper.li. (Just did it before their organization had a social media policy.)

Digitized employee newsletters. Interesting for employees, but also some historic events are of larger interest.

Paper.li can automate colections of tweets.

WordPress plugins: encyclopedia, dictionary (for acronyms)

Anniversaries and facts spreadsheet has become “this date in Los Angeles transportation history,” which goes out with news.

Separate archive for pictures. Flickr is not a permanent repository.


Historypin: “awesomest thing ever.” Historic photos linked to maps and timeline.

RSS Graffiti puts tweets on Facebook page.

California Highways: OCRed, use Google Custom Search to do keyword search. Link to file directory to get to specific issues.

Tiki-Toki: make interactive timelines.


Updated to add: links to resources.


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