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Training Grant

Page history last edited by Debbie Cardinal 9 years, 9 months ago

MS-Word version of the WHO Grant Proposal



Wisconsin Heritage Online Grant Proposal

Prepared by Debbie Cardinal

March 2009 (updated August 2009)



The objective of our grant application is to introduce and train Wisconsin cultural heritage institutions in digitization planning and methods so they can contribute their collections to the digital world via the statewide digital initiative Wisconsin Heritage Online. 



Free training, support and assistance with project management will get small public libraries and historical societies started with digitization projects. Once started on a project, they will seek and secure local funding to establish a digitization program. We anticipate that the technology needs and staffing challenges of these small institutions will be addressed by partnerships with local public or academic libraries, where technology skills are higher. The content overlap typical of these regional institutions will make collaboration beneficial to both parties.



1. During Year 1, six institutions will be trained and start projects.

2. During Year 2, we will add fifteen new projects. By May 2011 we expect to have a total of 30 projects either running or in the pipeline.

3. At completion of the training period, new Content Providers will have digitized and cataloged eight items; by completion of the digital project, to receive certification as a “Wisconsin Digital Heritage Partner,” they will have a minimum of twenty items available online.1

4. Trained institutions will work with the Outreach Specialist or Program Manager to develop a project timeline that includes target goals and completion date.

5. Content Providers will demonstrate that they have established sustainable digitization practices with a written plan and a documented process for fund-raising and community partnerships. 



June 2009-May 2011 



$107,300 year one; $115,564 year two



Stage One-Formation


For the past two years, Wisconsin Heritage Online has been a project of Wisconsin Library Services, jointly funded with contributed partner services from Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS), Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Milwaukee Public Museum and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Division for Libraries, Technology and Community Learning (DLTCL).


In this short amount of time, the working groups and governing board of Wisconsin Heritage Online have accomplished several goals of our statewide digital initiative. We have:

1. Prepared and adopted a long-range plan.

2. Established working groups, which developed membership information and standards-based digitization planning information; and developed and posted standards-based guidelines for metadata and imaging.

3. Provided a digital collection web hosting service through the Wisconsin Historical Society.

4. Provided a metadata harvesting service through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

5. Established a central portal for harvested Wisconsin-related digital collections, 

6. Established an open wiki for collaborative development and access to Wisconsin Heritage Online guidelines, software tools, and planning information, 

7. Compiled a joint database of Wisconsin historical museums and historical societies to use for communication

8. Distributed a survey to historical societies and museums to collect information about their interest in and capabilities for digital projects


Key activities of the Wisconsin Heritage Online Project Coordinator during 2006-2008 included:

1. Distribute information and a newsletter to historical societies, public libraries and museums to educate them about Wisconsin Heritage Online membership services

2. Arrange for hosting and consulting services for projects

3. Monitor harvesting of existing digital collections into the Wisconsin Heritage Online site, supported by the University of Wisconsin-Madison

4. Designed, with the Museum Working Group, an extensive survey about museum and historical society collection processes


In addition, during Stage One we assisted these organizations with planning, organizing and beginning a digital project:


* Central Wisconsin Digitization Project: a multi-type consortium in northern Wisconsin

* Mineral Point Historical Society: an extremely popular Wisconsin tourism town in southern Wisconsin

* Wetherby Cranberry Discovery Museum: a unique special archival collection in Wausau Wisconsin

* Neville Public Museum: a history grant project between the Neville and a University of Wisconsin Green Bay history class to collaboratively digitize, describe and develop curriculum for World War I soldier materials


We feel we have demonstrated the value of the collaborative, digital initiative concept for Wisconsin cultural heritage institutions during Stage One. We are seeking grant funding for Stage Two. 



Stage Two – Developing Sustainable, Robust Collections through Promotion and Support


In Stage Two, we will expand our program to reach a more defined number of institutions (from data in the historical society/museum survey results), with the goal of building content faster in Wisconsin history and culture. Milwaukee Public Library will host new collections.


Target Audience:

Small historical societies and museums identified as “digitization ready” through the survey. A secondary audience will be small public libraries, which may receive digitization funding through LSTA. Community partnerships with other cultural heritage institutions will be encouraged and will increase library chances at receiving LSTA grants.


In the past two years, we have talked with the Whitefish Bay Historical Society, the John Michael Kohler Museum, Independence Public Library, Door County Public Library, St. Norbert College and more small historical societies. Most recently, a central Wisconsin site interested in proceeding with a Native American elders oral history project and the Wisconsin Arts Board have contacted us for information. 


The timeframe for initial contact with an interested party until the start of a project has typically been 12-18 months. Increased visibility for digitization through targeted, sustained marketing will shorten project start time to 6 to 8 months.


Strategy: Program Manager and Outreach Specialist 


Program Manager Expenditures:

Grant money for Program Manager would pay for

* Travel expenses

* Program promotion and development of marketing resources for community liaisons


Role of Program Manager:

1. Explain Wisconsin Heritage Online digitization resources and training opportunities using the information compiled at the WHO Resources wiki

2. Help sites identify funding sources and potential community partners. This knowledge will help communities sustain their digital programs.

3. Explain to sites the basic steps in planning and implementing a digital project.

4. Prepare an implementation planning packet for the Outreach Specialist to use in visits to prospective Content Providers.

5. Conduct periodic follow-up visits with the sites to assess progress and refer site back to Outreach Specialist.

6. Encourage collaboration with LSTA-funded local public library projects.


Outreach Specialist Expenditures:

Grant money for Outreach Specialist would pay

* Salary for one 80% position, each of two years

* Travel expenses

* Program promotion and development of marketing resources for community liaisons 


Role of Outreach Specialist:

1. Speak knowledgeably and enthusiastically about Wisconsin Heritage Online at conferences, as well as to specific cultural heritage institutions identified through the survey.

2. Work directly with specifically chosen historical societies, libraries or museums, after ‘digitization readiness’ is verified by the Program Manager.

a. Advise on material review and selection

b. Evaluate equipment choices and recommend purchase choices, based on the material planned for digitization

c. Assist with development of  a digitization plan and timeline

d. Conduct training on digitizing basics, guided by the Wisconsin Heritage Online Digital Imaging Guidelines

3. Develop, with the Program Manager, training courses and materials for Content Providers, some of which would be delivered via web technologies, to include:

a. Image file size and types

b. File naming and storage conventions

c. Image editing techniques

d. Setting up a workflow

e. Preservation basics

f. Handling of original materials

4. Training will include:

a. Project and collection setup that will encourage the institution’s digital collection to grow after the initial project is completed.

b. Establishment of milestones using the institution’s timeline so the institution knows they are in a mentoring relationship with Wisconsin Heritage Online.

c. Encouragement in documenting their collection workflow practices for future use by other Content Providers

5. Communication with the Program Manager, who will check at milestone points to assess project progress and give further guidance. 



1. Outreach Specialist will focus on either CONTENTdm as the content management tool or on PastPerfect if that is the content management tool already in use.

2. Whenever possible, multiple institutions and people will be trained together. For example, CONTENTdm and PastPerfect training will be held regionally for groups when the institutions are within four weeks of starting.

3.  Each institution will receive individual on-site digital equipment training.

4. Regular internet-based sessions on specific topics will be scheduled.


We expect to streamline the work of the Outreach Specialist by providing a set list of topics and by using established metadata fields from earlier WHO projects. New Content Providers will choose a topic from a short list we will offer them. The topics might be barns, railroads, neighborhoods, founding families, dairies. We would continue to build on our existing collaboration by adopting the Oshkosh Public Library’s barns metadata; the Central Wisconsin Digitization Project’s railroad metadata; and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Neighborhoods metadata. This approach has several advantages:


1. Training will be simplified because there will be a limited amount of metadata for all to learn or teach.

2. Most Wisconsin organizations will have some material that fits within these topics they could digitize as an initial project; they do not have to have an extensive collection.

3. It would make collaboration with a neighboring institution easier because the subject and the metadata would be ready-made.

4. It will give participants a focus for collection building and collaborative sharing.



At the completion of the first year of the grant period, Wisconsin Heritage Online will issue certification to institution participants who have successfully completed all component training and made significant progress on a project. Certification for successful completion means the individual/institution has:

• Started a new project with at least 20 records (repetition)

• Added at least 2/3 of the records after the trainer has left (passed the test)

• Produced images and metadata meeting minimum Wisconsin Heritage Online guidelines (sufficient quality)

• Provided evidence of written procedural documentation for fund-raising and workflow processes


Certification benefits:

* For Wisconsin Heritage Online - gives us quantifiable feedback for our evaluation report

* For institutions - provides valuable free training to their staff/volunteers and is an indication of the quality of the training that they can point to/build on




Survey Findings:

Between our educational work with these groups and an analysis of the survey, we have identified two primary challenges among the small historical society and museum groups.

1. Institutions generally lack a steady source of funding, although there is considerable interest in digitization.

2. Small historical societies and museums are frequently staffed with volunteers. It is difficult to introduce new technology in this volunteer base, which often has low technology knowledge as well as a high turnover rate.



Survey Data:

·         Hosted digital collection service

       40% of respondents maintain their own website

       35% pay someone else to maintain a website

       25% have a site maintained at no cost by a volunteer

Comment: Having a hosted digital collection would allow many of these institutions to have an internet presence without having to purchase, install and maintain a server or complicated software.

·         Popular materials for digitization projects

       90% of respondents have bound, typed or printed documents

       86% have unbound, typed or printed documents

       94% have photographs

·         Extent of cataloging information

67% of respondents describe the items in a collection individually recording item name, description, extent, value, donor name, collection name, and other details.

·         Computer-based tracking or cataloging of material

       28% use a computer database program (Excel, FileMaker Pro)

       30% use a computer-based collection management program such as PastPerfect

Comment: The hosted service provided by the Milwaukee Public Library uses CONTENTdm. CONTENTdm will import and export comma-delimited files, which means data from the systems used by 58% of the survey respondents could be imported.

·         Use of controlled vocabulary either locally developed or national

       59% have personal name lists

       63% have broad subject lists

·         Use of a standard classification scheme

       32% use Chenhall’s

       12% use Library of Congress

·         Computer access or ownership

       85% of respondents own or have access to a computer

Comment: We did not survey how much memory or hard disk space is available. We have been advising sites to purchase external hard drives for digital image storage.

·         Ability to select digital project materials

       83% of respondents said they could choose a distinct set of material for digitization

Comment: One of the problems we have observed is that many sites do not have complete inventories or catalog records for their collections and thus are not able to easily choose material for digitization.

·         Intent to digitize in next 6-12 months. In the three categories listed above:

       19% of respondents have plans to digitize.

       23% of respondents have plans to digitize other types of material

·         Sites that have digitized items already

       59% of respondents

·         Percent of collection digitized

       64% of respondents have digitized 5% or less

·         Providing access to digitized images

95% of respondents provide access to museum/historical society staff and volunteers only

       10% provide online access to the public

·         Training information

       53% of respondents can afford to pay up to $100 for a training session

       65% think $100 will cover a full-day

       78% of respondents expect travel to and from training to occur within a one day period  

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