Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ContentDM and digital collections management

I attended a ContentDM (http://www.contentdm.com/) demonstration yesterday morning at CCSU. Only one other CSL staff member was there, though I understand that we already have a ContentDM system and are uploading digitized materials as we speak. I don't know too much about what we're doing but I at least can picture the product now. It looked pretty comprehensive as a digital collections management tool for libraries, though I can't help but wonder if these sorts of library-oriented tools are the best for our needs, as librarians, in the long-run. Sure, it has Dublin Core, etc., etc., but it doesn't even import in XML files yet (though they promised that it was on the development list). Also, it's kind of frustrating that you have to use a ContentDM to manage your digital collections and a different product to handle your physical collection, when really both patron and librarian are more interested (generally speaking) in the content of the collection, rather than the format. The division is truly artificial.

Still, the person who demonstrated the product said that many libraries were using ContentDM to create basic Dublin Core metadata for digitized materials and that once this is submitted - it goes to OCLC and you can turn around and download regular MARC records from OCLC into your catalog, thus helping you to include those records in the overall library management system. And, because it's OAI and Z39.50, etc., etc., compatible - theoretically you could get your OPAC to just cross-search with the digital collection through those connections, rather than having to load a MARC record for each digital object into your catalog.

I hope that I understood that correctly!

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