“Is This Enough?” Digitizing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives Media

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Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at University of Maryland Libraries collects performing arts materials that preserve performance practice, instruction, and scholarship, including the full scope of audiovisual (AV) formats. The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Archives at SCPA contains, among common print archival materials, a significant number of AV materials including performances, workshops, and choreography demonstrations. This collection of AV materials is exemplar of the numerous challenges facing AV digitization and preservation projects in university libraries and archives. The collection poses several metadata challenges as metadata standards and best practices for video materials lag behind those for audio and text materials. Additionally, archival collections are often not described to the item level, but in digitization projects, item level metadata is frequently expected to aid in discovery. Likewise, there are technical and personnel challenges in working with a vendor in creating a contract, negotiating the statement of work, scheduling the project, and gaining the staff necessary to support a new project or digitization initiative within a subject area. All of these issues cause angst and uncertainty when making decisions, at times leaving us wondering: “Are we doing enough?” In our presentation, we will outline the decisions we made for this project, our ultimate workflow, and our lessons learned moving forward.