About Digital Collections

Wesleyan Library’s Digital Library collections are developed, maintained, and published in support of the research and teaching needs of the campus and the health of the library collection.

The Head of Digital Initiatives manages the Digital Lab and the Digital Library collections. She is also available to work with library patrons who are using digital collection material for their own scholarly work and to consult with scholars who are seeking to manage their own digital collections created in the pursuit of their research.

Faculty, students, and staff at Wesleyan are invited to share ideas for library material to digitize and for projects that might arise out of the Digital Library collections.

At the Digital Lab, staff digitize, describe, and publish physical library collection materials online. At this time the Digital Lab digitizes Wesleyan University-owned, 2-dimensional, paper-based, and transmissive material only. The staff at the lab also perform some digital preservation services on files within the Digital Library collection seeking to maintain accessibility to the digital assets and preserve content. The staff may also describe, publish, and manage some born digital and legacy digital objects. All decisions about what collection materials warrant inclusion in the tools that the lab utilizes are made within the guidelines set forth in the Digital Library Collection Development policy.

  • Digital Library Collection Development Policy


    Digital library collections at Wesleyan University are built in alignment with university and library-wide priorities. From selecting materials for our digital collections through publishing and promoting them, the library seeks to enhance Wesleyan’s distinctiveness and support the ongoing educational and scholarly mission of the university. The Wesleyan University mission statement and strategic goals, as well as the library’s, inform this policy and any decisions regarding digitization, description, access, and preservation services.

    To the extent that it is possible and in keeping with the policies and statements already mentioned, digital library content and its description are made publicly accessible and useable without restriction.


    This policy governs decisions made regarding digitization of collection materials as well as digital objects that were digitized prior to April 1, 2016 (when this policy was first approved) from collection materials owned by the Wesleyan library.

    Other types of digital content that may be considered by the Digital Collections Committee for description, access, or preservation include:

    • Born digital archival materials
    • Faculty and student-generated digital content
    • Open access scholarly content created by faculty

    For digital content where the physical material is not owned by Wesleyan University library, inclusion in the digital library is conditional on the signing of a deed of gift that gives the library the non-exclusive right to manage and share the digital objects.

    This policy will be reviewed annually by the Digital Collections Committee and updated as needed.

    Digital Collections Committee

    All efforts to build a successful digital library are collaborative. The Digital Collections Committee (DCC) and the Digital Lab staff partner with colleagues throughout the library, in Information Technology Services (ITS), and across campus to ensure that the digital library is as successful as possible. We encourage patrons and staff to contact us with their ideas for enhancing the digital library and possibilities for collaboration. In addition to the feedback and suggestions staff receives from patrons, the lab utilizes web analytic tools to measure usage and aid understanding of patron need.

    Working collaboratively with collection managers and Wesleyan scholars, the Digital Collections Committee selects collection materials for digitization and evaluates legacy digital content for inclusion in the digital library.

    After selection, the Digital Collections Committee determines the prioritization and workflow for the project. Generally, for projects managed internally, Digital Lab staff manage the digitization, description (enhancement and transformation), access, and preservation of digital collections. However, in some cases, a library department may elect to manage and conduct their own project. Sponsorship and management will be decided in discussion with the Digital Collections Committee and will be noted in project documentation.


    Digitization activities typically fall into four categories:

    Project-based digitization may be outsourced to digitization vendors or may be accomplished in the library. There may be temporary staff involved and the projects may have specific deadlines and specifications for digitization beyond the library’s adopted standards.

    The library accepts patron requests for research and publication-level digitization. Publication-level requests may be outsourced to a digitization vendor with all charges incurred to be paid by the patron or may be fulfilled by the Digital Lab (see Fee Schedule for details). Imaging at publication level quality does not equate with copyright clearance. The patron must determine any copyright restrictions themselves. Once digitized, if applicable, the images will be added to the digital library.

    Programmatic digitization is the ongoing digital capture of entire collections or large portions of collections and along themes identified by the Digital Collections Committee. Digitization for preservation in the ongoing capture of materials identified as being at risk due to physical condition. This work is not funding-dependent or deadline driven.

    Materials that receive frequent patron research-level digitization requests will be considered for programmatic digitization utilizing the selection factors described below.

    Patrons of the library may make requests for collections to be considered for project-based or programmatic digitization. All requests will be weighed against the selection factors listed below and will be prioritized in conversation with other demands on departmental time and equipment.

    Digitization strategies at the library follow national standards such as:

    National Information Standard Organization (NISO) – A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections (PDF)

    Federal Agencies Digitization Initiatives Still Image Working Group (FADGI) – Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials (PDF)

    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access (PDF)

    Selection Factors

    The library seeks to digitize materials that are unique to and characteristic of Wesleyan University. Materials are evaluated against several criteria when determining whether or not to digitize and at what level of capture, timeliness, and preservation.

    We strive to accurately represent our rare and unique holdings in the digital library. Because some material may be in danger of being lost due to container condition or accessibility, in prioritizing materials for digitization, the library balances the need for fair representation and preservation of content with support of pedagogy and scholarship.

    Specific selection criteria are described in more detail below.

    Significance of Materials

    Considering an item’s worth is a subjective matter. We evaluate the significance of material based on its historic and institutional value. Broadly, the library looks for opportunities that:

    • Contribute to existing projects at Wesleyan
    • Support classwork and student scholarship
    • Enhance access to materials on Wesleyan history
    • Highlight institutional strengths
    • Align with areas of faculty research
    • Enable new ways of interacting with content
    • Enhance access to materials on Middletown and Connecticut history
    • Add a new perspective or point of view to the local or global digital corpus

    Materials under consideration for digitization that match one or more of these criteria are considered a high priority for digitization.

    Organization and Metadata

    Content must be described and organized prior to being considered for digitization. Monographs, audio, and video recordings must have MARC records and archival materials must have at least DACS-compliant single level description. All description must already be in machine-readable form.

    Materials that have not been organized and described will be considered if they meet other criteria points in this policy and if there are sufficient resources dedicated to the project so that organization, description, and digitization can happen in concert.

    All metadata must adhere to national standards for the material type, and may be transformed and enhanced by the Digital Lab staff for the purposes of publishing and access.

    After determining the likelihood of digitizing materials based on the two criteria above, the DCC prioritizes and makes further consideration for the likelihood of digitization based on additional criteria listed below.

    Copyright Status

    Content that is in the public domain, licensed under an open access or Creative Commons license, or for which Wesleyan University owns the copyright will receive high priority for digitization. Content for which Wesleyan University has been granted non-exclusive rights by the copyright holder to digitize and make publicly available will also receive high priority.

    Works that are within copyright but are orphan works in that the copyright holder is not known or cannot be located will be considered for digitization at a lower priority to allow time to investigate copyright. We follow the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Statement of Best Practices for Orphan Works (PDF) to determine protocol for digitizing these works.

    Unpublished materials, materials that present privacy concerns, that are not clearly in the public domain, or for which Wesleyan does not hold the copyright will be considered for digitization at a lower priority and following the guidelines put forth in OCLC’s policy, “Well-intentioned practice for putting digitized collections of unpublished materials online” (PDF, revised 5/28/2010 and endorsed by the Society of American Archivists, CLIR, and other organizations).

    Current and Potential Users

    The primary patrons of the digital library are current Wesleyan faculty and students followed by staff, administration, alumni, and parents. As such, high priority will be given to content that will be used in current scholarly endeavors or that highlights past achievements within the Wesleyan community.


    In prioritizing projects, the DCC preferences projects that will be made fully available without restriction. Some materials warrant digitization in spite of a limited case for access.


    High priority will be given to content where the physical equivalent is already heavily used.

    Relationship to Other Collections

    Content that will complement existing digital collections or will aid collaborative digital projects will receive high priority.

    Priority will be given to enhancing existing digital collections at:

    • Wesleyan University
    • Connecticut, Trinity, Wesleyan Consortium (CTW)

    As well as to collaborative projects around complementary collections that are attached to grant or donor funding.

    Funding Sources

    Materials nominated for digitization that will receive external grant or donor funding will be prioritized for digitization activities. Materials that have no funding source will be prioritized for digitization as time, funding, and equipment availability allows.


    Materials that are in danger of becoming inaccessible due to their condition will be prioritized for digitization as time, funding, and equipment availability allows.

    Time-based media

    The carriers for the time-based media are among the most endangered formats due to their environmental sensitivity as well as the loss of equipment and loss of skill. Unlike paper materials, with time-based media digitization is considered the method of preservation. It is a high priority to identify rare and unique audio and moving image collection materials and to preserve their content through digitization.

    Legacy Digital Objects

    Digitization has been ongoing at Wesleyan for many years and as a result there are myriad digital objects being managed in a variety of ways across campus. In order to be considered for inclusion in the managed digital collections at the library, legacy digital objects:

    • Must be at least 3000 pixels across on the long edge (for image files)
    • Must be fully described and that description must be in an encoded, machine-readable format
    • Files must be in an accessible and current file format
    • Content must not violate copyright law


    The library will not re-capture content that has already been digitized, meets modern specifications and is available publicly for download from a respected repository. Respected repositories include, but are not limited to, HathiTrust, the Center for Research Libraries, the Internet Archive, or Google Books.

    Exceptions to this policy may occur based on the needs of the requestor and the condition of the specific collection. The Digital Collections Committee will evaluate requests for re-digitization against the selection criteria described above.

    Maintenance and Removal

    A consideration for any proposed digitization work will be the necessary level of storage and preservation service. At a minimum all digital objects are stored on servers that are backed-up regularly with the content replicated in at least two locations. Materials that are particularly rare and unique or for which external funds were expended to complete digitization may receive higher preservation services. These higher-level services have a monetary expense associated with them and that expense weighs into any decision to digitize. When digitization projects are undertaken at the request of a library patron, the patron must have identified funding to cover any associated fees for storage and preservation services (if necessary).

    Collection materials may be deaccessioned or removed due to collection evaluation, storage issues, or copyright dispute. Decisions will be made by the Digital Collections Committee. Most materials will remain in storage even if public access is limited.

    [revised 2018]

  • Rights + Re-Use

    Wesleyan University makes digital images accessible in the following instances:

    • They are in the public domain.
    • Wesleyan University owns the copyright.
    • Wesleyan University Library has permission to make them accessible.
    • They are being made accessible for education and research purposes as a legal fair use, or
    • There are no known restrictions.

    It is your responsibility to determine how you may use images and data that you download from our digital collections.

    Using Images and Data


    All metadata in our digital collections is dedicated to the public domain and available for use under the CC0 – No Rights Reserved status.


    All material that we believe to be in the public domain is marked with a rights statement of either No Copyright - United States or No Known Copyright. This material is available publicly for download and use without restriction by the library. Making this material available to researchers does not equal permission to use the material without restriction. There may be additional licenses and agreements for the materials. The researcher must determine appropriate use and any restrictions themselves.

    Where the copyright is owned by Wesleyan, material is available publicly for download and non-commercial use. This material is marked with a rights statement of In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted or No Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Only.

    Due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify copyright or rights of privacy, publicity, or trademark for each item in the collection. These collections are marked with a rights statement of Copyright Not Evaluated.


    We request that researchers provide attribution for digital images from our collections in order to aid scholarly research.

    Content Policy and Take-down notice

    Digital Collections hosted by Wesleyan University are intended to provide accurate and complete representations of information in support of the ongoing educational and scholarly mission of the university and in order to advance the study and research of our scholars.

    Wesleyan is committed to preserving the authenticity and integrity of the scholarly and historical record. Collections for which Wesleyan University owns copyright (including the Olla Podrida yearbooks and Argus student newspapers) will be available in their entirety. We will not correct errors or inaccuracies present in original items, redact content, or otherwise remove access to these materials.

    For material not owned by Wesleyan University, we take steps to identify and remediate sensitive information that could threaten the privacy and security of individuals, organizations, or other entities represented in the collection(s) before placing collections online. Despite these efforts, information considered sensitive or private may inadvertently be included in digital collections. In such cases, living individuals whose private information is exposed (or who are acting on behalf of a minor child or an incapacitated parent, spouse, domestic partner or adult child) may submit a takedown request to wesscholar@wesleyan.edu. All such requests will be reviewed by relevant Wesleyan University stakeholders, who may ask for additional information to better understand the issue and its consequences. Upon request, we’ll temporarily remove material from public view while we address a rights issue.

    Some materials in our collections use language and images that represent ideas, values, and practices that patrons may find harmful, offensive, or disturbing. These items reflect the attitudes and values of their creators and constitute a social record of a particular place and time. Following our commitment to maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the historic record, Wesleyan provides access to these items along with contextual information within descriptive records, and, where appropriate, includes statements attached to items and collections with notice about potentially harmful, offensive, or disturbing content.

    More information

    We follow OCLC’s policy, “Well-intentioned practice for putting digitized collections of unpublished materials online” (revised 5/2/2010 and endorsed by the Society of American Archivists, CLIR, and other organizations).

    Our rights statements are derived from http://rightsstatements.org which operates under the aegis of the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana.

  • Digital Lab Equipment

    The Digital Lab at Olin Library is a facility intended to support the library’s digitization efforts. Work in the lab is focused on digitizing and providing access to first, library collection materials, and second, collection material held by departments across Wesleyan.

    Our set-up includes:

    Camera Model: Hasselblad X1D 50c, Nikon D850 (DSLR)

    Pixel Array: 7360 x 4912

    Resolution: 300-600ppi, 16-bit

    Connection: tethered via USB to an Mac Studio

    Lenses: Hasselblad XCD 65mm, Hasselblad 120mm, Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm, Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, Rodenstock 75mm f/4 APO-Rodagon D enlarging Lens

    Mounting: Kaiser 60″ Column Motorized CopyStand with a 31.5 x 23.6″ copy bed (bound objects are supported with polyethylene book mounts)

    Lighting: Broncolor strobe lights (daylight balanced)

    Output File Format: TIFF LZW

  • Metadata

    Metadata for digital objects at Wesleyan is built upon community standards and best practices in order to optimize our records for sharing and to facilitate data exchange with systems like the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

    Standards that the Digital Lab relies on include metadata application profiles (MAP) and metadata dictionaries, content standards, controlled vocabularies, file format definitions, APIs, and others.

    Content standards in use at the library for descriptive metadata include:

    • Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Ed. Rev. (AACR2) expressed through MARC21
    • Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) expressed through Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
    • Dublin Core (DC)
    • Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS)

    Controlled vocabularies in use at the library for descriptive metadata include:

    • Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
    • Library of Congress Name Authority (NAF)
    • Virtual International Authority File (VIAF)
    • Thesaurus for Geographic Names (TGN)
    • Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST)
    • Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM)
    • Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)

    Additional controlled vocabularies in use at the library for technical metadata include:

    Internet MIME Types


    Wesleyan makes metadata for its databases available through the Z39.50 protocol, the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), and APIs. The method of metadata retrieval depends on the database.

  • Our Partners

    Any standards and specifications listed in this site are intended to inform decisions made by staff at Wesleyan as well as collaborative partners at other institutions and outside vendors.

    Partners in the Library

    Special Collections & Archives
    World Music Archives

    Partners in ITS

    Academic Technology

    Partners across Campus

    Davison Art Collection
    Wesleyan University Press

    Partners outside of Wesleyan

    Islandora Collaborative Group (ICG)

    Work in the lab to digitize, preserve, and provide access to Wesleyan's unique holdings would not be possible without the very capable help of these current and past students, interns, and staff:

    Marijane Ceruti, Digital Imaging Specialist, 2019-2021
    HannahZoe Chua-Reyes, Digital Lab Student Assistant, Summer 2017
    Nina Criswell, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019-2021
    Phearom Duong, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019-
    Sonja English, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2016-2017
    Aili Francis, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2018
    Nara Giannella, Digital Media Specialist, 2018-2019
    Tomoshi Ishida, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019
    Malinda Johnston, Library Assistant V, 2016-
    Haden Lambert, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2020-2021
    John Neyssen, Unix Systems Administrator, 2016-
    Christianne Padilla, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2016-2017, 2018-2019
    Lisa Pinette, Library Assistant V, 2017
    Michael Renda, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019-2020
    Kim Rinaldo, Digital Lab Library Intern, Summer 2016
    Becky Velie, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019-2020
    Jason Vienneau, Senior Web Developer, 2016
    Lauren Weiner, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2016-2019
    Mohona Yesmin, Digital Lab Student Assistant, 2019

  • Fee Schedule

    The Digital Lab accepts patron requests for research and publication-level digitization as time allows. These requests will be fulfilled by the Digital Lab for a one-time charge to non-Wesleyan patrons. Digital Lab charges effective July 1, 2015 are $20 per gigabyte with a minimum charge of $5. Once digitized, if applicable, the images will be added the digital library.