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That was then, this is now…

By Diane Zorich on Wed, 07/12/2023 - 11:22

Diane Zorich, Director, DPO 

This week we released a new three-minute video that documents the work we do in the Digitization Program Office (DPO).  

It was time. Since our last introductory video was released (over 10 years ago), our programs have evolved, we’ve expanded our team, and the Smithsonian has embarked on a digital transformation effort that puts digital front and center at the Institution. 

DPO continues to pursue its ‘core’ mission of increasing the quality, quantity, and impact of digitization across the Smithsonian, but our programs have grown substantially in response to new needs and opportunities.   

The early success of our 3D program led us to consider how we might automate some of the time-consuming tasks inherent in this type of digitization, how we could preserve and sustain the end products of these efforts, and how we would deliver our 3D assets to the public in more engaging ways. These efforts involved rethinking the 3D workflow, and producing new products and systems to more effectively manage and sustain it, including:   

  • Packrat – a 3D repository and asset management system  

  • The Cook – an automated processing system for 3D files 

  • Voyager – a state-of-the art 3D viewer that integrates educational content with unique functions and features to create an engaging user experience. 

The 3D team continues to investigate ways to automate 3D capture and delivery mechanisms, leveraging technologies that will help scale up 3D digitization across the Smithsonian. 

Our Collections Digitization program had its origins in early mass digitization efforts and grew over the years to include informatics and imaging services. Expansion into these areas provides a larger, multi-layered approach to scaling up digitization across the Smithsonian:   

  • Mass digitization addresses the imaging of our backlog of undigitized collections (“catch up”) 

  • Imaging services addresses the imaging of new acquisitions/special collections that are not amenable to mass digitization (“keep up”) 

  • Informatics explores and develops automated solutions to scale up the creation and enhancement of digital collections records  

Our Policy and Analysis program continues to manage all our digitization assessments and special events, as it has from its earliest days. But it has expanded its outreach efforts with a webinar series – Digital Foundations – designed to help develop and deepen digital literacy, competency, and capacity building across the Smithsonian. 

If you want to quickly learn about DPO today, check out our new video….