Benefits of a Backlog – Over 100,000 a Month

In looking at our scheduling for the past few months–with many people out for training, illness, and vacation and a much smaller student workforce due to summer schedules and budget cuts–I was worried that we’d fall far behind our optimum production level. Instead, we’re producing even more. We hit 2 million pages on July 9, and had already loaded another 100,000 pages to reach 2.1 million pages by July 28, and now we show 2,235,174 pages online, and we have more loading right now.
This higher production level with lower staffing is only possible because we have so much that’s already partially done, with scanning and other steps completed, and with less constantly coming in, we’re more able to move through some of the older items from the backlog.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean everything in the backlog because much of it needs special handling. Fortunately, though, it does mean that more is going up and that will help us process more efficiently later on when we do have more people and it means there’s a lot more online that wasn’t there before.
With so many new items, our improved processing also means we’re searchable by Google and other search engines through the static UFDC2 pages, and the Cataloging and Metadata department has been working hard to help our materials show in the library catalog. This is an interoperability nightmare because our items are item-level listings and library catalogs aren’t designed or normally used to see every picture in a collection. Cataloging is doing great work to sort through the different types of materials and different workflows necessary for each to make sure the most materials can be represented in the most useful ways.  This will be continue to be an ongoing process, but it’s already showing progress with the individual Digital Collections being added to the catalog.
We’re moving along rapidly on many fronts, but there’s so much left to do. It would be absolutely overwhelming if it weren’t so wonderful to see so many rare items not available anywhere suddenly available for everyone online!