Critical Mass

I’ve blogged quite a bit about UFDC’s page count as we reached 1 million, 2 million, and 3 million pages, digitizing 100,000 pages and more a month. I’m equally excited by every new milestone, but with so many pages online UFDC has reached critical mass overall and in many individual collections like the Florida Digital Newspaper Library, the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, and the Digital Library of the Caribbean.
By reaching critical mass, UFDC is now large enough to bring in new users and to offer something for everyone who comes to UFDC. Every page and every item that now loads adds exponentially to the connections and depth of the materials already in UFDC and so counting by pages and items no longer speaks to UFDC’s true wealth of materials.
Critical mass is oddly wonderful because we have more to share than ever before, but we now lack any adequate way to express the value and quality of materials in UFDC. Of course, this simply means the Digital Library Center will need to spend even more time sharing information about UFDC and searching for better ways to share.

1 Comment

  1. Of course, if anyone is wondering, UFDC had 3,078,499 pages on January 10. UFDC now has 3,434,052 pages. UFDC has added 355,553 pages in two months. That’s still over 100,000 pages a month.
    While this is definitely amazing progress (and the statistics are available online if anyone else wants to track daily progress), but at this rate the pages are only numbers. We’re currently working on many important new projects, many important old projects, and varied problems from all projects. Processing time for problems is 10 times higher (or more) than for non-problems. As we process through problems, our page-production rate may fall even as our workload increases. These problem files are files we could never catch our breath long enough to work through. The oldest I’ve seen so far dates back to 2001, and that means being scanned in 2001, so people have wanted these files for almost a decade and problems created a lack of time that resulted in their delay. While we can’t process the problems any faster than we’re working, the joy at finishing projects that have been waiting in the wings for so long is truly thrilling.
    Of course, no projects ever really end. We’re working simply to finish processing and load the many materials with records that have already been scanned. New and old, historic and current, we’ll load as much as we can as quickly as we can even knowing that the items are so much more than their page counts.

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