Ethics of Digital Projects
When designing your digital project, consider these ethical principles in your choices and design.
When creating digital questions, you must consider both what you put in your digital project (e.g. the content) and what happens when you're finished creating it and are preparing to publish it online.
If you're using materials created by other people in your online scholarship (e.g. including paragraphs of a novel, using someone else's photographs or drawings), you need to consider whether you need permission from the copyright owner of those materials to include them in your own work. The following questions will guide you on whether you have permission to use the content.
Consult this spreadsheet for free music and other resources that you may use for your project.
Are You the Author, Copyright Holder or Creator?
Has a License Already Been Granted?
Has copyright holder already granted a license for you to include their work. Sometimes authors have already provided permission through grants such as Creative Commons licenses. The license, itself, will identify the terms of what uses can be made without needing to get the author's permission first.
If a copyright holder has not already applied a Creative Commons license, he or she may be willing (often for a fee) to grant publication permission under specific terms and conditions.
Is the Work in the Public Domain?
Public domain works are open for use with no permission needed. Just because material is online, however, does not mean it's in the "public domain." Public domain instead refers to works for which copyright protections have expired, or works that were ineligible for protection.
Does Your Use of the Content Fall Under Fair Use? (Note: Fair Use is a Defense for Copyright Infringement)
The Four Fair Use Factors
Before beginning your project, consider what digitization technology you will need, and make arrangements to access it.
While Davidson has some scanning technology available in the library depending your digitization needs you may need to rely on entities outside the college to meet your digitization needs.
Digitization enables you to post and share print documents on your digital site, and also provides a back-up for physical items which could get damaged or misplaced.
The Davidson Library has two scanners, located on the first floor, just past the Information Desk:
Zeutschel OS 15000 (overhead book scanner)
Book ScanCenter 5131 (flatbed book scanner)
Both machines have the capability to scan in color or black and white. They produce either PDFs or JPEGs that can be sent to a smartphone (via QR reader), a USB drive, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Docs, or Office365.
Ensure that the technology you choose for your digital project will be able to produce your desired file type and image resolution. Best practice for text is that the scan of the image is able to reproduce a document the same size as the original (1:1). Consider the needs of your project. The bigger images take more time to load, but will also convey more detail.
Scanning Basics & Quality Control
It's important to double-check the file format, image resolution, and file naming of your scans. Correct specifications can save you from accessibility issues later on. Several organizations provide scanning checklists you can borrow for your own scanning work, including the University of Melbourne and the University of Connecticut.
Digital A/V files can eat up a lot of storage space, so estimate your storage needs, and make sure you'll be able to accommodate those, before beginning the digitization process. See the Sustainable Heritage Network document, Estimating Storage Requirements for Digital Audio.
Digitize In-house or Outsource?
Currently, the Davidson Library does not have A/V digitization technology available for use by the campus community, so outsourcing will be necessary for projects requiring A/V digitization.
See the Audio and Video Guidance: Resources from the National Archives for free tools like file analyzers and metadata embedders, to use with your digitized A/V files.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is data about data. It provides descriptions for your data that enable it to be searched and located.
Common metadata fields include:
See UCF Libraries Basic Metadata Fields for other common fields.
Controlled vocabulary consists of standardized words and phrases that can be searched across a system, enabling consistency and retrievability. The University of Texas Libraries have compiled a guide of controlled vocabularies for both general purpose and subject-specific use. If your digital project would benefit from controlled vocabulary, consider drawing from one of these existing examples.
File Naming Conventions & Best Practices
Decide on a file naming convention at the beginning of your project, for consistency and ease of retrieval.
Keep file names short, but meaningful.
Make use of consistent, relevant elements.
Avoid special characters and spaces.
Document and share the file naming convention.
Electronic Records Organization & Best Practices
See the Wisconsin Historical Society Best Practices for Organizing Electronic Records for tips. While geared towards bigger projects, even smaller projects would benefit from the practices outlined in here, such as:
Centrally locating records in shared drives
Using a hierarchical folder structure
Notes to document folder contents