Digital Archives & Online Finding Aids

Archives Online at Indiana University serves as a portal for IU archival and special collections finding aids encoded in the XML standard, Encoded Archival Description (EAD). A typical finding aid provides researchers with biographical information about the collection's creator, a note describing scope and content, and an inventory of items in the collection. Archives and Special Collections Services support flexible encoding practices and enable direct access to digitized materials in numerous collections.

If you are interested in creating online finding aids, and you would like more information or an initial consultation, please contact Julie Hardesty, Metadata Analyst, Metadata Resources and Systems.

For information about archival services related to transferring University records, personal papers of faculty or alumni, or records from student organizations, contact Indiana University Archives.

Digital Preservation

Digital preservation services currently provided by the Indiana University-Bloomington Libraries include file and media migration, file format recommendations, and overall project guidance. If you have any general questions regarding digital preservation or you would like guidance in managing a personal, institutional, or consortial collection, please contact the Digital Preservation Librarian, Heidi Dowding.

For more information about this service and related resources, see About Digital Preservation.

Digital Project Planning and Management

Developing a digital project is a multifaceted process. There are many factors to consider such as content selection, needs assessment, financial planning including grant planning, copyright research, data curation, digitization, metadata, text encoding, technical options for storage and access, and so on. Members of the Digital Collections Services department can provide guidance and support in any or all of these areas.

We encourage you to review an extensive checklist of issues to consider when planning a digital project, and consult various in-person or self-directed training opportunities offered at Indiana University.

If you are interested in developing a digital project, and you would like more information or an initial consultation, please contact Michelle Dalmau, Head of Digital Collections Services. We also offer digital project planning consultation as part of the Scholars’ Commons Consulting Services. Visit our current consultation schedule for planning digital projects; no appointment is necessary, but encouraged!

Digitization Consultation and Production Services

Our internal, full service production lab is dedicated to the digitization of materials from IU Libraries’ special collections, affiliated archives, and cultural heritage organizations on the IU Bloomington campus. We also offer advice on appropriate hardware, software, and procedures for digital conversion and for management and migration of born-digital objects. As part of our assessment of candidates for digitization we advise on appropriate procedures for material handling and provide preservation recommendations for the physical items.

If you are a library entity or partner interested in learning more about our digitization services, please contact Kara Alexander, Digital Media Specialist, Digital Collections Services.

Electronic Text Services

We provide consultation, training, and Web publishing expertise for the creation of electronic text resources for IU Bloomington.  Consultations and services range from developing encoding strategies to delivering texts online. DCS also supports the electronic text technologies and standards based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), utilized by the IU Libraries.

We offer the following with respect to electronic text projects:

  • Project planning — needs assessment, outsourcing, cost analysis, determining encoding benchmarks, document analysis, encoding requirements, quality control, web site implementation
  • Full text generation — optical scanning (OCR), re-keying, transcription
  • Encoding — Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), Encoded Archival Description (EAD), other document-centric XML-based markup
  • Training and outreach — Instruction on TEI, EAD, and other XML-based markup, scanning, and full text generation
  • Technical assistance — text transformations using XSLT and other XML-related</li> technologies, functional requirements for Web delivery of e-texts, Web site design for e-text content

The following electronic text projects are supported by the IU Libraries:

If you are interested in developing an electronic text project or resource, and you would like more information or an initial consultation, please contact Nick Homenda, Digital Initiatives Librarian.

Image Collections Online Consultation

Image Collections Online (ICO) provides an environment for collection managers to easily showcase image collections curated by the libraries, departments, and cultural heritage institutions affiliated with Indiana University. ICO functions as a central gateway for preserving and disseminating digital image collections with a standards-based cataloging tool and web publishing mechanism.

Collections managers from any IU library, archival repository, department, museum, or other cultural heritage organization may use the service.  Requests for setting up an image collection from faculty members and other IU-affiliated scholars must be in accordance with copyright law and meet a research need.

What do I need to get started?

  • A collection of photographs or other image materials (including born-digital images) that you have the rights to make publicly available.
  • Metadata, or the ability to create metadata. If you have metadata already stored in a digital format (spreadsheet or database) we may be able to help you export it into the format used by ICO.
  • Time, dedication, and stamina. It takes a lot of time and effort to catalog images!
  • Funding may be necessary depending on the size and scope of the collection and the complexity of the metadata to be applied to the images.

For more information about how to use ICO, consult the ICO Guide.

If you are interested in developing a collection through ICO and you would like more information or an initial consultation, please contact Nick Homenda, Digital Initiatives Librarian.

Indiana University Digital Library: Books and Serials

If you are scanning a book or serial that is out of copyright, we want to know! It could be added to the Indiana University Digital Library.

The Indiana University Digital Library, also known as our “books and serials service,” is one of our longest-running services that supports the digitization, delivery, and preservation of monographs and serials made available via the Libraries' online catalog, IUCAT. Central to this service is METS Navigator, an open-source, page-turning system developed by the Indiana University Digital Library Program in 2005 that provides access to digitized volumes or multi-part volumes (e.g., Year Book of the State of Indiana for 1917).

The IU Libraries often digitize and preserve books and serials in brittle condition or that require special handling as long as we are in compliance with copyright law. High use items that may begin showing signs of wear are also candidates for digitization.

For more information, please contact Kara Alexander, Digital Media Specialist in Digital Collections Services for scanning guidelines and best practices.

Media Collections Online

Media Collections Online (MCO) provides online access to audio and video collections held in IU libraries and archives, as well as for select scholarly projects both inside and outside the University. It provides a web-based, easy to use interface for the playback of online media. Features include Canvas integration, closed caption support, external embedding of media, and access restrictions for materials. Collection managers can import items individually or in batches, import metadata directly from IUCAT, and define structural metadata.

If you are interested in developing an online media collection and would like more information or an initial consultation, please contact Jon Cameron, Digital Media Services Manager, or submit a request using the MCO contact form.

Metadata Services

Metadata facilitates the discovery, delivery, and sharing of information resources by applying descriptive best practices in support of research and teaching.  Whether you are seeking to organize your personal collections or need to identify appropriate standards and tools for metadata entry, the Metadata Services team can help!  As you consider your metadata needs, we can help you determine how to best describe your resources according to intended use, level of description, strategies for discovery and more.  We offer consultations in the following areas:

  • Selecting appropriate metadata standards
  • Generating guidelines for metadata creation and entry
  • Understanding metadata workflow issues
  • Creating or leveraging existing metadata schema, data dictionaries and ontologies  
  • Determining technology needs and platforms based on metadata requirements
  • Modeling data with special emphasis on XML and RDF modeling and Linked Open Data


If you need help with metadata, please contact Julie Hardesty, Metadata Analyst. We also offer digital project planning consultation with special attention to metadata issues as part of the Scholars’ Commons Consulting Services. Visit our current consultation schedule for planning digital projects; no appointment is necessary, but encouraged!

Scholars' Commons Digitization Lab

The Scholars' Commons Digitization Lab is a high-end multimedia, multidisciplinary self-service lab dedicated to the digital conversion of materials, and the management and migration of born-digital objects in support of research needs and interests of Indiana University Bloomington's faculty and students.

This lab is comprised of two adjoining spaces: the open Digitization Lab and the Secure Digital Analysis room. The open Lab provides large format flatbed, high speed, transparency-capable, and sheet-fed scanners for textual documents (bound, loose-leaf, manuscript, etc.), photographs, negatives, and small to medium three-dimensional objects.  The Secure Digital Analysis room is primarily for the digitization and analysis of audio and video. See a list of the labs' hardware and software and instructions on how to use the equipment and software located in the labs.

The Scholars' Commons Digitization Lab is a self-service, walk-in service point that is open according to the Wells Library East Tower hours of operation.

The Audio/Visual space that is part of the lab is open only when trained technicians are on duty due to the specialized nature of the equipment. Technicians are available:

  • Spring 2018:
    • Monday: 10am-12:30pm
    • Tuesday: 10am-1pm
    • Wednesday: 10am-2pm
    • Thursday: 10am-2pm
    • Friday: 10am-1pm

Trained technicians are not scheduled to work during university breaks and holidays.

The lab may be periodically closed to the public for teaching and training purposes. The schedule will reflect these temporary closings 3 business days before the scheduled teaching/training session. Consult the lab schedule and plan accordingly. If you are interested in reserving the lab for training or teaching, please contact Kara Alexander, Digital Media Specialist or Michelle Dalmau, Head of Digital Collections Services.

If you think the IU Libraries would be interested in partnering with your digitization project, or if you are interested in learning more about our digitization services, please contact Kara Alexander, Digital Media Specialist, Digital Collections Services.

Consult the Scholars' Commons Digitization Lab Policy for more information.


Contact Info

Herman B Wells Library W501
1320 E 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-8601
jon Dunn
Jon Dunn - Assistant Dean for Library Technologies
(812) 855-0953