Publishers’ Bindings Online: Project Manual*


  1. Selection

  2. Description

  3. File Naming Structure

  4. Digitization Procedures,
    Equipment and Standards

  5. Metadata

  6. Workflow

  7. Quality Control Procedures

  8. File Transfer Procedures

  1. Website Design

  2. Storage/DVD Burning

  3. Descriptive Resources

  4. Value-Added Resources

  5. Editorial Resources

  6. Project Forms

  7. Evaluation Mechanisms


  • 2,501 books from the collections of The University of Alabama and 2,025 from The University of Wisconsin-Madison were selected as being characteristic of 19th-century trade bindings.

  • Systematic selection of appropriate titles from the collection for inclusion in project.

  • Book is assigned a file number and described using initial two-sided description form.

  • UA has initially identified approximately 2700 items from the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library that have been deemed appropriate and desirable for the project. UA will focus on breadth, with some areas of depth including early 20th century works of Lafcadio Hearn, and a collection of rare Confederate imprints (books printed in the South during the Civil War). A student assistant has been hired to assist in the retrieval and processing of these books. Books will be from several collections in the Hoole Library and in other UA libraries, including Rare Books, Rucker Agee Collection, Wade Hall Collection of Southern History and Culture, and the Hoole Alabama Collection. In addition, a significant gift of rare and pristine works by noted African American authors and other 19 th c. American authors including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Mark Twain will be included in the project.
  • Jessica Lacher-Feldman has developed a training program to work with circulation staff and the gifts staff member in UA acquisitions to enable them to identify rare and unique materials in the general stacks in the UA Libraries for possible inclusion in the project.
  • UW has completed the identification and selection of the items which it will contribute depth to the database. These materials include: 181 versions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 172 versions of the works of Louisa May Alcott, 100 versions of the works of Sarah Orne Jewett, and 54 versions of the works of Emily Dickinson. These materials are found in UW-Madison's Special Collections (Cairns Collection of American Women Writers). In addition, 45 juvenile items for inclusion in the project have been identified and cataloged in the Special Collections Juvenile Literature collection. Currently the selector, Barbara Walden, is working with Special Collections staff in identifying the most appropriate of 132 gift books for addition to the project.
  • A student assistant was hired to retrieve the Special Collections materials which were scanned and provided with metadata as soon as the issues raised by the test database were resolved.
  • Work proceeded in selection of additional materials for the project from the UW-Madison's General Library System. Two student assistants were hired to assist in identification of items and provision of retrieval. Currently selection is focusing on identifying appropriate Scandinavian American materials, as well as bindings attributed to Margaret Armstrong in standard bibliographies. Because there are no standard bibliographies of Scandinavian American materials, selection of these materials has been greatly aided by information provided by Susanne Nevin, North European Studies Librarian at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, who has generously shared her knowledge of Scandinavian American publishing. To date, 85 Scandinavian American books have been identified and retrieved from Memorial Library, the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, and the Steenbock Library, and 36 of these have been identified as first priority for scanning. 59 Margaret Armstrong bindings have been identified and retrieved from Memorial Library; retrieval has not yet begun for Margaret Armstrong bindings located elsewhere on campus.
  • The identification and retrieval of the above items was completed in May 2004. Also identified and retrieved were the German American materials, primarily in the Max Kade Institute of German American studies, and additional materials to complete Madison’s contribution to the database. This work continued through the summer of 2004. This project generated tremendous enthusiasm from the library staff that regularly found and proposed items for the project.
  • The selection/metadata creation form allows for controlled language
    and descriptive hierarchy from the point of selection through metadata creation.


  • Selected books were described according to a thesaurus of descriptive terms. Because there is limited research on decorative trade bindings and no standard terminology for describing the book as artifact, this thesaurus was developed by The University of Alabama for this project, with cooperation from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • The Bindings Description Form consists of this jointly developed thesaurus, including hundreds of descriptive terms ranging from the subjects and themes illustrated on the bindings to their size and color, and the style and techniques used in their decoration.

File Naming Structure

  • A project identifier “pb” for “Publishers Bindings”

  • An institutional identifier
    • “a” for Alabama
    • “w” for Wisconsin

  • A unique, five-digit number (00001) for each item.
    • Example from Alabama: pba00001f01
    • Example from Wisconsin: pbw00001f01

  • To ensure that each image is presented in the correct (logical) order in the online database, we institute the following sub-naming scheme:

f[##] = front
b[##] = back
s[##] = spine
e[##] = end paper
o[##] = other

Examples of each of the sub-naming schemes

  • pba00001f01 – one (or first) image scanned of the front cover

  • pba00001f02 – second (presumably, the detail) image scanned of the front cover

  • pba00001s01 – one (or first) image scanned of the spine

  • pba00001b01 – one (or first) one image scanned of the back

  • pba00001e01 – one (or first) image scanned of the end paper

  • pba00001e02 – second (or detail) image of end paper

  • pba00001o01 – one (or first) image of another item in the book ("other"), such as the title page

Digitization Procedures

  • Items are scanned at UA using the BetterLight large-format digital scanning camera system along with BetterLight Viewfinder 5 software.

  • A scanning log was created in Microsoft Access, containing the file name and basic information such as title, author and call number for each item. This was printed out and filled out by hand at the time each item was scanned.

  • When the scan is complete it will open automatically in Adobe Photoshop. The image may then be cropped and adjusted if needed.

Digitization Equipment

Both UA and UW-Madison use BetterLight digital cameras which have the capacity for both color or black and white tightly bound material up to 14" X 20"; posters and maps
up to 30" X 40"; three dimensional objects and larger flat items also possible.

Digitization Standards and Practices

UWDCC standards for reformatting materials [pdf] This document describes in detail the standards and steps for digitization of materials at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center.

See also: UWDCC Resources and Documentation

Storage/DVD Burning

  • DVDs were decided to be the most efficient and effective way to store the master image files after they were uploaded to the online database. Files were burned to DVD following these steps.

    1. Copy the files to be burned to DVD from the I drive to C:/DVDArchive.
      • Open the C and I drives in separate windows.
      • Select files to copy from the I drive, right clicking and viewing properties to make sure no more than 4 gigabytes of files are selected.
      • Drag selected files to the C:/DVDArchive folder.

    2. Open the MD5summer software from the desktop icon.
      • Navigate to the C:/DVDArchive folder through the software and click ‘Create Sums.’
      • Click ‘Select All.’
      • Click ‘Add recursively.’
      • Click ‘OK.’
      • When a new box pops up, click ‘Save.’
      • Close the program.

    3. Open the RecordNow DX software from the desktop icon.
      • Click on ‘Make a Data Disc.’
      • If you have not yet done so, insert a blank DVD.
      • Click on the space that says ‘Volume Label’ and type an appropriate name for the disk. The DVD naming convention used by the Hoole Library is “Project name_batch number.” Do not indicate copy number in the disc name.
      • Open the DVDArchive folder to display the individual files.
      • Select all files in the folder and click the ‘Add’ button.
      • Click ‘Next.’
      • After the first disc has finished burning, select ‘Make Another.’ Two copies are made of all DVDs for backup purposes.

    4. Open the MD5summer software from the desktop icon.
      • Click ‘Verify Sums’ to run this process on each of the DVDs just created. Make sure you choose the newly created DVD and not the DVDArchive folder. It is not necessary to save this log after it is completed.

    5. Label the DVD.




Quality Control Procedures

  • Initial QC

    • Primary quality control was done in Adobe Photoshop. When this phase of the project began, a spreadsheet was created that contained each image’s file number and type, whether rescanning was needed, the reformatting/rescanning technician's initials, the date of reformatting, and quality adjustments made to the image. This primary quality control was done with the book in hand, often long after the original scans and by a different technician. This procedure was followed for images from the first 795 books.

    • By this point it had been decided that the procedure was overly time-consuming and that such detailed documentation was unnecessary. Concerns were also raised that the sometimes fragile books were being handled more than was necessary for scanning and documentation.

    • The new procedure for primary quality control was greatly streamlined. Primary quality control was done daily by the same technician who scanned the images without the books themselves on hand. Images were rotated and cropped, and the color, brightness and contrast was adjusted slightly as needed. The original Excel spreadsheet was no longer used, but another was created to document any images that needed to be rescanned.
  • Final QC

    • Final QC was done using Sitesearch database, Filemaker Pro, and an Excel spreadsheet. Each record was checked in order of ID number. First, each of the images associated with the record was examined for quality and resolution. If images were missing, incorrect, or flawed in any way, the items were rescanned and sent to UW for reloading.

    • Next, all hyperlinked subject headings were tested to ensure proper linking. The record was also proofread for any typographical errors.

    • The images in each record were examined to determine if the appropriate subject headings had been assigned to the record. If any incorrect or incomplete subject
      headings appeared in the record, the corrections were recorded in an Excel spreadsheet and the changes were made in the Filemaker Pro database.

    • At the end of each month, the Excel spreadsheet, along with any images that needed to be reloaded, were sent to UW. After the appropriate changes were made, the records that had been finalized were moved from the test site to a staging site where final inspections were made. After all records were approved, the records were added to the live database. This was completed in May 2006, at which time all 4526 records became accessible through

File Transfer Procedures

  • UA sends between 60 and 100 files to UW in a batch, typically totaling around 2 GB in size.  

  • These FTP transfers, which normally take between two and three hours, are facilitated by the ability to use the Internet2 connection between Alabama and Wisconsin .

Website Design

  • Initial decisions

    • Who are the likely users?
      • Dial-up vs. high-speed connectivity
      • Reasons for visiting the site

    • Navigation
      • Links arranged across the footer of each page
      • Page elements set in tables for consistency
      • No frames
      • Links to pages outside the PBO site open in a new window

    • Color palette
      • Colors should complement the bindings
      • Limited number of colors to “keep it clean”
      • Dark text on light background for readability
      • Branding: Look and feel to be used in all project materials
        • Website
        • Brochures, bookmarks, calendars, etc

    • Compliance
      • University guidelines (copyright, disclaimer, etc.)
      • W3C accessibility guidelines
        • Link to text-only version of the site
        • Use of <alt> tags to provide text equivalent for images
        • Consistent positioning of links on all pages

  • Secondary decisions

    • Moderate use of images (beyond splash page)
      • Low-res version of splash page available
      • Links arranged across the footer of each page

    • Styles (CSS)
      • Colors and font associated with styles
      • Styles in use across all pages

    • Stand-alone components for printing

  • File naming:

    • End filenames with .html.

    • When making a small jpeg of a cover, use the pbo filename as part of the name.

  • Saving files:

    • To create a new page, open the template in Dreamweaver and then save it to the folder where you will be working.

    • Do not move the file from one folder to another or else the links to images and the cascading style sheet (CSS) will be broken.

  • Special characters:

    • When creating a heading in an html page, be sure to use the curly apostrophe. Just typing an apostrophe will not work; either insert the code (&#146;) or go find one to paste in.

    • For dashes [– such as these –] use a space on either side of an en dash (&#8211;).

  • Styles:



    Used for


     Times New Roman, dark red, bold

    main headings

     subtext  Arial, black  body text
     subtext1  Arial, black, small  captions, source listings
     llinks  Verdana, dark red, small
    Fonts used in the images are Harrington and Bell MT.



Descriptive Resources

Value-Added Resources

Information Forthcoming

  • Web Resources: Criteria

  • Research Tools: Criteria

  • Teaching Tools: Criteria

Editorial Resources

Administrative Forms and Planning Documents


Evaluation Mechanisms

Publishers' Bindings Online, as an IMLS National Leadership Grant, uses the Outcomes Based Evaluation mechanism for evaluating the project and its outcomes.

Outcomes-based evaluation is an approach to measuring the effects of a project, or an institution's, services and activities on the target audience that these programs seek to benefit or serve. IMLS recommends outcome based evaluations as a means of tailoring each project's design and objectives to achieve their specific goals. Through the use of outcome based statements, methods of evaulation, inputs and outputs, projects such as PBO can both monitor and adjust its progress towards completeing its program purpose and organizational mission.

Publishers' Bindings Online's Outcomes Based Evaluation Report [working document]

Publishers' Bindings Online's Outcomes Based Evaluation Logic Model [pdf]

Outcomes Based Evaluation on the IMLS site


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