Putting Content Online: A Practical Guide for Libraries by Mark Jordan (Review)

The author of Putting Content Online: A Practical Guide for Libraries, Mark Jordan states that the book “is aimed at people who are developing collections of digitized and born-digital documents according to standard library principles, with a focus on the planning, technical, and operational aspects of such projects”.


Jordan also notes that while archivists and museum curators may benefit from reading the book, it is aimed strictly at libraries.

According to a blogger who attended a conference Jordan spoke at, he “wanted to make it fully open access, in the belief that making it available would encourage sales of more copies” but in the end (perhaps because the publishers didn’t agree), only 2 sample chapters were made available in PDF format*.

Some chapters eg: “Metadata for digital collections” are a bit dry, but to be fair to the author it would hard for anyone to make 39 pages about metadata riveting.

Many books make the mistake of recommending specific information technologies and detailing step-by-step instructions to use these technologies but because of the long lead-time for books to be researched, written and published these kinds of books become out of date quickly.

Jordan doesn’t make this mistake, instead offering just the right amount of detail and offering an extensive further reading list and endnotes at the end of each chapter.

With my experience in working with computer audio, video, images, and other files in many formats I concur completely with his recommendations for “master” and “derivative” file formats to use for digitised content eg: for images TIFF masters and JPG derivatives and for video DV or MPEG2 for masters and MPEG4 for derivatives.

For more details on the subject visit the author’s blog where he covers news on digitisation in libraries and allied institutions.

At the time this review was written the book (in paperback version ISBN: 184334176X) was available for purchase online at these prices:

Amazon US: US$69.95
Seekbooks.com.au: AUS$156.56

chapters “6. Search and display” and “8. Project management” can be viewed in PDF format.

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