ABSTRACT

The authors examined the Wade Hall Consolidation Project at the University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections. The project involved the physical consolidation of more than 1,400 small, discrete collections donated by Wade Hall into larger, subject-based collections along with the merger of 287 existing digital collections to mirror the physical arrangement. This project's goal was to improve access to and discovery of these collections by researchers. During physical consolidation, the archivists created subject-based collections with new finding aids and addressed issues including unclear provenance, legacy descriptions, inaccurate metadata, varying levels of processing, and lack of alignment with current archival best practices and standards. Digital consolidation of existing digital collections coincided with the migration to a new digital asset management system and presented its own challenges, including legacy descriptions, metadata transformation, digital preservation, and dealing with existing metadata shared on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and other multi-institutional digital content aggregators. The authors sought to fill the gap in the literature concerning the consolidation of physical and digital collections and to provide guidance to others considering a consolidation project.

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