Workflow – proposed 2011

Note added May 2012: This was not the workflow once we actually got the project going. I retain this unmodified post only for archival purposes. For revised workflow, see post Workflow 2012.


Please modify or add notes!!! The original description is based on what Deb and Sarah envisioned before the project started, but we would like to keep a record of what steps the team found worked best. If individual team members develop their own unique workflow, please indicate what is uniquely yours.

At the start of every workday:

  1. Pull the number of microfilm that you normally process during the day from the cabinets on level 1. In order not to break up a “set” from the same holding institution or city, pull all the microfilm that belong to the same institution or city even if that exceeds your average daily number. Be sure that you pull from all the subcollection:
    1. miscellaneous general collection,
    2. Sevcenko collection,
    3. Dennis collection, and
    4. Westerink collection (use the handout that lists the Westerink microfilm by city).
  2. One by one, remove the microfilm from the box.
  3. Place the microfilm in a plastic bag with an A-D strip (see “Using A-D strips” for proper usage).
  4. Seal the bag, and put the bag on top of the box on the shelves.

[Something that needs to be worked out: how to keep from getting film mixed up on shelves?]

We strongly advise that you order the film by shelfmarks for a certain institution in order to help you identify any possible duplicates. You can order them as you prepare them with A-D strips but also check the shelfmark order as you pull film to enter info into the database.

Working with individual microfilm:

  1. Before you open a sealed bag, create a new record in FileMaker database (use New Record button on toolbar, go to Records=> New Record, or hit Ctrl+N).
  2. Based on the information on the accompanying box and the team’s decisions about controlled and consistent data, enter basic information about city, institution, and shelfmark for one of the manuscripts in the new FileMaker record under Manuscript: Data: Main.
  3. Check Manuscript: Data: List of Institutions to find the appropriate call number.
  4. Go back to Microfilm: Main screen and enter the appropriate call number (don’t forget to add a number for the specific microfilm within the sequence).
  5. Visually inspect the microfilm and record film format, film base, image polarity, and image reproduction.
  6. Based on the box and on accession records (folder on the Shared drive), record how the microfilm was acquired in the appropriate field.
  7. For boxes from the miscellaneous general collection or Westerink collection, record any information that appears on the label apart from institution and shelfmark information in the Notes about microfilm field. For boxes from the Sevcenko or Dennis collections, record all information on the label and anything else you observe (red crayon on certain image frames, for example) in the Notes field prefacing the information you copy with “Notations by Sevcenko” or “Notations by Dennis.”
  8. Go to Microfilm: Condition screen. Open the sealed bag and take out the A-D strip. Evaluate the color on the strip (this must be done within a few minutes or the color could alter). Record the number in the “A-D strip level” field on the record. Discard the A-D strip.
  9. Inspect the condition of the microfilm and mark issues you identify from the list of common problems. In the “Comments” field, add anything about the physical condition of the microfilm you feel appropriate. If the film is particularly long, then visually inspect several feet and use the rewinder to rewind the roll when you are done with your inspection. As you work with the roll on the scanner, be sure to keep an eye out for issues that you might not have seen in your first inspection.
  10. Add leader and make repairs if necessary.
  11. Load the microfilm on your scanner.
  12. Research the first manuscript in the Pinakes database and appropriate resources (print or online).
  13. Check the contents of the microfilm against your research findings: what folios are represented on the microfilm? Is there more than one manuscript on the microfilm?
  14. Complete the fields in the Manuscript: Data: Main component of the FileMaker record.
  15. Under Manuscript: Bibliography: References, enter information about where you found the entry in a print catalog or other select sources that you found useful or are considered fundamental to the manuscript.  If you need to add a title to the project bibliography, go to Manuscript: Bibliography: List of Titles, click “New Title” button at the top of the layout, and follow Chicago 15 style.
  16. Under Manuscript: Online Resources, give the URL for the Pinakes record for the manuscript, the URL for a digital facsimile if one exists, and any other URLs you think are useful resources.
  17. Return to Microfilm: Main and note the folio pages represented on our microfilm.
  18. Review your record.

If you have more than one manuscript on the same microfilm:

  1. After completing steps above for first manuscript, create Duplicate Record (go to Records=> Duplicate Record, or hit Ctrl+D).
  2. You should not need to change Microfilm components of the duplicate record unless the microfilm is actually several film spliced together. Go to Manuscript component of the record.
  3. Identify the next manuscript on the microfilm.
  4. Research the particular manuscript in the Pinakes database and appropriate resources (print or online).
  5. Check the contents of the microfilm against your research findings: what folios are represented on the microfilm?
  6. Complete all fields in the Manuscript component of the FileMaker record.
  7. Return to Microfilm: Main and note the folio pages represented on our microfilm.
  8. Review your record to be sure it reflects the additional manuscript.
  9. If more manuscripts on the film, then repeat steps until you have individual records for each manuscript reproduced on the microfilm.

When you have done recording all the information about a microfilm in the FileMaker database:

  1. If the microfilm was on a metal or damaged roll, be sure you have reached the end of the film. Then switch out the old roll for a new plastic roll.
  2. Rewind the microfilm on the scanner.
  3. On the lid of a new microfilm box, record in pencil the call number, city, holding institution, and shelfmarks.
  4. Put the microfilm in its new box and discard the old one.
  5. After you have processed several microfilm and are ready to print labels, [will be filled in once we have label printing mastered]
  6. Apply labels and stamp all sides of the box with “Dumbarton Oaks” library stamp.
  7. Return the processed microfilm to the appropriate cabinet on level 1 according to the new call number order. This might require shifting microfilm in drawers, but Deb and Sarah M. will try to stay on top of this to save you from juggling too much.

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