(Digital Collections) Imitating Janus: A Look Back, A Look Ahead for the DPG

A Sign of Things Bygone, To Come

Janus, of course, was the Roman god of beginnings and endings, usually represented as having two faces – one looking forward, the other back. His was the realm of doorways, transitions, gates and time itself. We derived the name of the present month from his name, so every time you curse your luck for living somewhere that January is one of the grayest, coldest, slushiest months of the year, you can grumble a little oath for him, too.

But January brings its share of pleasures, and one of them has become the idea of looking back at the year just past as we set goals for the year to come. It’s a month when, like December, people start posting random lists of Top Thing of 2012 and Top Thing To Expect In 2013. And so, in keeping with established tradition in the world of blogging, we’d like to take a moment to look back at The Year That Was by providing you a run-down of our most popular blog posts of 2012. It’s a handy way to catch up on posts you may have missed, relive your favorite DPG moments or just kill a few minutes on a cold, slow early January day at the office. We won’t judge your motivations – but we’ll gratefully accept your pageviews!

January’s top post:
War of the Rebellion Atlas Puts DPG on the Map in Tennessee

February’s top post:
“How do I love thee?” Let Us Digitize the Ways!

March’s top post:
A New Dimension for Our Collections: Introducing the Digital Collections Podcast

April’s top post:
Scott Joplin’s “Great Crush Collision” and the Memorialization of a Marketing Spectacle

May’s top post:
Everyone’s a Curator!

June’s top post:
Getting to Know the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP)

July’s  top post:
“A Long Time Minister of the Gospel and a Great Leader in Our Southern Baptist Convention” – The Selsus E. Tull Collection

August’s top post (and 2012’s most popular post):
“So We Can Throw These Out Now, Right?” What We Learned from Microfilming Newspapers and How It Shapes Our Digitization Strategy

September’s top post:
Join the Crowd(sourcing): Turning to Our Readers for Metadata Help

October’s top post:
Bringing Cartography, Digitization and Texana Together for a Limited Time Via Our Digital Collections

November’s top post:
“The Path of Good Intentions is a Steep Learning Curve”  – An Update from Zada Law

December’s top post:
Bonnie and Clyde (and Pat) and the Texas Collection Artifact That Ties Them Together

A Look Back

All in all, it was a banner year for our blog. We went viral in August, featured our first guest columnist and exposed our readers to hidden gems and one-of-a-kind resources available only from the Baylor University libraries. We received a total of  9,791 visits through December 2012, with the majority (4,568) from Texas. The blog was accessed by users in every state in the U.S. as well as by readers in the U.K., Canada, Australia, India and Germany.

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we had no idea what to expect in terms of impact, site visits, topics or anything else, for that matter. Now we can point back to a very successful year and use it as a benchmark for further growth and utilization of this versatile outreach tool. It has proven to be a remarkable way to engage our users, and we look forward to seeing its usefulness expand in the coming months.

A Look Ahead

We have two pieces of information to pass along to you in this inaugural 2013 post, both of which are exciting and being revealed here for the first time. One is the change of our group’s name from the Digitization Projects Group to the more-appropriate Digital Projects Group. Not only does this shave off two superfluous and tongue-tripping syllables from “Digitization,” it also more accurately encompasses the scope of the work we do.

Yes, the digitization of archival materials will still be a huge part of what we do, but the creation of digital versions of audio-visual materials isn’t precisely digitization – it’s more technically migration. And what about the creation and management of born-digital files, things that were never printed on paper in the first place? They were never digitized, but we are responsible for their preservation and propagation nonetheless. So, “Digital Projects Group” seems to fit the bill a little better than our previous moniker, and in the final analysis, it will at least be easier to say.

Along with the group name change, our esteemed colleague Darryl Stuhr has garnered a well-earned nomenclature upgrade as well. He is now the Assistant Director for the Digital Projects Group, a change from his previous title as Manager of Digitization Projects. I’m sure you’ll all join us in congratulating him on this change and wish him well in the coming months as we figure out all the ways we’ll be doing more with our new name and our expanding role in the Baylor libraries structure.

In closing, we want to thank you for your support over the past year. Writing this blog has been one of the highlights of my career this far, and, on a personal note, I’m looking forward to bringing you even more high-quality content each and every week of 2013 – barring a couple weeks off here and there for things like Spring Break and the occasional week when we’re all so deep into a project the thought of blogging falls after priorities like eating and occasionally seeing our loved ones.

Here’s to an exciting 2013, everyone!

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