The Perils of Complexity

A Multi-Stage Study to Determine Necessary Images for Digitized Scrapbook Representation

  • Shannon Willis University of North Texas
  • Marcia McIntosh University of North Texas
Keywords: scrapbooks, digitization, users


The digitization of scrapbooks is a common challenge faced by digitization practitioners. Unlike more standard bound works, scrapbooks are highly complex with multiple moving parts and numerous special features. As such, determining digitization standards that will hold across all manner of scrapbook collections and will accurately represent their unique elements in an understandable way in a digital environment can be problematic. The researchers at the University of North Texas (UNT) conducted on a multi-stage project to examine current practices and gain user perspectives on the images needed for optimal scrapbook representation in a digital library. The results from their work have enabled the implementation of clear guidelines on scrapbook digitization at their institution that can be applied throughout the field.

Author Biographies

Shannon Willis, University of North Texas

Shannon Willis received her Master’s of Library Science from the University of North Texas (UNT).  She is the Digital Projects Lab Manager at UNT where she oversees the digitization of cultural heritage materials for inclusion in The Portal to Texas History and the UNT Digital Library.

Marcia McIntosh, University of North Texas

Marcia McIntosh received her master’s in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information.  She is the Digital Production Librarian at the University of North Texas where she assists in the processing, documenting, and management necessary to create digital collections.


The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of those who donated their skills, expertise, materials, and/or time to this research: Nancy Reis (review and copyediting), Megan Gellner (video creation), Joshua Sylve (video production assistance), Ana Krahmer (usability expertise), Dianne Jansing (swag for study participants), UNT Special Collections (scrapbook loans), Phase 2 Beta Testers, and all study participants.

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