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Digital Collections and Digitization

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(405) 325-2441
The Digital Collections and Digitization department brings greater access to the University Libraries Special Research Collections materials, in order to enhance scholarship, teaching, and community engagement.

OU Libraries' modern digital collections platform for cultural-heritage materials provides access to nearly 140,000 images and several audio collections representing many unique books, recordings, and other items of high interest in the Libraries' special research collections. 
In addition to new digital content, this unit directs the continuous improvement of the digital collections platform's content and functionality in consultation with the special research collections, with the goals of excellence in content, usability, and usage.

The Digitization Lab uses best practices for cultural-heritage digitization of early printed books, large atlases, maps, lithographs, and diverse manuscript collections. The Digitization Lab is also a resource for information and some consulting on best practices, practical workflows, equipment, and software.

This unit is led by Barbara Laufersweiler, Director, Digital Collections and Digitization, and is a part of the Digital Strategies & Innovation division of OU Libraries.

Team members

Barbara Laufersweiler, Director
Rick J. Schultz, Digitization Lab Coordinator
Cassondra Darling, Digital Collections Librarian
Gabi Young, Digitization Lab Assistant


For digitization information, requests, and inquiries, contact us.

Featured Projects


The Digitization Lab supported an OU information studies capstone class project to create a digital library of historical Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP) posters for the OSLEP program, digitizing the posters that required an oversized scanner.


To commemorate the 250th anniversary of famed geologist William Smith’s birth, as well as the release of a new book that features OU’s copy of Smith’s (1817) “Stratigraphical system" that has annotations by the author, the Digital Collections and Digitization unit added three of Smith’s works to OU Libraries’ online digital collections. More on this.

Camp, Twila, Barbara Laufersweiler, and Sarah Robbins. 2018. “Using Pre-Project Planning to Manage Workload” in Alice Daugherty, Samantha Schmehl Hines (ed.), Project Management in the Library Workplace (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Volume 38), Emerald Publishing, pages 1-18.

Barbara Laufersweiler, “Digitizing Watermarks”, in Sooner Horizon: The University of Oklahoma Libraries Special Collections, Volume 5, Number 1 (Spring 2017; PDF), page 11.

"The OU Libraries Digitization Lab is developing a plan to gather information about the paper during our regular digitization process for early printed books, thanks to the ideas and research of our first graduate assistant, Kraig Bartel."

Barbara Laufersweiler, “Digitizing the Collections: The Cherokee Nation Papers”, in Sooner Horizon: The University of Oklahoma Libraries Special Collections, Volume 4, Number 2 (Fall 2016; PDF), page 3.

"To date, the digitization lab has scanned over 2,700 folders of documents. This is about 15 terabytes of digital images, representing perhaps 75,000 images, and is approximately only one quarter of the collection."

Barbara Laufersweiler, “Digitizing the Chinese Translation Archive”, in Sooner Horizon: The University of Oklahoma Libraries Special Collections, Volume 4, Number 1 (Spring 2016; PDF), page 8.

"Once digitized, large collections of related works such as translation notes or letters between colleagues become subjects of scholarly study and the focus of digital scholarly tools for annotation, collaboration and more."

Barbara Laufersweiler, “Digitization Lab”, in Sooner Horizon: The University of Oklahoma Libraries Special Collections, Volume 3, Number 2 (Fall 2015; PDF), page 17.

"Access to unique rare books once required making arrangements to examine them in person with rigid rules to ensure the conservation of the artifact, but the advent of high-quality digitization and online digital repositories have enabled new opportunities for scholarly research."


  • "Put a Ruler in the Shot: Practical methods for calculating effective ("true") resolution for photographed materials", presentation with University of Richmond (VA) Libraries, Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum, Nov 2023.


  • "Indigenous Data Ethics and University of Oklahoma Digital Collections," presentation, Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum, Oct 2021.
  • "Project-2-Program: Building strong, sustainable, and adaptable programs for coordinated digital library activity," panel with Ohio State University Libraries, Syracuse University Libraries, and University of Michigan Library, Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum, Oct 2018.


  • "Beyond the Pages: Early bound works in digital collections," snapshot presentation, Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum, Oct 2018.
  • Making Book History Accessible in Digital Collections: High-impact, low-cost practices for early printed book digitization”, poster, Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL) 2018 conference, New Orleans LA, June 2018.
  • Beyond the Pages: Early printed books in digital collections”, lightning presentation, Texas Conference for Digital Libraries, University of Texas - Austin, May 2018.
  • Making Book History Visible in Digital Collections”, panel presentation, Book History & Digital Humanities 2017 conference, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Sept 2017.
  • Digital Imaging and Preservation for Special Collections at the University of Oklahoma Libraries,” NISO virtual conference “Images: Digitization and Preservation,” June 2017.
  • The Galileo’s World Digital Exhibit: From Physical Object to Online Exhibit,” Digital History and Philosophy of Science Symposium, University of Oklahoma, August 2016.
  • Galileo’s World Exhibition,” poster with James Adams, Association of College and Research Libraries Oklahoma (OK-ACRL) chapter annual meeting, Tulsa OK, November 2015.

List of current projects

  • Migration of diverse older digital collections into OU Libraries' modern digital collections platform, and file preservation.
  • Digitization and digital preservation of Kaw Agency collection held by Western History Collections.
  • Ongoing digitization, digital preservation, and digital-collection loading of books and other materials held in OU History of Science collections.
  • Retrospective digitization on demand of OU masters' theses requested through the public collection interface, for public access in OU's institutional repository in SHAREOK.
  • Retrospective digitization of Indian-Pioneer Papers interview transcriptions held by Western History Collections, to replace previous digitization of microform copies.
  • Retrospective digitization of high-demand OU masters' theses in geology and geophysics held by OU's Youngblood Energy (Geology) Library, for public access in OU's institutional repository in SHAREOK.