Library Procedures Manual

DDOT Library Policies and Procedures Manual

Table of Contents


1.) Collection Description


The DDOT library contains various types of materials, including print books, reports, studies, serials, periodicals, maps, CDs, DVDs, and historical materials, as well as a smaller selection of electronic documents. Our wide-ranging general collection includes publications from DDOT, USDOT, FHWA, AASHTO, TRB, ITE, as well as a number of reports and studies from both DDOT and outside consulting firms that are available for checkout. The reference collection contains items such as the DCMR, the DC Code, and a selection of federal regulations.  We also hold several Baist books that are available for patrons to use and make copies of, but they cannot be taken out of the library aside from special circumstances. The historical section is comprised of materials from the late 1890s through the 1980s. We also house a growing collection of TRB serials that come to us a few times a month, as well as a small collection of training documents and DVDs. The library holds a small archival collection, which includes historical documents and correspondence from the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as newspaper clippings and public meeting notes. Lastly, the library contains an expansive collection of photographs, both historical and modern.

Our current items are located in our EOS catalog, while our historical items—once digitized—are largely located on our Omeka website.

2.) Collection Development/Management Policy


I. Selector/Librarian Contact Information

 Librarian: Kathleen Crabb (M.S.L.I.S, Catholic University of America)


Phone: 202-478-9122


General DDOT Mission Statement:

To develop and maintain a cohesive, sustainable transportation system that delivers safe, affordable, and convenient ways to move people and goods while protecting and enhancing the natural environment and cultural resources of the District.

3.) DDOT Library Mission Statement:

The purposes of the DDOT library are to preserve and create access to District of Columbia transportation history as well as providing a central source of current information, statistics, decisions, texts, and other literature serving the needs, first and foremost, of the DDOT employees along with outside researchers, consultants, other District government or federal employees, and the public.

4.)  Overview of the Collection


Collection History:

The District Department of Transportation Library began in March of 2011, with the agency’s move to new offices near the Navy Yard from the Reeves Center. The goal was to organize, catalog, and preserve the current collection, as well as take in new publications. There had previously been a small collection that was managed by a part-time librarian who left in the early 1990s. The collection was then abandoned until a historian was hired in 2005 to manage the fairly small collection; after the move to 55 M Street and the announced start-up of the official library, over three-hundred boxes of donations were made, largely consisting of materials that had previously been kept at the employees’ desks. Starting the library allowed all employees to have a central location to find information, checkout books, do historical research, and study for exams.

Major Units/Programs Served:

  • All of DDOT, in particular, the Planning and Sustainability Division, the Infrastructure and Project Management Division, Transit Delivery Division, Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, Parking and Ground Transportation Division, and the Traffic Operations and Safety Division
  • The library also serves the public (especially in relation to our historical materials), which includes students, authors, and public service organizations

5.) Description of Materials Collected


Circulating Collection: DDOT studies, TRB serials, AASHTO publications, ITE publications, PE exam materials, PMP exam materials, FE exam materials, multimedia items, and more.

Reference Collection:

The collection contains a small non-circulating reference section, which holds Federal and DC Government law manuals, general dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as one copy each of the most highly-used materials (when copies are available).

Electronic Sources: As of July 2019, our main source of electronic materials is through AASHTO. As members, we receive five digital complimentary copies of all new releases. All said releases come to the librarian for download in PDF form. Currently, all PDFs of those are kept in the DDOT P Drive under DDOTFSHARE and “Library AASHTO E-Publications.” To access one must login in with and the password tranlib.

As far as databases, we have access to TRID, the TRB database.

Special Collections:

The historical section of the library contains materials which are over a century old, including the full set of original “Acts Affecting the District of Columbia” the first of which dates back to 1898, transportation studies from World War II, and research on the original District of Columbia Streetcars. The collection also contains a significant amount of archival materials, including correspondence from early transportation leaders and District Employees dating back as far as 1902, as well as some of the original schematics for the construction of Union Station. Photographs dating back to the 1920s are also a large part of this collection

Chronological Scope: 1980s-Present

Geographical Scope:

The collection largely encompasses the District, but also includes materials from the DC metropolitan area as a whole, as well as materials from other state DOTs and foreign countries.

Physical Materials:

Photos, CDs, DVDs, monographs, reports, maps, Baist books, artifacts, historical street signs, historical documents/correspondence

Acquisitions Policy:

The library often purchases books for things like the PE, FE, PMP, and AICP exams through the Training department, and employees may come to the Library for requests. The Librarian keeps a list of requested acquisitions, along with the patrons who requested them so that when funding is available some of the requested books might be purchased. As of July 2019 there is an existing acquisitions plan in place, but it has not been implemented due to lack of approved funding.

Acquisitions Agreements:

The DDOT library has agreements that are renewed yearly with both the Transportation Research Board and The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. For a yearly fee, each time a new publication is published by either of these associations they are sent directly to DDOT. The TRB materials are print, and the AASHTO materials are digital. With AASHTO, DDOT is given (5) licenses to view PDFs, with a login belonging to the librarian.

6.) Funding and Collection Value

Budgeting and Funding:

The librarian position was formerly funded through a contract with Howard University but was transitioned to a DDOT employee position in 2015. Our interns are funded through the DDOT university contract with Howard. The materials for the collection as well as general library supplies are usually purchased through general DDOT PSD funds, or through funds from other administrations as available.

Collection Value:

By maintaining these records, the library assists DDOT engineers, planners, consultants, and administrators to fulfill DDOT’s mission and maintain a safe, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing transportation infrastructure. The digitization of our historical materials also helps create access to our unique collections both within and outside the agency to the larger community.

7.) Withdrawal, Retention, and Circulation


As part of the regular DDOT Library collection development and maintenance procedures, library staff members regularly weed materials from the collection if they are irrelevant, superfluous or out of date and not of historical value. The library receives older donations from employees if the item is pertinent to the mission, as well as copies of all new studies and reports written by DDOT or its consultants.

The retention policy is to keep two-three copies of all relevant materials where possible, unless instructed by a member of a particular administration to keep more of any given item. Also, if an item is particularly high use, three or more copies will be kept on a case by case basis in the circulating collection, and another copy will be kept in the reference section so there will always be a copy available in the library. If a major new publication is released, three copies will be kept until the need for said publication decreases.

The following should be considered when weeding the collection:

  1. The current and ongoing needs of patrons
  2. Whether the resource is relevant to current or historical DC transportation
  3. Available space for shelving and storing the physical collection
  4. Condition of the material
  5. Rareness and value of the material
  6. Number of copies of the material.  Is it a duplicate?

Retention Schedule:

Additionally, the following retention schedule will be consulted:


Publication Type

Number of Copies


DDOT Official publication

2 or 3 copies

Permanent retention

DDOT (& sponsored) technical reports

2 copies

Permanent retention

Statistical and other serial publications

1 copy

(Due to space)

According to the Weeding Guidelines


2 copies

According to the Weeding Guidelines


1 copies

(Due to space)

As long as space lasts, the library will keep all publications and revisit when space grows slim (older magazines are kept in a box rather than cataloged)

Congressional/Government Directories

2 copies

Discard after a change in administration or when new directory comes (Can be placed in the historical section at the librarian’s discretion.)


Upon removal, materials should be discarded by the following methods in sequential order:

  1. Donation to other transportation libraries and organizations or DCPL Washintoniana
  2. Transfer to the DDOT or City Archive
  3. Discarding of material (if item is completely irrelevant, this will come first)


The rationales responsible for establishing this order of preference are as follows. If an item is available through another library and weeded locally, access can still be provided. If material is available through the State or DDOT Archives the same holds true. The option to discard material should be exercised as a last resort, and usually only occurs if the item is irrelevant or if there are multiple duplicates. Other than cost of shipment, materials will be offered without charge. Because these materials are government property, requests from individuals, collectors, or profit-making organizations cannot be honored. However, if a DDOT employee would like to keep a publication which already has multiple duplicates, their request will be considered, especially if the item might otherwise be discarded.

8.) Gift & Donation Policy


The library accepts gifts and donations if they fall within the scope of the collection. Donations of material substantially contribute to the Library’s resources as the library is rebuilt. They supplement and enhance existing collections that support the research needs of staff and patrons.  Materials that fall outside the collection scope or duplicate holdings may be discarded. The library receives many donations from DDOT employees who donate the books they kept at their desks in order that other employees might have access to the materials.  

2016 update: due to many donations of multiple copies of the same item and not wanting to run into space constraints (this is largely a problem with Training materials), employees donating items will need to fill out a donation rubric. In order to keep track there is also a list kept by month/year of what has been donated.


The collections of the DDOT library are cared for according to ALA archival standards as appropriate for the item’s format. The primary goal of this effort is to preserve the authenticity, original material, structure and function of the item for use by the library’s patrons. Currently, the preservation work required is mostly minor repairs of tears, etc, and is done in house by the librarians. In 2013, some mold was discovered on some binders of photographs, and those were given to DCPL for care. All other photographs are being digitized for preservation and accessibility purposes, and are kept in archival standard folder and boxes, and if needed, plastic sheets. When the library was first started some of the historical materials were in bad shape, and the librarians took steps to preserve those, which are still fragile. This included but was not limited to:

  • Using archival tape to mend ripped paper
  • Removing metal paper clips that left rust behind, and replacing them plastic or stainless steel
  • Placing fragile materials in plastic sheeting
  • Placing photographs with sticky backs into plastic sheeting to prevent them from peeling the photo below
  • Putting photos in archival standards folders and boxes
  • Using card stock bookmarks for the historical book collection, rather than sticking barcodes and call number labels on

Intern Sarah Tellier also developed a Digital Preservation Plan in summer 2019, which is located in the Appendices.

9). Repair/Conservation/Replacement


All repair and conservation efforts will take place in house and be conducted by a library staff member.

Digital collections (as of July 2019, this is largely photographs stored in the H drive and in DDOT Back in Time with Omeka) will also be reviewed periodically to ensure the collection is being maintained in an accessible format and that all subscriptions are still necessary to the support of library activities. More about this will be in the digital preservation plan.

Collection Protection & Security:

The collection is maintained in an open stack environment and librarians and other library staff will provide all onsite security. The collection is housed in a closed building which the public does not have access to without being escorted by a DDOT employee. If the librarians are out, the door to the library will be locked to prevent unauthorized borrowing of materials.

In the event of a disaster library staff should first ensure that all personnel are safe to be in the effected library area. Next, if possible, the source of the problem should be stopped. At this time the disaster should be reported it to all upper level library staff, building maintenance and security, as well as any other DDOT employee who should be informed. Upon informing the correct employees the library staff should undertake any immediate action that may minimize damage to collection. This may include moving materials to a different place within the library, covering materials with plastic sheeting, or even not handling the affected materials. Immediate actions are left to the judgment of the highest ranked library staff person onsite. All long-term actions in the event of a disaster will be dictated by library director and will be aimed at first protecting and maintaining the materials of the collections and second at having the affected materials again available for public use as soon as possible.

10). Archival Policies


The DDOT library is undertaking an intensive digitization project in-order to both preserve historical items, as well as making them accessible to the public. The project began in 2014 and has continued into present day. Currently, our photos are all being digitized, stored on the H Drive, and then uploaded onto our DDOT Back in Time website (powered through Omeka). There are also plans in place to digitize our historical archival materials, as well as our historical reports and books, where possible.

Books may be checked out of the historical section, condition of the book permitting. Photographs and archival materials may not leave the library. Patrons may take notes or photographs, or ask that items be scanned for them. Patrons will not write on the materials, or use any tabs other than temporary post-it notes.

Scanning procedures, Omeka guidelines, as well as our copyright permissions language, are included in the appendices.

11). Circulation Policies


All of the materials in the general collection (including the CDs and DVDs) are available for checkout by all DDOT employees. The length of the checkout period is six weeks; if an employee requires the item for a longer period, they must email the librarian/visit the library and renew the item for another six weeks (the exception for this is when patrons are studying for an exam, in which case the time they keep items is up to the discretion of the Librarian). Patrons may not loan checked out items to other employees, as it makes it difficult for the librarians to keep track of the location of the materials

Items are checked out through our EOS cataloging system. All books are barcoded and scanned when checked out to a patron’s name so we have official records of checkout history for an item. EOS generates circulation and overdue item by patron reports every two weeks.

The limit of items allowed to be checked out per patron account will be five. The exception to this rule is if patrons need more than five items from the library to study for an exam (ie: PE or PMP, etc.) Only two audio visual items (i.e. CDs and DVDs) are allowed to be checked out per patron account.

Patrons are responsible for any items lost or irreparably damaged and they either must provide an exact replacement or pay for the item.

A PE exam check-out/sharing policy with further information is included in the Appendices.

*All DVDs that are checked out must be returned within a week or five business days.

COVID-19 Reference Addendum (added on May 19, 2020–in place until further notice and subject to change):

Remote Reference: 

  • While the librarian and the majority of DDOT staff are on telework, employees may still submit reference requests remotely. Not everything in the library is available in digital form, but many new AASHTO documents, DDOT studies, and research reports are accessible. Employees may ask the librarian, or do a catalog search themselves. 

In the Event of Employees Returning to the Office and There is No Library Staff Present

  • Employees may email the librarian and ask for the call # of an item. Once acquired, the employee (once securing the key to the library) may go in and take said book off the shelf. The librarian will then remotely check-out that book under the patron’s name. If the employee takes other books, they must let the librarian know. If an employee pulls the wrong book off the shelf, or pulls one down to look at, please place it on the cart, rather than back on the shelf so the librarian can put it back in the correct place.

In The Event of the Library Re-Opening

  • In order to reduce exposure or hand-to-hand contact, employees should request books via email, if possible. If there’s not a specific title, they can ask the librarian to do a search (or do a catalog search themselves) and then request the book. The librarian will pull the book off the shelf, check it out, and the employee may pick up the book from the library’s cart near the door. Employees will avoid browsing the shelves wherever possible.

Rules for the Public (especially as Using DDOT Historical Documents)

  • Until the need for social distancing measures are gone, we unfortunately cannot have members of the public in the library, as it’s impossible to clean the fragile historical materials. You may use our online collections (which have grown considerably!) and if you can’t find what you need, please contact the library and we will do our best to research for you, and scan what you need (scanning is subject to our return to the office). 

12). Cataloging Rules


The library uses the EOS Integrated Library System to electronically catalog records of all mediums (including serials), to keep track of patrons, recent acquisitions, and circulating items, and also possesses an Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) component in order that DDOT employees may search for and locate the library’s materials on their own.

The librarians utilize the Library of Congress Classification system as well as Library of Congress Subject Headings and Authorities, which are accessed through the subscribed Classification Web program. The Transportation Research Thesaurus is also used as a secondary subject heading resource to expand upon the limitations of the LOC terms. We currently adhere to the AACR2 and/or RDA cataloging rules. Some materials have already-created records that can be imported from the Library of Congress through EOS; others have records in other libraries and the pertinent information can be copy/pasted from WorldCat (; finally, some records must be created from scratch (this applies to many DDOT specific publications).

Minimal Cataloging Standards (excluding serials and magazines):

  • Title
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Subject
  • Call Number

13). EOS How-Tos


The circulation component of EOS allows us to keep records of all our library patron information and lets us create identifiers for each patron. We can also electronically keep track of what’s been checked out and by whom, as well as what’s been checked back into the library. It keeps records of holds, renewals, and item history. To check a patron out, take the following steps:

  • Hover over “circulation” which will then show you a drop-down menu
  • Select “checkout”
  • A box will pop up with patron names. Find the correct name, and click on the paper clip symbol next to their name
  • This will take you to a new screen, where you then scan the barcode on the back of the item
  • A new dialog box will appear, and you may manually change the due date, if you wish
  • Hit “proceed” and then the item will be checked out under the patron’s name 


  • There are five different components of EOS; two of them (search and cataloging) perform all of the cataloging functions in the system
  • To import a record from the Library of Congress catalog, go to the search component, select “Cross-Library Search,” enter your search terms by any of the given criteria, and select the database you wish to search. If the item you are looking for is available for import, click the check box and select “import.” Once the record is processed, click on the cataloging component, go to “bibliographic review” and select the record for approval and edit as needed. Once this is done, the record is added to the system.
  • To create a record from scratch, hover over the “cataloging” option, select “bibliographic review” from the drop down menu, and then hit “add.” Fill in all the relevant information (no MARC coding required, the system does it for you, unless you choose to do it yourself). Once the bibliographic information is entered, hit the “copy” tab and enter the information for the different copies (this is also where you can barcode an item. Attach a barcode to the item, then scan it in the correct box). Once this is complete, save the record, go once again to “bibliographic record” and select the new record for approval.
  • EOS has a number of training videos on the help page, as well as a live chat option with an EOS representative should assistance be required. They are also ready and willing to assist over the phone.

Editing OPAC 

  • As mentioned in the cataloging portion editing the OPAC is fairly simple with the EOS training videos on the help page, live chat options, and phone help.

14). Reference Services


A librarian is generally available from the hours of 8:30 to 5:00 for reference services, which includes locating items for patrons, doing research, or anything else employees might require. This service is provided in-person, over the phone, and through e-mail.

15). Intern Policies


Responsibilities of the Volunteer or Intern and Library Expectations

All library interns are hired through the DDOT-Howard University partnership. Interns will work 40 hours a week in the summer (unless otherwise agreed upon, but usually full-time work is required for summer interns) and between 10-20 hours during the semester. Interns receive their paychecks through Howard University. Interns are also recruited through Howard University, though the DDOT librarian has the final say on candidates.

Intern projects differ from year to year, but interns in the past have largely worked on the library’s digitization project, and responsibilities related to that. Interns also assist with general library business—such as reference requests—when the librarian is out.


Who May Volunteer or Serve as an Intern
It is required that all interns be enrolled in an ALA accredited school in a Library Science Master’s Program. Interns may be from out-of-state, but local (or online degree students who live locally) are usually give precedence so they may also work during the semester.

16). Social Media Policies


The library’s biggest outreach project is currently our social media involvement. We post weekly on the DDOT Library & Archives Tumblr page, and our Communications office cross-posts these to the DDOT Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, as able.

We also do crowdsourcing work through Ryan Shepard at Old Time DC on Facebook, who helps us with photographs lacking metadata. We credit their work when we upload photos to DDOT Back in Time that they’ve assisted with in the “source” section.

17). Appendices

a.  PE Exam Sharing Policy 

DDOT Library PE Exam Books Policies and Procedures

Checkout and Return Policies

  • In order to check-out PE exam books from the library, you must present proof to the librarian that you have registered for the exam (books are checked out on a first come, first serve basis, but this will prevent people who haven’t decided when they’re taking the exam from keeping books while people who are already registered might need the materials by an earlier date)
    • Ex. If you’re taking the exam in October, you may not check-out books before the April exam is completed, etc.
    • You may check out PE exam materials for up to 3 months. If you fail the exam and need to study again, please return the books and you may check them out when you have registered to take the exam a second time
    • Do not hand off books to colleagues that are taking the exam after you. Please return the books to the library, so that the materials may be checked out to the correct person and the library records kept up to-date

Fail to Return Penalties

  • If you lose/do not return the book within the 3 month time period, then you will be responsible for the cost of the book if Training purchased it with their funds

Sharing Policies

  • If you have a book checked out and a colleague on your team is also taking the exam, if possible please find a way to share the materials, as we have limited resources

b.  DDOT Back in Time Permissions Language

Use and Reproduction

Photos and historical documents from the DDOT collection can be found at our Omeka site: on our Tumblr page:  Copies of items can be saved from the site at no cost for personal or non-commercial use.

Distribution copies on Tumblr and Omeka are scanned at 300 DPI. If you would like one of our 600 DPI archival copies, email us the request.

If you are looking to use photos for publication, an exhibition, or a type of commercial use, please contact the librarian directly for discussion about your project.

At this time, we are not charging any fees for use. This could eventually change for commercial uses such as publication of a book, but we do ask that DDOT be given credit with any use of our collections.

If you visit the library and find photos that are not yet scanned, we will scan them for you and send them to you. If they are already scanned we will do the same. We will not undo historical reports for scanning, so if you need an entire report, please visit and take the needed notes and/or photographs of the pages. At this time, we will not make new physical prints, and can only scan and send digital copies. If the photos are for non-commercial use, you may make prints through a third party.

If you would like to make an appointment to visit the library, email or call us and we will be glad to set something up.


The copyright status of items can be difficult to determine, but the vast majority of photos in the DDOT collection were taken by earlier incarnations of the agency (the Department of Highways and Traffic, for example), or through a contractor hired by the agency. Prior to December 24, 1973, DC agencies were part of the federal government, so the photos therefore fall under the public domain. Photos from January 2, 1975 and beyond belong to the District and are the city’s intellectual property. The years in-between are less clear. Both are government created and should generally be available for public use. Copyright status is affected by things like the employment status of the creator, the date material was created, the date material was first published, and what information accompanied the first publication. We have not determined copyright status for every item and are not responsible for determining the copyright status of the items in our collection or for securing copyright permission. While DDOT does provide copies of our materials for research or publication, the researcher must exercise appropriate caution in using those materials and securing all necessary rights.  Where copyright is known, it will be indicated to the best of our ability.

c. Digital Preservation Plan

Policy Statement
This document establishes general policies for the preservation of the digital archives that are managed and cared for by the District Department of Transportation library staff.

Summary Statement
The purposes of the DDOT library are to preserve and create access to District of Columbia transportation history as well as providing a central source of current information, statistics, decisions, texts and other literature serving the needs, first and foremost, of the DDOT employees along with outside researchers, consultants, other District government or federal employees, and the public.

In upholding this mission, the DDOT library is charged with preserving digitized manuscripts, publications, photographs, and other digital objects in addition to its physical holdings. The librarian makes selection decisions based on established collections policy criteria, such as research potential and documentary value, and will preserve objects along with any metadata available.

The library’s digital archival holdings have acted mainly as a preservation tool for analog records. The goal is to organize and preserve these digital records in a systematic way in conjunction with the preservation of physical records. Digitization has also increased public access to image files through the library’s “DDOT Back in Time” Omeka site, increasing overall visibility and awareness for DDOT.

 This policy will be updated in June 2020 and re-evaluated triennially thereafter.


The digital archives will preserve all electronic records with historic or lasting value. At present, this includes mainly digitized forms of analog records held in the archives of the DDOT library. Each digitized item consists of two records: a high resolution, 600 dpi master copy and a lower resolution, 300 dpi access copy.

Selection Criteria 

Objects will be selected for preservation primarily based on their value in meeting DDOT’s mission, needs, and priorities while keeping with library collection policies. As a secondary consideration, the digitized forms of analog items that have been damaged, destroyed, or are too fragile for handling will also be selected for digital preservation in an effort to preserve their information and content.

Preservation Strategies 

Scanning Standards
Records should be scanned using 24-bit Color. For each record, two scans should be completed: a 300 dpi scan suitable for distribution and a 600 dpi scan for an archival copy. For more information on scanning, consult the Scanning Procedures.

Basic lifecycle
After scanning, the following steps document the receiving, organizing, and storing of digitized records:

  • The librarian stores original files on a secured server following established naming and organization protocols outlined in the document above. Original files are only migrated or converted when necessary.
  • The librarian creates derivatives of both the master and access files which are subsequently saved onto an external hard drive.
  • If the record is a historical document, the librarian may create a finding aid. If the records are an addition to an existing collection, a description of these records will be added to the existing finding aid or catalog record, if any.
  • The librarian manages user access to the records following guidelines set forth in the “DDOT Library Policies and Procedures Manual.”
  • Original files and derivatives have quality control checks with periodic migration and/or conversion to updated formats as necessary. Fixity of digital files on both internal servers and external drive(s) is monitored weekly by the Fixity program. Fixity by AVP will generate a weekly report of file checksums as it ensures files are not corrupted. This report is emailed to the librarian and issues or areas of concern are highlighted.
  • The librarian will review Fixity reports and take appropriate action when necessary to restore file integrity. Corrupted or lost files will be replaced with an uncorrupted backup from either the originals stored on the internal server or the derivatives maintained on the external hard drive.

In order to adhere to archival best practices and standards, processing digital files for long term preservation is a multi-step process that requires software and tools. The best tools for managing a digital archive are proprietary or open source software created exclusively for this purpose. They include all or most of the necessary functions an archivist needs for the preservation of digital records, such as running fixity checksums, gathering metadata, maintaining security controls, organizing files, and facilitating user access.

Currently, the library utilizes Omeka to fulfill some of these functions. However, there is not a process in place to ensure files are not corrupted or subject to degradation. Installing Fixity by AVP and establishing a schedule to check fixity of files is a necessary next step.

The best long-term storage for digital records is network and/or cloud servers with a backup system in place, such as multiple copies. Currently, the digital archives are stored only on internal servers. This leaves the data vulnerable to corruption and loss.

While a cloud storage system for derivatives would be a step towards greater preservation, the cost is often prohibitively expensive. A practical and easily-implemented solution is an external hard drive, as outlined in the lifecycle above. An external hard drive has an expected lifespan of three to five years before replacement and file migration is necessary, making it a more cost-effective option. As the archive continues to grow, it is possible that cloud storage may be a preservation option in the future.

Master and access copies are stored separately but preserved with equal priority. All files will be migrated to new servers or drives when they are purchased and converted to updated formats when necessary.

No piece of the archives shall be removed without the explicit permission of the librarian. This will ensure not only the authenticity and integrity of archival records but will also protect sensitive files that fall under restricted access policies, if any.

Operating Principles
Although attempting to follow best practices outlined by the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other institutions, neither the industry standard Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model nor the Trusted Repository Archiving Checklist (TRAC) guidelines are being strictly adhered to. This is a result of the nature of DDOT library’s archival holdings, the limitations of its resources, and the size of its collection. However, the guiding principles behind these models influence the library’s preservation methodology and workflow, helping the library to meet at least the minimum responsibilities of an OAIS-type archive.

Subjects and tags are drawn from a combination of Library of Congress subject headings and the Transportation Research Thesaurus headings. The library currently utilizes and will continue to utilize Dublin Core as its preferred metadata schema. Metadata is attached to records and preserved in Omeka.

The digital archives will follow the policies laid out within the “DDOT Library Policies and Procedures Manual” that dictate access protocols and procedures. A large part of the collection, specifically anything from 1973 and before, is public domain. From 1975 onwards, the collection is District intellectual property. When the date and/or copyright is unclear, the records are not marked as public domain. However, most of the archives are open to public access.

The library is currently under the Planning and Sustainability Division in the Research Branch and does not have an established budget for archival work. The Omeka software that hosts and organizes the digital files online is currently paid for by the IT department. Free and open source software, such as Fixity by AVP, will provide solutions for long-term preservation and file integrity.

Challenges/Future Plans

As outlined above, one of the greatest challenges that the digital archives face is financial. With greater resources, the library could provide adequate storage/backups and the systems required to maintain the digital archives. Currently, given the limited funds and resources available, the librarian has been able to piece together the best practices available for the scope and scale of the current digital archival holdings. A set budget could be used for cloud storage, a physical external hard drive, or an online, digital repository to provide public access for non-image files (PDFs), which the Omeka site does not allow.

The current lack of a backup for the library’s digital archives leaves the collection vulnerable. In order to ensure the future preservation of digital records, it will be necessary to create a copy of the scanned files that is stored separately from the current, internal server storage. As outlined above, an external hard drive will help ensure preservation.

The free and open source Fixity by AVP tool will need to be vetted by IT and installed on library computers. Fixity will allow the librarian to automate corruption checks that can be performed regularly.

Obsolescence of file types, while still a concern, is not as critical as the lack of backup. The library currently employs the Library of Congress’ preferred .jpg and .pdf file types for all its digital records. However, the librarian will continue to monitor Library of Congress’ recommended file types for long-term preservation and convert to updated file types as needed.

The definitions for the terms used in this policy can be found in the glossary created by Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), which is part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The glossary can be retrieved from:

In addition to the documents above, this policy was developed while consulting the following resources:

Columbia University Libraries. (2000, July) Policy for preservation of digital resources (rev. 2006). Retrieved from

Cornell University Library. (2004, December). Digital preservation policy framework. Retrieved from

Dartmouth College Library. (2012, July 26). Digital preservation policy. Retrieved from

Lavoie, B. (2000). Meeting the challenges of digital preservation: The OAIS reference model. Retrieved from

Purdue University Research Repository (PURR). (2012, April 4). Digital preservation policy. Retrieved from

d. Scanning Procedures

There are generally two types of records that we scan, documents and images. Each type of record has its own scanning procedures.

Before scanning anything, check in Omeka, as best as you are able, or ask the librarian if the record has already been scanned. Records with prior cataloging will be noted in EOS as being scanned upon completion.

Previously scanned records can be found under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization. Documents are saved under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Historical Reports. Images are saved in various files, but the majority can be found (and will be saved) under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Photograph Files.

As a general note, the scanner and the programs used to scan (ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint for documents and Epson Scan for images) are extremely temperamental. Before starting any scanning project, it is good practice to restart the scanner, particularly after an extended idle period. Good luck!

Naming Conventions & Organization

Image Files

With naming, images will follow generally the same format, including a prefix number, a title, and box and file number, if any. For example (B=box, F=file):

  • 001 New York Avenue B2, F1
  • 001 New York Avenue back B2, F1
  • 001 9th Street Expressway
  • 001 9th Street Expressway back

Images will be scanned twice. An archival copy will be scanned at 600 dpi, and then a distribution copy will be scanned at 300 dpi. The prefix of archival copies are odd numbers, while distribution copies are even numbers:

  • 001 New York Avenue B2, F1 – Archival copy of file #1
  • 003 New York Avenue B2, F1 – Archival copy of file #2
  • 002 New York Avenue B2, F1 – Distribution copy of file #1
  • 004 New York Avenue B2, F1 – Distribution copy of file #2

Archival copies and distribution copies are kept in separate folders under a main parent folder. See here for an example: \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Photograph Files\By Box or Binder\Box 7\File 1.


Documents are only scanned once at 300 dpi. They can be scanned at 600 dpi if the text is small or hard to read or the images have a lot of detail. If there are images of particular interest contained within a document, consider scanning it separately as an image.

Documents are titled with the name of the document. As with cataloging, the first word and proper nouns will be capitalized, and titles and subtitles will be separated by punctuation. However, since we cannot use a colon in a file name as we would in a catalog, it is replaced by a hyphen (e.g., Special streets – plan for Virginia Avenue NW.pdf).

Each report is saved in a parent folder, which include modes of transportation, subject matter, or neighborhood/location. In order to determine which parent folder the document should be saved in, consider the most important aspect of the document. Some documents could fit into multiple places. However, use your best judgement to determine where a record is most likely to be found.

For example, a Georgetown Parking Plan from 1986 could fall under either Parking or Georgetown. In this case, it is saved under Georgetown since it deals with neighborhood-specific issues. For locations that are too specific and would require their own parent folder, such as the Special streets : plan for Virginia Avenue NW document above, it is better to put them into a broad generic folder. In this case, it is saved under Land Use & Urban Renewal.

Document Scanning

  1. Turn scanner on or restart scanner after a long idle period. This will help the scanner to not crash the scanning program.
  2. Open ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint.
  3. In the top left corner, click “Select Task.”
  4. Select “Scan to PDF.” This will bring up a preview and settings box.
  5. Place the first page of the document you would like to scan facedown on the scanner, aligned to the top right corner. Be careful when opening and closing the lid so it does not slam down on the glass.
  6. As noted above, a resolution of 300 dpi is generally acceptable for documents. If a higher resolution is needed, you may select 600 dpi.
  7. Typically, items are scanned in color to maintain the content and substance of the document as much as possible.
  8. Click the “Preview” button in the lower left-hand corner. Click and drag the edges of the blue box to the edges of the page as best as possible.
  9. After completing a preview scan, you may adjust the brightness as necessary. Always preview the first page of the document again after adjusting the brightness.
  10. Paper size should be “Current Selection.” However, sometimes an 8.5 x 11 inch or other default size can be sufficient.
    1. The goal is to ensure that all (or as much as possible) important areas are scanned, including page numbers, tops of images, marginalia, etc. The size of the scanner is limiting, but the body of text on each page is the top priority. Try to position each page in order to capture that and anything else that seems important.
  11. If you are scanning multiple pages, you can set the scanner to pause for a certain amount of time after each scan, or you can leave the box unchecked and click the scan button after each page.
    1. Depending on your speed, a 10-20 second pause after each page is usually adequate. For documents where there is overhang off the glass or in other cases where your judgement is needed, err on the higher end of the spectrum, or opt for manual scanning.
  12. After you have confirmed the settings, click the “Scan” button. You will not be able to see what the scan looks like until the very end.
    1. If you opted not to have it pause after each scan, you will have to wait for it to finish scanning, change the page, and click “Scan” after each page is set on the glass.
    2. If you have it pause after each page, you will need to change the page within that amount of time. When you are finished scanning the last page, click “Stop Scanning.”
  13. After you have finished scanning the last page, click the “Close” button.
  14. A “Save As” box will pop up. You do not want to save at this point, so click “Cancel.”
  15. The unsaved scan will be visible in ABBYY FineReader. At the bottom, you will see navigation arrows to advance to the next page or return to the last page. On the right you will see buttons to rotate the page and tools help the OCR distinguish text from pictures and tables.
    1. Go through each page and orient them correctly.
    2. You should also verify that text areas, picture areas, and table areas are highlighted appropriately. Sometimes the OCR tool won’t distinguish these area’s properly, so you will need to clean it up.
      1. Click on the tool you want to use and click and drag a box around the appropriate content.
      2. If a box already exists but is coded incorrectly, you can click on the box and type “Delete” on your keyboard or click “Delete Area” and then click on the box. Try to minimize the number of boxes, having one text box per block of text, image, or table.
      3. Each box is numbered, which should follow the order in which the text would be read. For example, a page with two columns should have two boxes, one starting on the upper left and the other ending on the lower right.
  16. When you have finished editing the document, click on the “Convert” button. This will bring up the “Save As” box again. Navigate to the parent folder you would like to save the file under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Historical Reports. Use the naming conventions discussed above. When finished, click “Save."
  17. You will now be able to add the document to Omeka.

Image Scanning

  1. Turn scanner on or restart scanner after a long idle period. This will help the scanner to not crash the scanning program.
  2. Open Epson Scan. While using this program, you will not be able to click on anything outside of the scan/preview box on the same page. This will crash the program.
  3. Select “Professional Mode” from the drop-down menu on the top of the program window.
  4. From the Settings drop-down menu, select the 600 dpi or 300 dpi preset. Select 600 dpi for the first scan and 300 for the second scan of the same document. This makes it easier to rename later according to the Naming Conventions. The default settings should be as follows:
    1. Original
      1. Document Type, unless working with film negatives: Reflective
      2. Document Source: Document Table
      3. Auto Exposure Type: Photo
    2. Destination
      1. Image Type: 24-bit Color
      2. Resolution: 600 dpi or 300 dpi
    3. Adjustments
      1. Unsharp Mask: Box Checked
    4. Everything else should be greyed out or unchecked
  5. Put the document you wish to scan aligned to the top right corner of the scanner glass.
  6. Click the “Preview” button. This will bring up a new box and a preview scan. Do not click outside of this box on the same screen or on the task bar on either screen. This will cause the program to crash.
  7. After you conduct a preview scan, you will be able to:
    1. In the Preview window:

      1. Rotate the image to the correct orientation using the arrow buttons

      2. Use the marquee tool to select the edges of the paper. Click and drag the crosshair from one corner to the diagonal corner

      3. Using these tools should set the Document Size and Target Size in the Settings window

  8. When you are happy with how the preview looks, press “Scan."
  9. From here, you can select where you would like to save and name the file.
    1. Click “Browse,” and navigate to the folder you would like to save the image(s) to.
      1. Images that are not from a digitized report should be saved to the appropriate folder under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Photograph Files. You should create an appropriate subfolder and save the images there. Follow current organization patterns, or ask librarian for guidance.
        1. Example: \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Photograph Files\By Box or Binder\Box 7\File 1
      2. Images that are also found within or taken from a digitized report should be saved along with the PDF of the report under \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Historical Reports and the appropriate subfolder. Follow current organization patterns, or ask librarian for guidance.
        1. Example: \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Historical Reports\Navy Yard\Development plan - Washington Navy Yard, US Naval Station. Technical report 1 - historic development
    2. Leave the prefix or create your own and start numbering at 001 if you are starting a new file, or at whatever number is left off.
      1. You will need to rename the files later according to the Naming Conventions, but this is a good way to organize archival vs. distribution copies for later separation.
    3. Leave the image as a JPEG.
    4. You can either select to show dialog box before next scan or not if the options will remain the same.
    5. Images should remain one image per file, so uncheck show Add Page dialog after scanning.
  10. Click “OK.” After the image has finished scanning at 600 dpi, change the setting to 300 dpi. The rest should remain the same.
  11. Click “Scan” again and “OK” on the new dialog screen as long as the information is correct.
  12. Repeat the process for the entire set of images you are scanning, repeating the 600 dpi then 300 dpi pattern for each image.

Renaming and Organizing Image Files

Since Epson Scan puts the numbers as a suffix to a title instead of a prefix, you will have to rename all the image files you have scanned. Follow the Naming Conventions above. Under the parent file to where you are saving images, create one file named Archival and one named Distribution. Drag and drop the odd-numbered, 600 dpi files to archival and the even-numbered, 300 dpi files to distribution. Follow these examples:

e. Omeka Guidelines

Collection, Item, and File Level Metadata

Omeka categorizes things a bit differently than a typical archive would. A Collection is still a collection. However, in Omeka, what an archive would call a fond or file is an “Item” and an item or record is a “File.” Each level in Omeka requires metadata. The Item level also has some specific metadata that will be discussed in a different section.

First and foremost, it is important to maintain consistency of formatting, even if it seems a bit inconsequential. This not only ensures that patrons will be able to find things more easily, but also reflects well on DDOT and the Library. Thank you for supporting this mission and following the suggested rules and formatting below! (And when in doubt, ask!)

Collections & Items

Be sure to check what Collections and Items already exist before creating a new one. This helps prevent duplication moving forward.

Dublin Core

  • Title
    • For images:
      • Leave any numbered streets as numbers (e.g., 7th Street, 11th Street Bridges, etc.)
      • For Collections, create a title that will ensure that multiple items can fit. See current collections for ideas and to make sure that the item/files you are adding can’t be included elsewhere.
      • For Items, create a title that will encompass the files that you are adding. If files can be added to other Items, add them there instead. If it is a document, name the Item the title of the document.
      • For Files, maintain consistency. From now on, Files will be titled as the name of the Item plus three numbers in ascending order (e.g., FY-81 Second Roadway Upgrading 001, FY-81 Second Roadway Upgrading 002, etc.; FY-81 Second Roadway Upgrading is the name of the item and the numbers indicate the file number). If it is a document, name the File the title of the document.
    • For documents:
      • All documents are added to the “DDOT Historical Reports & Other Documents” Collection.
      • Items titles will dictate where a file is saved. They may be neighborhoods, modes of transportation, or other report subject matter. See \\ddotfile02\ppsa\Research Branch\Library\Digitization\Historical Reports for existing Item names.
      • File titles will be the title of the report using RDA/MARC cataloging standards and formatting.
  • Subject
    • Use approved LOC subject headings or terms from the Transportation Research Thesaurus from TRB.
    • Spell out street names here (e.g., Seventh Street (Washington, D.C.), Eleventh Street Bridges, etc.)
    • Each subject will be in a separate input box. For each subject, click “add input,” and list one subject per input box.
    • Each word of proper names should be capitalized (e.g., Potomac River, Fourteenth Street Bridges, Inner Loop)
    • Only the first letter of the first word of improper nouns should be capitalized. When the noun refers to a physical object (rather than an abstract idea or concept), it should also be plural (e.g., Construction projects, Historic bridges, Aerial photography, Road construction, Streetscapes (Urban design)). Note the different punctuation after the parenthesis in Streetscapes (Urban design).
  • Description
    • For images:
      • For Collections, describe the collection as broadly as possible.
        • Example: A collection of items related to DC Highways, Interstates, and Freeways.
      • For Items, describe the item in a bit more specific way, relating directly to the files the item contains.
        • Example: Photos and maps from the 1944 Transportation Survey and Plan for the Central Area of Washington, D.C.
      • For Files, be as specific as possible. The more detail, the better! This will give patrons a better shot at finding what they need.
        • [Totally Made-up] Example: An image showing the construction of an overpass at the intersection of K Street and 19th Avenue over the Potomac River. A church, police car, and bus stop are also visible.
      • In descriptions, try to spell out everything you can so that the search function might return it in patron results pages. If you can’t identify everything, that’s okay! Just do your best to provide as much information as possible.
        • Bad: “Between K and H Streets” / Good: “Between K Street and H Street”
          • If a patron looked up “K Street,” the search wouldn’t return this result.
        • Bad: “Bridges are visible over the Potomac” = Good: “The 14th Street Bridges are visible over the Potomac River.”
          • If a patron looked up “14th Street Bridges” or “Potomac River,” the search wouldn’t return this result.
      • In the description, also try to use alternative spellings to words listed in the tags or subjects. For example, if an item has the subject “Thirty Fourth Street” and the tag “Thirty-Fourth Street,” use the term “34th Street” in the description; or, if Interstate 395 is used as a tag or subject, use I-395 in the description.
      • If you don’t know what is in an image, ask for clarification, or describe it to the best of your ability. It is sometimes impossible to determine a location or other information about an image. Just do your best!
      • For documents:
        • At Item level, provide a general statement about the materials.
          • Example: “Historical reports relating to the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C.”
        • At File level, add any additional notes about the source material here. You do not need to provide a descriptive summary of the document, unless one is available via WorldCat.
        • If images are also extracted from the report and scanned as JPEGs, add a link to the Item containing these images. Follow the instructions and examples below.
        • If there are oddly sized pages that distort the PDF viewer (e.g.,, use the following verbiage under this section:
          • Please note: This report includes irregularly-sized pages. If the report is not visible, try scrolling to the right or left or using the zoom in (+) or zoom out (-) functions in the PDF viewer window.
  • Creator
    • For images:
      • Unless the file was explicitly not produced by DDOT, District Department of Transportation should be listed as a creator.
      • Each creator will be in a separate input box. To add a co-creator, click “add input,” and list each creator in a separate box.
      • In addition to District Department of Transportation, list any photographers or photography companies, if available, as co-creators. For documents, list the author as a creator.
      • Some materials may have a previous iteration of DDOT as the agency. In addition to District Department of Transportation, these agency names should also be listed as co-creators. Examples of some of the correct forms of names (note the period separating District of Columbia and the department name and the lack of punctuation at end of line):
        • District Department of Transportation
        • District of Columbia. Department of Highways
        • District of Columbia. Department of Highways and Traffic
    • For documents:
      • Each author will be in a separate input box. To add a co-author, click “add input,” and list each author in a separate box.
  • Source
    • For an image or .jpg scans taken from documents: If the Item or File is extracted from a specific book or report, cite that information here. Generally, this would include the title and author, if available.
      • If that report is digitized and available in our Omeka historical reports, add the link to the text/pdf page in this section. Follow the instructions and examples below.
    • Old Time DC on Facebook:
      • If Old Time DC contributed to the data in any way, include the following sentence/disclosure under Source:
        • The description and/or year information with this photograph was crowd-sourced from the group Old Time DC on Facebook.
  • Publisher
    • If the file you are adding comes from a book or is a report and there is a publisher listed, list it here.
  • Date
    • For images:
      • For Collections, date should be listed as Various. This ensures that when new items are added to the collection, the information will not need to be updated.
      • For Items with files isolated to a single year or time span of a few years, they can be listed (e.g., 1970, 1962-1964, 1980s). However, if dates of the files are scattered across several decades or many files have unknown dates, use the term Various. At the item level, when in doubt, put Various.
    • For files:
      • When available, date should always be formatted in Month Day, Year format (e.g., November 27, 1988). If only month or season and year are available, list those (e.g., Summer 1969, April 1945)
      • If date is unknown, leave blank.
      • Estimated dates (note lack of capitalization):
        • For approximate dates, use the term circa, or for approximate time in decades, early or late (e.g., circa 1970s, circa 1984, early 1950s, late 1970s, etc.)
        • For dates before or after a certain time, use pre- and post-, respectively (e.g., pre-1964, post-1981, etc.)
      • For documents:
        • At the File level, for documents and reports with approximate dates, use brackets as you would with cataloging (e.g., [1965]).
        • At the Item level, put Various.
  • Contributor
    • At the Collection level, the contributor is the District Department of Transportation. Even if the District Department of Transportation isn’t the only contributor or is not necessarily a contributor, District Department of Transportation will be listed here to make the data display properly.
    • At the Item level, contributor should be left blank.
    • At the File level:
      • For images: When available, construction companies or engineers will be listed as contributors.
      • For documents: When available, list the research company, illustrator, or any other individual (besides the author, who should be listed as a creator).
      • Each contributor will be in a separate input box. To add a co-contributor, click “add input,” and list each contributor in a separate box.
      • If available, list the name of the company or name of the individual and their title in separate boxes (e.g., Acme Construction; Wile E. Coyote, resident engineer; Road Runner, illustrator)
  • Rights
    • For Collections and Items, leave blank.
    • For images: At file level, anything created by DDOT from 1973 and before, list Public domain as the rights (note capitalization of first, but not second, word). If unknown dates or 1974 or after, leave blank. This is a result of the DC Home Rule Act of 1973.
      • If the District Department of Transportation is not or can not be listed as a creator, regardless of dates, or if the copyright is unclear in any way, leave blank.
    • For documents: Follow the same rules as for images. However, if it is not exclusively and explicitly produced by governmental organizations and agencies, contractors, or their employees, leave blank.
  • Format
    • For Collections and Items, each format contained within will be in a separate input box. For each format, click “add input” and list one format per input box.
    • At all levels, formats should always be in plural form.
      • For photographs (no matter if black and white or color), list Photographs
      • For illustrations, list Illustrations
      • For maps, list Maps
      • For artist renderings, list Renderings
      • For cartoons, list Cartoons
      • For documents and other reports, list Documents
      • For plans, list Plans
  • Language
    • List English at all levels
  • Type
    • For Collections and Items, each type contained within will be in a separate input box. For each type, click “add input” and list one type per input box.
    • These should always be in plural form.
      • For digitized photographs, list Prints
      • For digitized documents, list Text
      • For digitized copies of plans, list Facsimiles
      • For postcards, list Postcards
      • For born-digital photographs or documents, list the file format (e.g., JPEG, TIFF, DOC, PDF, etc.)

Item-Level Specific Inputs

Item Type Metadata

This is only applicable at the Item level and will either be a Still Image (for photographs, drawings, etc.), Document (for documents/reports), or Map (for maps).


This is where you can add all the records/Files to the Item. Details can be found below.

Tags & Tags List

Each Item needs to have tags associated with it. These Tags are part of a controlled vocabulary, which is listed below. Subjects and Tags are sometimes interchangeable. However, Tags can be applied more liberally than Subjects. For example, if an Item contains a significant amount of color photos, but is not entirely in color, you may tag the Item with Color Photography.

Unlike Subjects, Tags are in Title Case. (e.g., Subject: Construction projects = Tag: Construction Projects). Within tags, street numbers are always spelled out, and multi-digit numbers contain hyphens (e.g., Ninth Street Expressway, Thirty-Fourth Street, etc.). For freeways/highways, Interstate is always spelled out and numerals are always used (e.g., Interstate 395).

Before adding a new tag, make sure a synonym or closely associated word is not already within the controlled vocabulary. If a relevant tag isn’t found, discuss with the librarian before adding it. When implementing a new tag, be sure to add the tag to the list below, save this document, and reprint the tag list to add to the printed procedures.


If the Item has a specific location tied to it (e.g., Dupont Circle, RFK Stadium, etc.), you can use the map to tag that location. For some reason, the default location is somewhere in western China.

There are two ways to find locations. The easy way is to simply type a search or an address into the bar and click “find.” If that method produces no results, you can zoom out on the map, move and manipulate the map to find the East Coast of the US. You can then zoom in to Washington, D.C., and find the location on the map. Once you have located it, click on the map and a blue pointer will appear.

If you want to delete the pointer, simply click it and confirm you want to remove it. You can also move the pointer by clicking on the new location and confirming you want to move it. 


On the dropdown menu on the right-hand side, select the Collection to which you would like to add the item.

Examples of Proper Formatting

Must be logged in to Omeka to view:

Image File example:

Document File example:

Image from document File example:

Image Item example:

Document Item example:

Image Collection example:

Instructions for Adding Records to Omeka

Adding a Collection

  1. Open the Omeka homepage (
  2. Under “Recent Collections,” click “Add a new collection.”
  3. Fill out the required metadata to the best of your ability. This data can always be changed later, but stick to the guidelines listed above.
  4. On the right side, click the “Add Collection” button. While you are working on adding items and files to the collection, leave the “Public” box unchecked.

Editing a Collection/Publishing a Collection

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Collections” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Collections found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Collection you would like to edit in this list and click on its title.
  3. This will take you to the admin view of the page. From here, you can reorder the Collections’ Items, if desired.
  4. If you need to edit the metadata of the Collection or make it public, click on the “Edit” button on the right-hand side.
  5. From this page, you can edit any metadata necessary. When finished, click the “Save Changes” button on the right-hand side.
  6. After Item(s) have been added to the Collection and you are ready to make it public, check the box next to “Public,” and click the “Save Changes” button. This will make the Collection available on the live website. Only do this when Item(s) have been added to the Collection and the metadata is ready for public consumption.

Creating New Items

  1. Open the Omeka homepage (
  2. Under “Recent Items,” click “Add a new item.”
  3. Fill in the Dublin Core metadata based on the guidelines above.
  4. From the dropdown menu on the right, select the Collection to which you would like to add this Item.
  5. While you are working on adding files to the item, leave the “Public” box unchecked. When all files have been added to the Item, you can check the box next to “Public.”
  6. On the top next to “Dublin Core,” you will see a few tabs.
  7. Click on the “Item Type Metadata” tab. Select an Item Type based on the guidelines above.
  8. Click on the “Files” tab. You will add the records on this page. Detailed instructions can be found below.
  9. Click on the “Tags” tab. You must use a controlled vocabulary for this section, which can be found above. Tags will autogenerate when typing. You can add multiple tags by separating them with a comma. Click “Add Tags” when finished.
  10. Click on the “Map” tab. If applicable, a map location can be added here. See information/instructions above.
  11. When finished, click “Add Item.”

Editing an Item/Publishing an Item

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Items” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Items found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Item you would like to edit in this list and click on its title.
  3. This will take you to the admin view of the page.
  4. If you need to edit the metadata of the Item or make it public, click on the “Edit” button on the right-hand side.
  5. From this page, you can edit any metadata necessary. When finished, click the “Save Changes” button on the right-hand side.
  6. After Files have been added to the Item and you are ready to make it public, check the box next to “Public,” and click the “Save Changes” button. This will make the Item available on the live website. Only do this when Files have been added to the Item and the metadata is ready for public consumption.

Adding Files

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Items” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Items found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Item you would like to add Files to in this list and click on its title.
  3. This will take you to the admin view of the page.
  4. To add files, click on the “Edit” button on the right-hand side. Once on the edit screen, click on the “Files” tab.
  5. Files must be added individually by clicking “Choose File” and navigating through the computer’s files. When you have found the file you wish to add, click “Open.”
  6. Click “Add Another File” to add more.
  7. When finished, click “Save Changes.” This will upload your files and save them to Omeka.

Reordering Files

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Items” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Items found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Item you would like to add Files to in this list and click on its title.
  3. This will take you to the admin view of the page.
  4. To reorder files, click on the “Edit” button on the right-hand side. Once on the edit screen, click on the “Files” tab.
  5. You can then click and drag the files to the order you desire.
  6. Click “Save Changes.”

Adding/Editing Metadata to/of Files

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Items” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Items found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Item you would like to add Files to in this list and click on its title.
  3. This will take you to the admin view of the page.
  4. To add metadata to or edit the metadata of files, click on the “Edit” button on the right-hand side. Once on the edit screen, click on the “Files” tab.
  5. Each file has an “Edit” link that will take you to the metadata screen for the file.
  6. Enter the file’s metadata following the guidelines above.
  7. When finished, click “Save Changes.” Close the window, and you will return to the file list. Add metadata for each File listed there following the same process.
  8. When all metadata has been added, the Item is then ready to be Published.

Creating Exhibits

Exhibits are a great way to show off a specific aspect of our collections. A cohesive exhibit also enables us to gather together related files that might be in different Items or Collections into one location and present information effectively to our patrons and audience. Before creating an exhibit, ask the librarian for approval of the topic and for any further instructions or input.

Adding an Exhibit

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Exhibits” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Exhibits found on the Omeka site.
  2. Click on the “Add an Exhibit” button.
  3. Add all relevant metadata.
    1. Title – This will be the exhibit’s overall title which will be display on the public exhibit page.
    2. Slug – The slug is a brief identifier for each page of an exhibit. It will act as part of the URL, so it cannot contain spaces, capital letters, or special characters. If desired, hyphens can be used to separate words. The slug must be unique, or it will not save your progress or changes.
    3. Credits – Leave this blank.
    4. Description – Add a brief description/summary sentence or two of the exhibit’s contents.
    5. Tags – Use the tags from the list below. Separate each tag with a comma.
    6. Theme – Leave as Current Public Theme.
    7. Use Summary Page? – Uncheck this box; you should create a separate introductory page to your exhibit
    8. Cover Image – Exhibits can only draw images from Collections, Items, and Files that are already uploaded to the website. This can be from either public or private (unpublished) Collections/Items. In this box, you can select a specific File you would like to use as the cover image. If you do not select one, Omeka will default to the first attached file.
    9. Pages – Pages are how your exhibit will be divided and displayed to the public. They are covered in the section below.
    10. Public – After Pages have been added to the Exhibit and you are ready to make it public, check the box next to “Public,” and click the “Save Changes” button. This will make the Exhibit available on the live website. Only do this when the Exhibit is approved by the librarian and ready for public consumption.
  4. Click “Save Changes.” This will bring you to the edit page for the exhibit, but you can also view the public page of the exhibit from the menu on the right-hand side. This is a good way to preview your exhibit before publishing.

Editing/Adding Pages to an Exhibit

  1. From the Omeka homepage, click on “Exhibits” on the left side menu. This will take you to a list of all the Exhibits found on the Omeka site.
  2. Find the Exhibit you would like to add Pages to in this list and click on the “edit” button underneath.
  3. To add pages, click on the “Add Page” button. This will take you to a new page.
  4. Add all relevant information.
    1. Page Title – This is the title of the individual exhibit page.
    2. Menu Link Title – This is an optional feature that can be a shorter version of the page title, if needed.
      1. For example, if your page title is “Construction in and around the Inner Loop,” the menu link title could be “Construction.” Use your best judgement, but make use of the page preview option to see how the title displays on the public site. This is a good way to see if it needs to be shortened on the left-hand menu.
    3. Page Slug – The slug is a brief identifier for each page of an exhibit. It will act as part of the URL, so it cannot contain spaces, capital letters, or special characters. If desired, hyphens can be used to separate words. The slug must be unique, or it will not save your progress or changes.
    4. Content – See below.
  5. When the Page is completed, either click “Save Changes” or, if you have more pages to add, “Save and Add Another Page.”
Adding Content to Exhibit Pages

Exhibit content is displayed in units called blocks. Each page can have one or several blocks, depending on how you want to display information.

  1. To add a block, first select the layout. Each block layout has its own layout options.
    1. File with text will allow you to put an image or images to the right or left of your text.
      1.  Layout options:
        1. File position – Whether the file is left or right of the text.
        2. File size – The size of the file. Square thumbnail is generally a good option, but it’s up to your discretion.
        3. Captions position – This will align your captions either left or right justified or centered. Center is generally a good option, but it’s up to your discretion.
    2. Gallery will allow you to display multiple thumbnail size images to the left or right.
      1. Layout options:
        1. Showcase file position – A showcase file will appear larger than the other gallery images and will either appear to the left or right of the text on the page (if any).
        2. Gallery position – The gallery will use the full width of the page if there is no showcase file or text included in the box. Otherwise, you can select for it to display left or right here.
        3. Gallery file size – Select Square Thumbnail.
        4. Captions position - This will align your captions either left or right justified or centered. Center is generally a good option, but it’s up to your discretion.
    3. Text will give you just a straight block of text. It can be formatted and divided into paragraphs as you see fit.
    4. File will give you the option to include a file or several files without text other than captions.
      1. Layout options:
        1. File position – Select Center.
        2. File size – The size of the file. Fullsize or square thumbnail are both good options. This will apply to each file included in this block.
        3. Captions position - This will align your captions either left or right justified or centered. Select Center.
    5. Geolocation Map will provide a map with the geolocation of any items you attach to it. The items must already have a geolocation attached to it on its own Item page. Otherwise, it won’t display.
    6. Image annotation allows you to add comments to an attached image.
      1. Add an item.
      2. Click “load selected image.”
      3. Click and drag boxes around the areas you’d like to add comment to.
      4. Type comment and click “save.”
      5. Layout options:
        1. File position – Select Center.
        2. Captions position – This will align your captions either left or right justified or centered. Select Center.
  2. After you have selected the right layout for your block and selected the layout options that you want, you can add text and images to your block, depending on which block layout you selected.
    1. To add text – If the layout you selected allows you to add text and you would like to add it, type the text in the text box. You can format the text using the options available, including utilizing headings, adding links, or messing with the source code.
    2. To add images – If the layout you selected allows you to add images (files, items, etc.), click the “Add Item” button. This will bring up a list of all collections or items, and it allows you to scroll through and select which previously uploaded image you would like to attach to the block. Some layouts allow you to add multiple images. Before hitting “apply” to attach your image, be sure to add a caption by scrolling to the bottom of the pop-up window. You can add a caption and format it as you would text.
  3. Repeat this process to add another box of your choosing.
  4. When the Page is completed, either click “Save Changes” or, if you have more pages to add, “Save and Add Another Page” and repeat the process.

Publishing an Exhibit

  1. When you have finished adding Pages, click “Save Changes” on the final page. To preview your exhibit before publishing, click on the exhibit’s name in the navigation string at the top of the edit box (“Exhibits > Exhibit Name > etc.”). On the right-hand menu, click View Public Page. This will open the Exhibit in a new window. Navigate through and preview each exhibit page. Makes changes as necessary.
  2. After the librarian has approved the draft exhibit, you may return to the exhibit edit page and click the check box next to “Public” and click “Save Changes.”

Adding Links between Documents and Image Files in Omeka

When you have a document with extensive images, you will scan it first as a single PDF document and then scan each image individually as a JPEG. Follow the Document and Image Scanning Procedures above. When adding to Omeka, you will create a separate Item or Add the Images from the document to a different Item in a different Collection than the Historical Reports Collection. Documents will link to images under the description field while images will link to documents under the source field. See examples below.

  1. In order to add a link in Omeka, you must check the “Use HTML” button. This will bring up a way to format the box’s text outside of the default.
  2. Type and highlight the text you would like to hyperlink.
  3. Click the chain link button.
    1. Copy and paste in the URL of the page to which you would like to link.
      1. Be sure to use the public page link, not the link within the Omeka site manager.
  4. Type the Title of the Page to which you are linking.
  5. Under “Target,” select “New window.”
  6. Click “OK.”
  7. Finish adding metadata or making changes and click the “Add” or “Save” button in the top right.

Examples of Cross-linked Pages

Verbiage used for cross-linking to use (replace links):

  • Image – Item Level (under source):
    • Some of the images contained within this section were taken from reports, which can be found here.
  • Image – File Level (under source):
  • Document – File Level (under description):
    • Image scans from this report can be found here.

f. Omeka Tag List


Adams Morgan

Aerial Photography



Anacostia Freeway

Anacostia River

Anacostia River Bridge


Arlington Memorial Bridge

Arts and Industries Building

Automobile Parking

Barney Circle


Bicycle Paths



Bodies of Water

Botanical Gardens

Bridge Construction



Bus Stops

Bus Transit


C&O Canal

Cable Cars (Streetcars)

Calvert Street

Calvert Street Bridge

Canal Road

Capitol Complex

Capitol Hill

Capitol Reflecting Pool

Central Business Districts

Chain Bridge



Chinatown Friendship Archway


City Government

Civil Unrest

Clara Barton Parkway

Cleveland Avenue

Color Photography

Colorado Avenue

Columbia Heights

Columbia Road




Congress Heights

Connecticut Avenue

Constitution Avenue

Construction Projects

Construction Workers

Crash Cushions




Department of Public Works

Disasters and Emergency Operations


Duke Ellington Bridge

Dupont Circle

Eighteenth Street

Elevated Highways

Eleventh Street Bridge


Erosion Control



F Street

Federal Government

Fifteenth Street

Firth Sterling Avenue


Flood Damage

Florida Avenue

Foggy Bottom


Fourteenth Street

Fourteenth Street Bridges

Francis Pool

Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge


Garfield Park

George Mason Bridge


Georgia Avenue

Government Employees

H Street

Highway Corridors

Highway Maintenance

Highway Planning

Highway Safety

Highway Traffic



Historic Buildings




Independence Avenue

Inner Loop



Interstate 395

Interstate 66

Interstate 695

Interstate 95


Irving Street

K Street

Kenilworth Avenue

Key Bridge

Klingle Road




Little River Crossing

Local Government Agencies

Logan Circle

M Street


Marion Barry

Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue

Massachusetts Avenue


McKinley Street



Military Road

MLK Avenue


Motor Vehicle Inspections

Motor Vehicle Scales

Motor Vehicles

Mount Carmel Baptist Church



Navy Yard

National Mall

Nebraska Avenue


New York Avenue


Night Photography

Ninth Street

Ninth Street Expressway


North Capitol Street





P Street

P Street Bridge


Park Road Bridge


Parking Garages

Parking Lots



Passenger Trains


Pedestrian Crosswalks

Pedestrian Safety


Pennsylvania Avenue



Piney Branch Parkway


Potomac River

Potomac River Freeway


Public Buildings

Public Events

Public Transit

Q Street

R Street

Rail Transit

Railroad Commuter Service

Railroad Tracks





Residential Streets



Retaining Walls

Rhode Island Avenue


Road Improvement

Road Markings


Roadside Improvement


Roadway Upgrading

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium

Rock Creek

Rock Creek Church Road

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Parkway

Roosevelt Island


Route 295


Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church

Scott Circle

Seat Belts

Service Stations

Sewer Access Holes



Sixteenth Street

Smithsonian Institution


Snow Removal

Sousa Bridge

South Capitol Street

South Capitol Street Bridge

South Dakota Avenue


Southeast Freeway

Southern Avenue


Southwest Freeway

Special Events

State Departments of Transportation



Storm Damage

Street Cleaning

Street Lighting






Swimming Pools

Takoma Park



Theodore Roosevelt Bridge

Thirty-Fourth Street

Thomas Circle

Three Sisters Bridge

Tidal Basin


Traffic Circles

Traffic Signals

Traffic Signs


Transportation Careers

Transportation Planning




Twelfth Street

Twenty-Second Street

Twenty-Third Street


Ulysses S. Grant Memorial


Union Square

Union Station

Urban Forestry

Urban Renewal

Urban Transit

Walking Paths

Washington Channel

Washington Circle

Washington National Cathedral


Weather Damage

Weigh Stations

Welcome to Washington Sign

West End

White House

Whitehurst Freeway

Whitney Young Memorial Bridge


Wisconsin Avenue