Related product Digital Collections (CONTENTdm)

Using CONTENTdm

CONTENTdm is a digital asset management software package that is used by individual libraries and library consortia, such as CARLI, to provide access to digital versions of primary source materials. CONTENTdm provides a means of making a wide variety of media types including images, journals, books, audio and video files, maps, and newspapers accessible for search and display on a typical personal computer with an Internet connection and a web browser.

CONTENTdm is a product of OCLC. CARLI purchased a license for CONTENTdm in 2005.

Only CARLI Governing Members may use CARLI's implementation of CONTENTdm. Please if your library is interested in using CARLI's CONTENTdm.

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What options are available for using CONTENTdm in our library?

There are several options. If you simply want to view materials purchased by the CARLI consortium or view collections created by other CARLI libraries, you can search the CARLI Digital Collections. CARLI governing member libraries that want to contribute content and have CARLI host their content on a CARLI-managed server can opt to add collections to the CARLI Digital Collections. CARLI governing member libraries that want to manage their own digital library server can opt to purchase the software under the pricing terms of the agreement between CARLI and OCLC and install CONTENTdm on their own server.

How does CARLI “run” CONTENTdm for our library?

CARLI maintains the server and software, stores the content, and backs up the data. We provide you with the CONTENTdm Project Client software to upload your library’s digital content.

Do we need to have any CONTENTdm software installed at our library if we just want to view the CARLI Digital Collections?

No. All you need is an Internet-connected computer with a web browser to access the CARLI Digital Collections. Some of these collections include licensed material that must be restricted to people with current affiliations to CARLI libraries. The ability to access licensed collections from off-campus will depend upon the individual institution’s authentication services such as proxy servers.

Are there any restrictions we need to be aware of before we begin adding items to CARLI Digital Collections site or can we put any collection on the CARLI server?

Please refer to the CARLI Digital Collections Collection Development Policy for guidelines on adding items to CARLI Digital Collections. This policy contains the mission and guiding principles of the CARLI Digital Collections, collection development criteria, information about standards and quality control, as well as a removal policy for items.

For those institutions choosing to contribute digitized items to CARLI Digital Collections, an acknowledgement form must be signed and returned to the CARLI Office. One of the conditions in the agreement between CARLI and OCLC for the use of the CONTENTdm software requires that individual institutions that choose to contribute items to CARLI Digital Collections agree to abide by the terms of the Institutional Acknowledgement Form. Additional information on the institutional acknowledgment requirement is available by .

What type of equipment will our library need to digitize images?

At a minimum, you will need a computer, a scanner, and scanning software to digitize images. You will also need image manipulation software to edit and customize the scanned images. If you are digitizing special types of materials such as audio or video, additional equipment will be necessary.

Is training available for our library staff?

Yes. CARLI staff conduct basic training sessions that introduce CONTENTdm to participating libraries.

How much work is involved for our library to use CONTENTdm?

You will need to send two of your staff to a one-day CONTENTdm training session provided by CARLI. At this training, you will be given one copy of the CONTENTdm Project Client software to be used by your institution. You will also receive information you need to start creating new collections on the CARLI CONTENTdm server. In addition to these start up tasks, you will also be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of your collection(s) including scanning or creating digital objects, creating metadata (descriptive information) for these objects, and storing the digital master files.

Will our library’s staff be able to create new collections in CONTENTdm?

CARLI Office staff perform the first steps of the process of creating a new CONTENTdm collection. Libraries are informed about how to request a new collection as part of their training.

Who will provide technical support? Do we have a support contract with the vendor or will CARLI be handling these issues?

First . The CARLI staff are most knowledgeable about our specific installation of the CONTENTdm software and our server environment. If additional assistance is needed, CARLI staff will contact OCLC’s CONTENTdm support on your behalf.

Is there a CARLI service fee (annual assessment) to cover CARLI’s costs in hosting and supporting CONTENTdm?

Not at this time.

If we choose to use the CONTENTdm installation on the CARLI central server, how much will it cost our library?

Any CARLI governing member library may receive one copy of the CONTENTdm Project Client software, that can be installed on one PC, at no charge.

What is the CONTENTdm Project Client, and how many do we need?

The Project Client is a client software application that that runs on a Microsoft Windows PC. It allows you to associate metadata to digital objects (files), group the objects and metadata into a collection, and upload the collection to the CARLI server. You will need at least one Project Client. Please note that the Project Client does not scan or create the digital objects, nor does it store the digital master files. The Project Client does not need to be installed on the computer where objects are scanned.

How do we acquire additional Project Clients beyond the one copy provided by CARLI? What is the cost? Who brokers the purchase, CARLI or our institution?

Additional clients may be purchased by completing an order form. CARLI will work directly with OCLC to complete the order. At the request of the vendors, pricing information negotiated through individual institutional agreements is confidential. For a price quote on Project Clients, .

What is the CONTENTdm OCR extension, and do we need it?

The CONTENTdm OCR extension provides the ability for users to integrate optical character recognition (OCR) with digitized text collection building. The feature uses ABBYY FineReader® OCR software to capture text for addition to searchable metadata fields within CONTENTdm collections. When viewed, items prepared with this feature will display highlighted search terms in the image. Additionally, the OCR extension provides the option to create a PDF file of an entire compound object (e.g., a multi-page text document) for easy printing. Many OCR applications are on the market, so it is possible that your existing or preferred OCR software already meets your needs. In this case, you would create the OCR file and only use the Project Client to associate metadata with the file and upload it to the central server. Note: The OCR Extension license is sold separately.

How much does the OCR extension cost?

OCR extensions may be purchased by completing an order form. The CARLI office will work directly with OCLC to complete the order. At the request of the vendors, pricing information negotiated through individual institutional agreements is confidential. For a price quote on OCR extensions .

What happens to the signed agreement our library has with OCLC for CONTENTdm?

Licenses for CONTENTdm previously executed by individual institutions will remain in effect until the end of their respective annual terms. At the end of such annual terms, the institution may choose to renew its CONTENTdm license (and its order for maintenance and support services) under the previously executed license or the CARLI/OCLC Agreement. In either case, the individual institution will be entitled to the then-current discount for maintenance and support under the CARLI/OCLC Agreement.

What if our library is already running a different digital object management system software but wants to migrate to the CARLI central server?

You are responsible for the costs and efforts to export your collections, objects, and metadata into a format that can be imported into CONTENTdm.  For further information on what is needed to move collections to the CARLI CONTENTdm server, please .

How much will it cost to migrate our digital objects to CARLI’s central server?

The individual library is responsible for any data migration costs, and must contact OCLC directly for a price quote on any associated costs. Contact Ron Gardner or 1-800-848-5878, ext. 6165.

Is there a limit to the amount of CARLI server space our library can use?

There are currently no restrictions on the amount of CARLI disk space that may be used to store your library’s digital content, but institutions may be assessed a CARLI service fee in the future that will be partially based on the amount of disk space used for your institution’s collections.  Note that the CARLI servers are used for access images only and CARLI will not store your digital master files for you.  Storage of digital master files is the responsibility of each individual institution.

What level of administrative control will be granted to each institution?

Your institution will have working space on the CARLI server where your staff can work with your collections. A staff person from your institution must be designated as the local administrator of CONTENTdm and will be given full administrative control over your institution's collections. CARLI staff must create the infrastructure for each of your collections before you can add content.

Will a local administrator have full control over its institution’s collections?

For most aspects of the CONTENTdm software, you have full control over your collections. However, there are some aspects of the software that require direct manipulation of the operating system file structure and permissions.  These features will be handled by CARLI staff.

Can users be created locally? Will the local administrator be able to grant different levels of access to different users?

The CONTENTdm software does have built-in access levels that allow administrators to grant different levels of access to different users. The software does not, however, have the ability to create accounts. New accounts can be created by sending a request to

Will the local administrator have access to the Unix file system for their collections?

No. Only CARLI system staff will have access to the CONTENTdm server’s Unix operating system.

Will each institution be able to design custom interfaces to their collections and where will these custom interfaces be hosted?

Yes. CARLI staff has a web-based interface that allows you to submit modifications to the design elements in a collection. An institution's CONTENTdm primary contact should use the CONTENTdm Customization Form to request changes to the banners, color schemes, and text in your collections. Collection home pages within the CONTENTdm system are hosted on the CARLI CONTENTdm server, but libraries can also create external web pages hosted on their own websites that link into CARLI Digital Collections.

What factors should we consider when deciding whether to use CARLI's CONTENTdm server or to run our own copy of CONTENTdm locally?

Using CARLI’s server allows you to focus your attention on identifying and creating your digital content, and leaves the infrastructure planning and maintenance to CARLI. There may be other local considerations (e.g., staffing, cost, server space, joint projects with non-CARLI member institutions etc.) that make one model preferable to the other for your library.

What would it cost for us to run our own copy of CONTENTdm?

An individual library may decide to maintain its own copy of CONTENTdm software on its own local server. In addition to the costs of the server infrastructure, the locally hosting library would be responsible for the costs of the CONTENTdm software license and maintenance. CARLI member libraries may license CONTENTdm software from OCLC on their own behalf under the pricing terms of the agreement between CARLI and OCLC.

For additional information or pricing information, contact Ron Gardner or 1-800-848-5878, ext. 6165.

If we run our own copy of CONTENTdm, will the license be covered under CARLI’s contract with OCLC?

The locally hosting library assumes responsibility for the terms and conditions of any separate license agreement.

Will our library pay any recurring software maintenance costs for a local installation?

CONTENTdm software beginning on the date OCLC delivers the software to the individual library. Maintenance and support services beyond the initial year are the responsibility of the individual library.

We have licensed access to third-party image databases that are hosted by other vendors. What can we do to integrate multiple collections from various sources into a single interface?

If you are using a federated search application, you can make all of these sources targets in your federated search interface.