Digital Solutions

Digital Solutions

nCDS Photo LabThe Norwick Center for Digital Solutions (nCDS) is a unit of SMU Libraries responsible for digitizing, cataloging, presenting via the web, and digitally preserving items from SMU Libraries special collections. It is located on the 3rd floor of the SIC Building in Fondren Library Blue.

nCDS operates a state-of-the art digitization center that allows rare and fragile materials held in the special collections to be digitized in exceptionally high quality. The special collections contain a wealth of rare primary materials on virtually every topic in a variety of formats, including manuscripts, imprints, maps, photographs, works of art, audio-visual material, and more. 


Primary nCDS Responsibilities

  • Digitization
    The primary mission of nCDS is to digitize the unique holdings of the SMU Libraries special collections. We follow best practices as outlined in the SMU Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures, which meet or exceed the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative’s technical guidelines for digitizing cultural heritage materials.
    Faculty and student requests for special collections digitization receive priority in our queue. Limited services are available to the SMU campus as well as the greater SMU Community (fees may apply). Contact nCDS at to inquire.  
  • Metadata Creation
    nCDS creates descriptive and technical metadata for SMU Libraries Digital Collections, as documented in the nCDS Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines. nCDS’s cataloging guidelines -- which use the Dublin Core framework and customized fields mapped to Dublin Core for export purposes -- capture a full range of descriptive, technical, and administrative metadata. nCDS provides metadata consultations and tutorials upon request.
  • Digital Collections
    nCDS creates and manages SMU Libraries Digital Collections using the CONTENTdm collections management software, which allows users to view image, document, and audio-visual files for a wide range of materials. 73,000 items in 100 digital collections are available for viewing around the world. Information on monthly updates to the collections is available in the digital collections blog, ''Off the Shelf.''
  • Digital Preservation
    nCDS’s Digital Preservation Program allows all files from our digitization projects and born-digital collections to be preserved in perpetuity following best practices. Files are stored following SMU Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy on a secure digital archive server and backed up in two locations by SMU’s Office of Information Technology. Funding for a new digital preservation software, Rosetta, has been obtained, and all files will be added to SMU Libraries’ Rosetta-based digital archive when the software system is fully implemented. Funding has also been allocated for Amazon Glacier as a tertiary backup.


Additional nCDS Solutions:nCDS Film Scanner

  • Digital Humanities practicums nCDS offers non-credit-bearing Digital Humanities practicums that provide hands-on experience in digitization, cataloging, and digital collections. Each practicum is tailored to meet the needs of the project.  All work is done in the nCDS lab. These practicums are available to SMU students only.
  • Class sessions and learning labs  
    nCDS can provide class sessions and learning labs. These sessions are popular in courses that contain a Digital Humanities component that is related to digitization/digital collections. nCDS can also help coordinate these sessions with our colleagues in special collections, who can provide selected primary materials for students to view.
  • Assistance with grant writing
    nCDS has written dozens of grants totaling $323,000 that have allowed us to digitize, catalog, make available online, and digitally preserve some 13,000 items. We provide consultations on grant-writing upon request.
  • Media Projects
    nCDS can help design workflows and train students for media projects like oral histories and/or multimedia presentations.

For information on internships available at the Norwick Center, please see the SMU Libraries Internships page.