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Welcome to the Digital Collecting Toolkit!

What is this Toolkit?

This toolkit is designed to provide resources and instruction on implementing digital collecting strategies during and after rapidly evolving social events and/or community crises (like campus controversies, natural disasters and public emergencies). Emergency digital collecting requires a rapid response and poses a particular set of challenges not normally found in routine digital collecting initiatives. Photos, videos, and social media content are major components of these community experiences, and the tools offered here can help organizations, institutions and communities implement an effective emergency digital collecting initiative.

Who is this for?

Our team includes University preservation librarians, digital preservation specialists, archivists, digital content developers, and IT specialists. We developed this toolkit for use by a wide range of cultural institutions and communities with an interest in quickly setting up a digital collection site and in developing a plan for emergency digital collecting. Members of University libraries, other educational institutions, and community organizations using this toolkit will need to have some level of access to the tools provided here to implement this type of digital collection strategy. This could include access to web hosting, server space, and an Omeka installation. However, we have included a range of potential options for these requirements in this toolkit.

How do I get started?

This toolkit is designed so you can get started quickly!

  • Read the basics on preparing for an event that requires emergency digital collecting and getting your community collection site up and running.
  • See the steps for setting up a website for collecting using Omeka Classic or Omeka S.
  • See the section on Social Media Tools to learn how to set up and use the DocNow tool, Twarc for collecting Twitter data.

Download the complete toolkit (PDF)

PDF updated: July 29, 2019

Who we are

This toolkit was created through a collaborative process by a team at the University of Virginia Library, with funding from the LYRASIS Catalyst Grant Fund. In the immediate aftermath of the events of August 11th and 12th in Charlottesville, VA, UVA Library staff took on the task of quickly launching an online collecting tool and capturing related social media content. While the UVA Library had some experience documenting and collecting digital content after a major news event, this was the first time we attempted to create a collecting site so quickly after the events occurred. The lessons learned from the site launch of the University of Virginia Library’s Digital Collecting site, “Unite the Right” Rally and Community Response has led to further workflow and tool development to help future collecting efforts for ourselves and others.

This Toolkit is a result of these efforts, and is intended to help others quickly launch similar sites in times of crisis.

Contact us

If you have any questions or comments, you can reach us at