Digitization is a complex and costly endeavour for any organization. Several issues and considerations need to be addressed prior to embarking on digitization activities and projects, including but not limited to the following:
- Selecting what material to digitized and how it will be used, accessed, and maintained;
- Identifying intellectual property right considerations;
- Sufficient funding and staff resources for project start-up and long-term maintenance and preservation;
- Flexibility to respond to rapid the growth and evolution of technology;
- Meeting changing user expectations.
In addressing the above challenges associated with digitization, a number of fundamental principles are grouped below to help guide decisions about what and how to digitize material:
Big Picture Coordination: Considerations
- Determine the cost-benefit implications for all new digitization projects (see Selection Criteria below for more information);
- Ensure compliance with moral rights, intellectual property legislation, and copyright;
- Consider the preservation implications of any systems in place to manage digital records;
- Consider the standards, formats and documentation that are required for digitization projects that can be cost-effectively preserved;
- Minimize risk.
Financial Costs and Resource Considerations:
- Long-term preservation strategies are an inherent cost of digitization;
- It is necessary to allocate adequate and appropriate resources and infrastructure for sustained access and preservation;
- It is necessary to ensure sufficient trained staff is available to manage the processes required to preserve collections
Human Resource Considerations:
Digitization projects require a combination of skills from a variety of staff with different areas of expertise. Individual digitization projects (either Grant-Based or Ongoing) require a team approach, may be initiated and managed by any employee. Each project should have a project manager, who is responsible for coordinating and planning the activities associated with the digitization project.
- Project management skills;
- Knowledge of cataloguing and metadata schema;
- Familiarity with conservation methods;
- Understanding of the techniques and methods for the specific analogue media to be digitized; for example, photography or sound recording;
- Subject matter specialists (e.g., archivists, librarians, scholars, etc.);
- Familiarity with community specific protocols and practice;
- Information technology skills (e.g. database development, computer programming);
- Administration skills.
- Digitize at an appropriate level of quality to avoid re-digitizing and re-handling of the originals in the future;
- Digitize an original or first generation (i.e. negative rather than print) of the source material to achieve the best quality reproduction possible;
- Create and store a master file that can be used to produce surrogate files and serve a variety of current and future user needs;
- Ensure originals are maintained, as digital copies are not a substitute for originals;
- Use file formats and compression techniques that conform to existing cultural heritage standards;
- Store digital files in an appropriate environment, using system components that are non-proprietary and interoperable with other systems;
- Create backup copies of all files on the best devices or media possible and have an off-site backup strategy;
- Create meaningful metadata for all digital images and files;
- Document a migration strategy for transferring data across generations of technology;
- Plan for future technological developments.
- Monitor data as necessary