B1. Coordination, Financial, Human Resource and Technological Considerations

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.

Technical Considerations:

  • 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