Intro- digital imagesContentsSelection- introConversion-introQuality Control-definitionMetadata-definitionTechnical-concernsPresentationDigital PreservationManagementContinuing Education

6D. Technical Infrastructure:

Key Concepts

  image quality




Compatibility may still be a problem at some institutions. Although the Internet's communications protocol TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) has become ubiquitous, legacy protocols are still in use at some institutions. Check with network administrators to be sure your plans are compatible with the existing network.

Reliability is another concern. Network outages reduce productivity and frustrate users. Although the reliability of network hardware has improved in recent years, failures still occur. Some older networks have "grown like topsy" and are a patchwork of different technologies, cabling, and hardware. Fragmented responsibility for network administration also undermines reliability.

Internet Security is an escalating concern (see, for example, CERT statistics, for a summary of the trends). Image servers are subject to security breaches, potentially jeopardizing access by legitimate users or leaving data vulnerable to malicious deletion or modification. System and network administrators may propose remedies such as firewalls, special monitoring software, or requiring authentication of all users. Some security measures can be onerous, either because they require specially skilled personnel to maintain or because they restrict access to your materials more than you would like. Institutional policy may constrain what choices you have, but become familiar with the options.

Expense may or may not be a significant issue. At some institutions, you will simply plug your equipment into existing networks and be on your way. But if your undertaking requires a major network upgrade or a new type of connection to the Internet, expense can be substantial. Testing is key, and it may be necessary to scale back your plans to something that the existing infrastructure accommodates.

© 2000-2003 Cornell University Library/Research Department

Technical - networksTechnical - speed

View this page in Spanish
View this page in French