The following issues should also be considered in choosing materials for
digital conversion. Under each category, pose and answer a range of questions
such as the ones suggested in order to highlight their effect on selection.
Does the material lend itself to digitization? Can the informational content
be adequately captured in digital form? Do the physical formats and condition
of the material represent major impediments? Are intermediates, such as
microfilm or slides, available and in good condition? How large and complex
in terms of document variety is the collection? (See Conversion)
Would the material be put at risk in the digitization process? Would digital
surrogates reduce use of the originals, thereby offering them protection
from handling? Is the digital reproduction seen as a means to replace
Is the material in a coherent, logically structured order? Is it paginated
or is the arrangement suggested by some other means? Is it complete? Is
there adequate descriptive, navigational, or structural information about
the material, such as bibliographic records or a detailed finding aid?
(see also Metadata)
What kinds, level, and frequency of use are envisioned? Is there a clear
understanding of user requirements? Can digitization support these uses?
Will access to the material be significantly enhanced by digitization?
Can your institution support a range of uses, e.g., printing, browsing,
detailed review? Are there issues around security or access that must
be taken into account (e.g., access restricted to certain people or use
under certain conditions?)
Is there added incentive to digitize material based on the availability
of complementary digital resources (including data and metadata?) Is there
an opportunity for multi-institutional cooperation? For building thematic
coherence or "critical mass?"
Has the material already been digitized by another trusted source? If
so, do the digital files possess sufficient quality, documentation, and
functionality to serve your purposes? What conditions govern access and
use of those files?
Does your institution have the requisite technical infrastructure to manage,
deliver, and maintain digitized materials? Do your principal users have
adequate computing and connectivity to make effective use of these materials?
See Technical Infrastructure
for specific information on technical components to consider in such an
Can you determine the total cost of image acquisition (selection, preparation,
capture, indexing, and quality control)? Is this cost justified based
on real or perceived benefits accruing from digitization? Are there funds
to support this effort? Is there institutional commitment to the on-going
management and preservation of these files? See Digital
Preservation and Management
sections for more information.