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Digitization and Archives  

Table of Contents  

Declaration of Principles Concerning the Relationship of Digitization to Preservation of Archival Records 
Decision Tree for Digitization Projects
Selective Bibliography
Case Studies
   
Preservation Committee
 
October 2002  

Declaration of Principles Concerning the Relationship of Digitization to Preservation of Archival Records

Digitization is the transformation of analog information (from whatever form and from whatever support) to digital code. 

The Preservation Committee of the Canadian Council of Archives supports the following principles as a guide to the development of digitization Programmes in archives.  

1. Digitization encourages preservation by limiting the handling of original records.  

2. Digitization is, above all, part of an access strategy.  

3. The process of digitization must not place original records at risk of damage from handling or use.  

4. The establishment of a digitization service must not violate the physical or intellectual rights (property rights, copyright or privacy) of persons.  

5. Digitization must strive to preserve to the greatest extent possible the authenticity and integrity of the original information. Digital enhancements may be performed on copies to improve access, but an "authentic" unaltered version (the original analog document or a digital version) must always be kept.  

6. The institution must define clear objectives (access, or a combination of access and preservation) before implementing a digitization program.  

7. Records should be chosen for digitization only after a careful selection process. They must meet project objectives, not present legal constraints, be capable of being digitized and match available resources.  

8. The technological approach to digitization must satisfy project objectives and must accommodate the characteristics of the records.  

9. Search tools are an essential part of a digitization project and must meet the needs of users.  

10. Since digital information is at risk of loss due to technological obsolescence (physical supports, logical formats, as well as software for searching and displaying the information), institutions embarking on a program for the long-term preservation of digital records must be aware of these dangers, the complexity of such a program, and the costs that are implied2.

11. Institutions must not neglect other activities when allocating resources for the establishment and maintenance of a digitization service.  

12. The impact of a digitization program on the institution's other public service activities (research room use, orders for copies, etc.) must be considered as a factor of informed decision-making.  

13. Realizing the costs and complexities inherent in the development of a digitization program, institutions should try to share resources (financial, material, human) and collaborate with others, where possible.    

Decision Tree for Digitization Projects   (diagram)

This decision tree is meant to assist archivists in identifying records for digitization projects by reviewing fundamental issues:  

. first, that project objectives are clear and lead to identifying and obtaining the technology and resources necessary to achieve project goals;  

. secondly, that the long-term costs of a digitization capacity must be maintained and supported by the institution and its parent organization.   

This document addresses the steps in a digitization project at a macro level. To resolve technical issues at a higher level of detail, the reader is provided with a list of references for further reading. The reader will note that this document describes the management of digitization by "project". The characteristics of records, the objectives possible and the means to reach them are so diverse that specific solutions are difficult to predict.  

Selective Bibliography  

To update and expand on this selective bibliography, the reader is advised to see the web site of the National Library of Australia and consult the section called PADI - Preserving Access to Digital Information, a "subject gateway to digital preservation resources". Other bibliographies organized by subject, and often with annotations, can be found on this site: National Library of Australia. Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI). Canberra: National Library of Australia. http://www.nla.gov.au/padi  

References to Internet resources were verified as of 30 January 2002.  

Archives nationales du Québec. Guide d'imagerie numérique. Québec: Archives nationales du Québec. 1998. http://www.anq.gouv.qc.ca/pdf/GUIDEIMAG.pdf 

Ayris, Paul. Guidance for selecting materials for digitization. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group and National Preservation Office. 1998. http://www.thames.rlg.org/preserv/joint/ayris.html 

Besser, Howard. "Digital Preservation of Moving Image Material? ". The Moving Image, Fall 2001. http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/~howard/Papers/amia-longevity.html 

Canada. Department of Canadian Heritage. "Standards and Guidelines for Digitization Projects for Canadian Culture Online Program". Ottawa. 2001. http://www.pch.gc.ca/ccop-pcce/pubs/ccop-pcceguide_e.pdf  

Chapman, Stephen, Paul Conway, and Anne R. Kenney. "Digital Imaging and Preservation Microfilm : The Future of the Hybrid Approach for the Preservation of Brittle Books". RLG DigiNews, vol. 3, n° 1. 1999. http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews3-1.html #feature1 

Columbia University. Selection Criteria for Digital Imaging Projects. New York: Columbia University Libraries. 1998. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/digital/criteria.html 

Dorr, Marianne, and Weber Hartmut. Digitization as a Means for Preservation? Amsterdam: European Commission on Preservation and Access. 1997. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/digpres/digpres.html 

Fleischauer, Carl. Digital Formats for Content Reproductions. Washington: Library of Congress. 1998. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/formats.html  

Gertz, Janet. "Is Digital Conversion Really Part of Preservation ?". Abbey Newsletter, vol. 23, n° 2. 1999.  
http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/abbey/an/an23/an23-2/an23-204.html 

Gubler, Martin, and Thomas Klöti. 1994. The colour microfilm as preliminary stage of digital maps. Copenhagen: Ligue des bibliothèques européennes de recherche. http://www.kb.nl/infolev/liber/articles/1kloeti.htm 

Hendley, Tony. Comparison of Methods & Costs of Digital Preservation. London: British Library Research and Innovation Center. 1998. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib/papers/tavistock/hendley/hendley.html 

Justrell, Börje. "The use of colour microfilm for preservation". Janus, n° 2. 1997.  

Kenney, Anne R. Guidelines vs. Guidance for Digital Imaging: The Opportunity Before Us. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group et National Preservation Office. 1998. http://www.thames.rlg.org/preserv/joint/kenney.html 

Kenney, Anne R., and Oya Y. Rieger. Moving Theory Into Practice. Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group. 2000.  

Klijn, Edwin and Yola de Lusenet. In the Picture : Preservation and Digitisation of European Photographic Collections. Amsterdam: European Commission on Preservation and Access. 2000. http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/publ/picture.pdf 

Lawrence, Gregory W, et al. Risk Management of Digital Information: A File Format Investigation. Washington: Council on library and Information Resources. 2000. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub93/pub93.pdf 

MacTavish, Sue. "DoD-NARA Scanned Images Standards Conference". RLG DigiNews, vol. 3, n° 2. 1999. http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews3-2.html 

Menne-Haritz, Angelica and Nils Brübach.The Intrinsic Value of Archive and Library Material. List of criteria for imaging and textual conversion for preservation. Marburg: Marburg Archive School. 1999.  
http://www.uni-marburg.de/archivschule/intrinsengl.html 

Murphy, William T. "The Preservation of News and Documentary Film". in (ed.). The Administration of Television Newsfilm and Videotape Collections: A Curatorial Manual. Edited by Davidson, Steven, and Gregory Lukow. Los Angeles and Miami: American Film Institute and Louis Wolfson II Media History Center. 1997.  

National Library of Australia. Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI). Canberra: National Library of Australia. http://www.nla.gov.au/padi 

Paton, Christopher Ann. "Preservation Re-Recordings of Audio Recordings in Archives: Problems, Priorities, Technologies, and Recommendations". The American Archivist, vol. 61, n° 1. 1998.  

Puglia, Steven, and Barry Roginski. NARA Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access. College Park: National Archives and Records Administration. 1998. http://www.nara.gov/nara/vision/eap/digguide.pdf 

Puglia, Steven. "The Costs of Digital Imaging Projects". RLG DigiNews, vol. 3, n° 5. 1999. http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews3-5.html 

Rothenberg, Jeff. Avoiding Technological Quicksand: Finding a Viable Technical Foundation for Digital Preservation. Washington: Council on Library and Information Resources. 1999. http://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub77.html 

Sitts, Maxine K, ed. Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access. Andover: Northeast Document Conservation Center. 2000. http://www.nedcc.org/digital/dighome.htm 

Smith, Abby. Why Digitize? . Washington: Council on Library and Information Resources, Commission on Preservation and Access. 1999. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub80-smith/pub80.html 

Society of American Archivists. The Preservation of Digitized Reproductions. Chicago: The Society of American Archivists. 1997.  
http://www.archivists.org/statements/ 

Case Studies 

The following references provide, or direct the reader to, case studies and examples of digitization projects:  

References to Internet resources were verified as of 30 January 2002.  

. Kenney, Anne R. and Oya Y. Rieger. Moving Theory Into Practice. Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group. 2000.  

. National Library of Australia. Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI). Canberra: National Library of Australia. http://www.nla.gov.au/padi 

. Sitts, Maxine K., ed. Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access. Andover: Northeast Document Conservation Center. 2000. http://www.nedcc.org/digital/dighome.htm 

1 Among the interesting examinations of the relationship between preservation and digitization in archives, see Conway in Sitts (2000), Dorr and Hartmut (1997), Gertz (1999), Kenney and Rieger (2000), Menne-Haritz and Brübach (1999), Smith (1999) and SAA (1997).  

2 It is essential to evaluate the recurring costs of a digitization program (the cost of converting digital formats every three to five years).  

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