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Digitisation Guidelines: a selected list

Selection criteria

The list is not exhaustive but wants to be selective. The list is limited to guidelines for digitization of paper based on documentary heritage, that is manuscripts, printed books and photographs of libraries, archives and museums, not for digitization of multimedia materials. Toolbox and tutorial have been included too, considering these learning resources as valuable as guidelines

The selected Guidelines have been produced by public and private institutions: some are for guiding the digitization projects, others are related to digitization programs where the Guidelines want to reach the strategy and mission of single institutions: the criteria followed for inclusion was that of general interest for professionals worldwide.

The list of digitization guidelines is a work in progress, to be updated constantly. The data chosen for description are: Author, Contributor (if existing), Title, Description, Date, Format and URL. The presentation is in alphabetical order by author. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

  • AHDS (Arts and Humanities Data Service)
    • Guide to Good practice in the Creation and Use of Digital Resources
      Available formats: HTML
      Guidelines for: Archaeology, History, Performing Arts, Textual Studies, Visual Arts. Each of these Guides includes tips for discovering and re-using digital data, information about creating and managing new digital data, and guidance to ensure proper preparation and documentation of this data for long term archiving

    • Managing Digital Collections
      Available formats: HTML
      This guide gives a framework of strategies and standards for developing, managing, and distributing high-quality digital collections.

  • British Library
    • Objectives of Digitization
      Available formats: HTML

      The policy covers all materials originally produced in non-digital form (e.g. printed matter of all kinds, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, paintings, sound recordings, microforms), the digitization of which would fulfil one or more of the desired objectives. It includes objectives, scope, context and BL examples.

    • Preservation and digitization: principles, practices and policies
      Available formats: HTML; PDF; print publication

      Realised by NPO (National Preservation Office), this is a series of guidelines whose aim is to provide an independent focus for ensuring the preservation and continued accessibility of library and archive material. Free and paid material is offered.

  • CHIN (Canadian Heritage Information Network)
    • Creating and managing digital content (April 2002)
      Available formats: HTML
      _Content/ Capture_Collections/index.html

      Series of Guidelines for creating and maintaining a digitization project. The titles include:
      • Capture your collections,
      • Web site development,
      • Web site development resources,
      • Intellectual Property,
      • Collection Management,
      • Standards.

    • Producing Online Heritage Projects (August 2002)
      Available formats: HTML
      _Content/ Producing_Heritage/index.html

      This handbook is for heritage professionals who are developing online content, and helps them to achieve the benefits available from Web-based education and promotion. It focuses on skills needed for the creation, management and presentation of digital content. The index includes:
      • Project planning,
      • Project development,
      • Getting ready to launch,
      • Product maintenance
      Annexes: Glossary, Bibliography, Project manager's tools and templates.

    • Program Guidelines (April 2002)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF

      Virtual Museums of Canada Investment Program. It includes:
      • Operating principles;
      • Performance indicators;
      • Governance structures;
      • Content policy;
      • Skills development.
      Annexes: Guidelines for calculating cost/values.

    • Capture your collections. Planning and implementing digitization projects (April 2002)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF
      _Content/ Managers_Guide/index.html

      Modules and sections of a on line course on digitization. It includes:
      • Project planning;
      • Legal Issues related to Digitization;
      • Determining the costs of a Digitization Project;
      • Standards and Guidelines to Consider;
      • Implementation;
      • Maintenance/Management;

  • CLIR (Council on Libraries and Information Resources)
    • Abby Smith. Building and sustaining digital collections: models for libraries and archives (August 2001)
      Available formats: HTML; print publication

      This guide brings together libraries, museums and academic communities. The focus is on scholarly publishing, with presentations of business models. This is an agenda for:
      • develop sound selection criteria;
      • identify online audience;
      • manage intellectual property rights;
      • develop and share best practices for technological issues;
      • implement cost recovery strategy;
      • manage the institutional transformation.

  • Colorado Digitization Project
    • Digital Toolbox (2002-2003)
      Available formats: HTML

      The purpose of this toolbox is to introduce cultural heritage institutions to the range of issues associated with digitization of primary source materials. Provides links to general resources, bibliographies, initiatives, and clearinghouses on selection, scanning, quality control, metadata creation, and other project management issues. Also offers a glossary of digital imaging terms.

  • Cornell University Library
    • Moving theory into practice: Digital imaging tutorial (2002-2003)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF

      This tutorial, produced also in Spanish and French, includes:
      • Basic terminology,
      • Selection,
      • Conversion,
      • Quality control,
      • Metadata,
      • Technical Infrastructure,
        • Digitization chain
        • Image creation
        • File Management
        • Delivery
      • Presentation,
      • Digital Preservation,
      • Management,
      • Continuing Education.

  • CUL (Columbia University Libraries)
    • Annr R. Kenney - Stephen Chapman. Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives
      Available formats: HTML; print publication

      The volume begins with a theoretical overview of the key concepts, vocabulary, and challenges associated with digital conversion of paper-and film-based materials. This is followed by an overview of the hardware/software, communications, and managerial considerations associated with implementing a technical infrastructure to support a full imaging program. Additional chapters present information on the creation of databases and indexes, the implications of outsourcing imaging services, converting photographs and film intermediates, issues associated with providing long-term access to digital information, and suggestions for continuing education.

    • Selection Criteria for Digital Imaging Projects (January 2001)
      Available formats: HTML

      The criteria listed are important to assure that issues of technical feasibility, intellectual property rights, and institutional support are considered along with the value of the materials and the interest of their content.

    • Technical Recommendations for Digital Imaging Projects (1997)
      Available formats: HTML

      Prepared by the Image Quality Working Group of ArchivesCom, a joint Libraries/AcIS committee. This document provides recommendations for image quality, file formats, and other capture and storage issues when converting paper, photographic and other physical materials into digital form.

    • Guidelines for Providing Access to Digital Images (2001)
      Available formats: HTML

      Access to digital images should be provided in the most open level, consistent with the protection of intellectual property rights, and compliant with the local policies on the exercise of such rights

  • DLF (Digital Library Federation)
    • Digital library standards and practices (October 2002. Last revision)
      Available formats: HTML
      The DLF documents and promotes adoption of standards and best practices that support the effective acquisition, interchange, persistence, and assessment of digital library collections and services.

    • Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging (July 2000)
      Available formats: HTML
      This guide includes:
      • Introduction
      • Planning an Imaging Project, by Linda Serenson Colet
      • Selecting a Scanner, by Don Williams
      • Imaging Systems: the Range of Factors Affecting Image Quality, by Donald D'Amato
      • Measuring Quality of Digital Masters, by Franziska Frey
      • File Formats for Digital Masters, by Franziska Frey

  • DLM Forum
    • Guidelines on Best Practices for Using Electronic Information: How to Deal with Machine Readable Data and Electronic Documents (1996 first edition; 1997, updated and enlarged edition)
      Available formats: HTML

      The DLM Forum, organised jointly by the Member States of the European Union and the European Commission in Brussels in December 1996, brought together experts from industry, research, administration and archives to discuss a topic of ever increasing importance: the memory of the information society. The Guidelines include:
      • from data to structured electronic information;
      • information life cycle and allocation of responsibilities;
      • design, creation and maintenance of electronic information;
      • short and long term preservation of electronic information;
      • accessing and disseminating information.
      Annexes: Terminology, Checklist for electronic information strategy, How to select metadata, Standards.

  • eLib
    • Preservation Studies (Supporting Studies) (1998-2000)

      Managed by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre, the series Preservation Studies offer several reports on creating and preserving digital image collections. One of the goals is to compare various digital preservation strategies for different data types and formats. Studies included are:
      • John Bennett. A framework of Data Types and Formats, and Issues affecting the long term preservation of digital material
        Available formats: HTML; PDF
      • Monika Blake - David Haynes - Tanya Jowett - David Streatfield. Responsibility for Digital Archiving and Long Term Access to Digital Data
        Available formats: HTML; PDF
      • Seamus Ross - Ann Gow. Digital Archaeology: Rescuing Neglected and Damaged Data Resources
        Available formats: Executive summary: PDF; Full Study: PDF (Mounted 15 November 1999)
      • Alan Poulter. Preservation of digital materials; policy and strategy issues for the UK
        Available formats: HTML
      • Denise Lievesley - Simon Jones. An Investigation into the Digital Preservation needs of Universities and Research Funders
        Available formats: HTML (mounted 11 November 1998)
      • Neil Beagrie - Dan Greenstein. A Strategic Policy Framework for Creating and Preserving Digital Collections
        Available formats: HTML; PDF; RTF
      • Tony Hendley. Comparison of methods of digital preservation
        Available formats: PDF; HTML; RTF

  • The Getty Trust
    • Learn About the Getty Vocabularies
      Available formats: HTML

      They contain terms, names, and other information about people, places, things, and concepts relating to art, architecture, and material culture

    • Murtha Baca. Introduction to Metadata: pathways to digital information (May 2000)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF; print publication

      Version 2 of the guide, which rather than including a single crosswalk as in the previous version, is now offering a "suite" of metadata crosswalks that map different sets of metadata. The author will continue to add to and revise this section as developments arise in the development of metadata schemas that are still evolving (e.g. Dublin Core Qualified, VRA Core 3.0).

  • HATII (Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute) and NINCH (National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage)
    • The NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation & Management of Cultural Heritage Materials (October 2002 - Version 1.0 First edition)
      Available formats: HTML

      The Guide describes the process of creating and distributing digital collections and looks at mechanisms by which the institution that created or holds digital collections can manage them to maximum advantage. It includes:
      • Project planning
      • Selecting materials
      • Rights management
      • Digitization and encoding of text
      • Capture and management of images
      • Audio/Video Capture and Management
      • Quality Control and Assurance
      • Working with others
      • Distribution
      • Assessment of Projects by User evaluation
      • Digital Asset Management
      • Preservation
      In Appendixes: Equipment, Metadata, Digital Data Capture: Sampling

  • Harvard University Library
    • Selection for digitization: a decision making matrix (December 1997)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF

      A decision making matrix, produced as imagine, for guiding professionals in the selection. It is included in the Harvard program: Library preservation resources principles and guides.

  • IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services)
    • A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections (November 2001)
      Available formats: HTML

      Indicators are listed for Digital objects, Metadata, Collections and Projects, within the context of networked services. Report of the IMLS Digital Library Forum on the National Science Digital Library Program
      Reference in: Priscilla Caplan et al. (2001):

  • Library of Congress
    • Digital strategy for the Library of Congress (2000)
      Available formats: HTML; print publication; e-book
      LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress discusses challenges and provides recommendations for moving forward at the Library of Congress. Topics covered include:
      • Digital collections,
      • Digital preservation,
      • Digital cataloging (metadata),
      • Strategic planning,
      • Human resources,
      • General management,
      • Budgetary issues

    • Challenges to Building an Effective Digital Library
      Available formats: HTML

      The staff of the NDLP (National Digital Library Program) at the Library of Congress have identified ten challenges that must be met if large and effective digital libraries are to be created during the 21st century. The challenges are grouped under the following broad categories:
      • Building the resource,
      • Interoperability,
      • Intellectual property,
      • Providing effective access,
      • Sustaining the resource.

    • Technical Notes by Type of Material
      Available formats: HTML

      The notes provide general comments on digital reproductions of textual materials for American Memory, including:
      • Searchable text
      • Textual material available for use in DLI-Phase II
      • Challenges faced by NDLP (National Digital Library Program)

    • Background Papers and Technical Information
      Available formats: HTML
      These versions represent the final document of NDL Requests for Proposals for scanning and text conversion services . Contracts have been awarded for the work described in the Requests for Proposals.

    • Manuscript Digitization Demonstration Project. Final Report (October 1998)
      Available formats: HTML
      The Manuscript Digitization Demonstration Project was sponsored by the Library of Congress Preservation Directorate and was carried out in cooperation with the NDLP from 1994 to 1997. The questions framed are:
      • What type of image is best suited for the digitization of large manuscript collections, especially collections consisting mostly of twentieth century typescripts?
      • What level of quality strikes the best balance between production economics and the requirements set by future uses of the images?
      • Will the same type of image that offers high quality reformatting also provide efficient online access for researchers?

    • Lessons Learned: National Digital Library Competition (January 2001)
      Available formats: HTML

      LC/Ameritech award winners are learning many lessons about digitization projects in the implementation of their award. To help award-winners, digital project managers, and others interested in this emerging field, the competition staff has summarized, extracted, and paraphrased points from some of the interim reports submitted by awardees. These include:
      • Formats and specifications for digital reproductions,
      • Production workflow and project Management,
      • Intellectual access.

    • Conservation Implications of Digitization Projects
      Available formats: HTML

      This paper was written by a group of Library of Congress conservators who have worked closely with NDLP digitization projects and NDLP project leaders since the beginning of the program in 1995. The multi-faceted and precedent setting role which conservation plays in digital image conversion projects in the NDLP in the areas of consultation, training, and treatment for scanning is discussed.

  • NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)
    • Steven Puglia. Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access (January 1998)
      Available formats: PDF

      These guidelines have been realised to provide a method for evaluating quality of images produced, to estimate the data storage for access files (on line) and master files (off line), and to assist in determining upgrades of NARA infrastructure. Differences in document type dictate differences in approach to scanning; specifications are given for: textual documents, photographs, maps, plans and oversized records, graphic records.

  • National Library of Australia
    • Digitization of traditional format library materials. Standards and Guidelines
      Available formats: HTML
      These guidelines, created for National Library staff , provide advice on digitization projects.
      They focus on creating digital images and displaying them on the Web, including metadata and preservation issues

    • Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI)
      Available formats: HTML
      The PADI site, offers a subject gateway to digital preservation resources. Includes current information on digital preservation-related events, organizations, policies, strategies, and guidelines. Also includes glossaries of terms that are relevant to digital information.

  • NEDCC (Northeast Document Conservation Center)
    • Maxine Sitts. Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access (December 2000)
      Available formats: PDF; print publication
      Web resource providing information on the issues surrounding the digital conversion of collection materials. With contributions from many of the School for Scanning series presenters, it provides information on project selection and management, technical and copyright considerations, digital longevity and includes commentary on the transformation in scholarly access and preservation tenets required to fully utilize and maintain digital images. Given at NEDCC's school for scanning conferences, Andover, MA. It includes:
      • Rationale for digitization and preservation,
      • Considerations for project management,
      • Selection of materials for scanning,
      • Overview of copyright issues,
      • Technical primer,
      • Developing best practices: guidelines from case studies,
      • Vendor relations,
      • Digital longevity,
      • Scholar commentary.

  • NINCH (National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage)
    see HATII

  • Nordinfo. NDLC

  • NSDL/SMETE (Science Mathematics Engineering and Technology Education)
    • NSDL Metadata primer (Last revision January 2003)
      Available formats: HTML

      The National SMET (Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education) Digital Library (NSDL) is being constructed to support excellence in SMET for all Americans. NSDL is a comprehensive information system built as a distributed network and will develop and make accessible high quality collections. Reference: C. Manduca, F. McMartin, D. Mogk, Pathways to progress: vision and plans for developing the NSDL (2001):
      http://doclib.comm.nsdlib.org/PathwaysToProgress.pdf this primer is intended to serve NSDL partners and collaborators as they work with NSDL staff to make their metadata available through the NSDL Metadata Repository. Its primary clientele are those NSDL-funded projects which are at the beginning stages of awareness and use of metadata, but there are also sections that will be useful to others.

    • NSDL Building collections (October 2002)
      Available formats: HTML
      Checklist, tools and examples are provided for those wanting to contribute to build NSDL collection, but it is useful also to others.

  • RLG (Research Libraries Group)
    • RLG Guidelines for Microfilming to Support Digitization (February 2003)
      Available formats: HTML
      Offers supporting materials to institutions in their efforts to preserve and improve access to endangered research materials.

    • RLG Tools for Digital Imaging (May 2002)
      Available formats: HTML
      The tools include worksheets and guidelines for creating digital imaging services. The following documents are available:
      • The RLG Worksheet for Estimating Digital Reformatting Costs
      • The RLG Guidelines for Creating a Request for Proposal for Digital Imaging Services
      • The RLG Model Request for Information (RFI)
      • The RLG Model Request for Proposals (RFP)
      Reference: Papers given at the RLG and NPO Preservation Conference
      Guidelines for Digital Imaging (1998): http://www.rlg.org/preserv/joint/

    • RLG Preserving digital information (August 2002)
      Available formats: HTML; PDF
      The Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) and RLG formed the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information, charged with investigating and recommending means to ensure "continued access indefinitely into the future of records stored in digital electronic form". The report is an outcomes of the Task Force

    • Anne R. Kenny - Oya Y. Rieger. RLG Moving theory into practice (May 2001)
      Available formats: HTML; print publication
      The book advocates an integrated approach to digital imaging programs, from selection to access to preservation, with a heavy emphasis on the intersection of institutional, cultural objectives and practical digital applications.

  • TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Images)
    • Managing Digitization Projects (2002)
      Available formats: HTML; printed pack

      Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (UK), provides information on creating, storing, and delivering digital image collections. The course includes:
      • Deciding to digitise,
      • Managing the workflow,
      • Managing the project,
      • Looking after copyright, IPR, ethics and data protection,
      • Project Management,
      • Workflow guidelines,
      • Why "Archive Standard"?,
      • Copyright,
      • Coping with copyright,
      • Quick reference copyright guide,
      • Example Licence agreement,
      • JIDI digitization model,
      • Lessons learned from the JIDI project,
      • Risk Assessment,
      • Staff Training.
      Also lists events and information resources of interest to those involved in digital imaging initiatives.

  • TEI (Text Encoding Initiative)
    • C.M. Sperberg-Mc Queen - Lou Bernard. Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and
      (March 2002 - P4 Edition)
      Available formats: XML
      A new and corrected version of the TEI Guidelines, XML-compatible, edited by theTEI Consortium (The Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH); The Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL); The Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC). The Guidelines provide means of representing those features of a text which need to be identified explicitly, in order to facilitate processing of the text by computer programs. In particular, they specify a set of markers (or tags) which may be inserted in the electronic representation of the text, in order
      to mark the text structure and other textual features of interest.

    • Guidelines for digitization projects for collection and holdings in the public domain, particularly those held by libraries and archives (March 2002)
      Available formats: PDF

      Guidelines for digitalisation projects including planning and setting up projects, selection, management and production processes. They deal with paper material, manuscripts, printed books and photograps. They are not concerned with digitization programs as an integral part of an institution strategy. They include checklists for each chapter.

  • University of California Los Angeles UCLA
    • Kim Thompson. Digital projects Guidelines and Standard (1998)
      Available formats: HTML

      The list of criteria is recommended to guide collection development librarians and preservation librarians in selecting collections of analog materials (including paper, film, audio, and video) for conversion to digital format. Some of the criteria are based on conventional selection and preservation considerations common to all formats; others arise from the opportunities and constraints unique to digital technologies.

  • University of Virginia Library. Electronic Text Center
    • Archival Digital Image Creation (1996-1997)
      Available formats: HTML

      Basic Helpsheets for helping to making decisions. They include:
      • Text Scanning: A Basic Helpsheet,
      • Image Scanning: A Basic Helpsheet ,
      • The Special Collections Department.


Text edited by Anna Maria Tammaro (University of Parma), in co-operation with Gabriele Lunati (Ifnet), May 2003

Copyright Minerva Project 2003-06, last revision 2004-04-20, edited by Minerva Editorial Board.
URL: www.minervaeurope.org/guidelines.htm
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