Solutions for the Library and Archive Sector
With the new century, the digital age opens a totally new perspective. The web or Internet is the place (new world) for research, teaching, expression, publication and communication of information. Libraries and archives are the new primary information suppliers for society and users of this new digital technology started to relate through cataloging and process management, to later provide information about their collections to the web community. In addition to preserving and providing access to “digitally born material,” a large number of archives and libraries have now also started the creation of digital copies of their existing resources.
For libraries and archives, guidelines have been drafted that help create a project in the digitalization and management of virtual libraries.
The guidelines for undertaking digitization projects of public domain collections and funds, in particular for those collections kept in libraries and archives, deal with documentary heritage on paper, manuscripts, printed books and photographs, and not sound records or films, objects or monuments. They refer to the planning and establishment of projects, that is, the selection, management and production processes involved in these projects in well-defined, independently financed activities that are normally carried out in the short term, and not to programs that form part of the mission or strategy of an institution.
GUIDELINES FOR DIGITIZATION PROJECTS
Why use guidelines?
Many libraries and archives would like to plan digitization projects but lack the necessary experience.
A practical guide is needed as a working tool for the planning of digitization projects.
This need is particularly important in developing countries.
These guidelines are framed within the UNESCO strategy of knowledge for all. They also have a close relationship with the “Memory of the World” a UNESCO Program whose objective is the safeguarding of the international documentary heritage, the democratic access to this heritage, the growing knowledge of its meaning and the need to preserve it.
These guidelines are aimed at decision-makers, library and archives managers, curators and technical staff, particularly those from institutions in developing countries.
The reason for the implementation of a digitization project, is the digital conversion of physical documents, which are usually varied and, in many cases, very old and therefore very delicate books. The decision to digitize can be made in order to:
Increase access: This is the main and most obvious reason, when it is known that there is a high demand from users and the library or file wants to improve access to a certain collection.
Improve services or a growing group of users by providing higher quality access to the resources of the institution in relation to education and continuous education.
Reduce the handling and use of fragile or intensively used original materials and create a “backup” for deteriorated material such as books or brittle documents.
Offer the institution opportunities for the development of its technical infrastructure and for the technical training of its personnel.
Promote the development of cooperative resources, sharing common interests with other institutions to create virtual collections and increase access at the international level.
Look for common interests with other institutions to monetize the economic benefits of a shared approach.
Digitization does not mean the same as preservation: digitization is not cheaper, safer, or more reliable than microfilming. The only way in which digital conversion contributes positively to preservation is when the digital copy reduces the wear and tear of the original, or when the files are written as output to microfilm, which meets the standards of preservation of quality and durability. Therefore, a digitization project does not replace a preservation program based on conversion to microfilm (or deacidification, conservation treatment or improvement of storage conditions).
In general, all this is true. But there may be specific circumstances, for example in developing countries, which can change the basis of this approach. This shift from microfilming as a generally recommended method of preservation to that of digitization with its long-term risks is perhaps not the ideal solution to the problem of paper decomposition in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but it can serve as a practical way to provide protection for certain documents.
Digital technologies offer a new paradigm of preservation. They offer the opportunity to preserve the original by providing access to the digital copy; to separate the information content from the degradation of the physical support. In addition, digital technologies release the management of the preservation of the limitations of the precarious environmental storage conditions typical of tropical and subtropical climates in which many developing countries are located.
At BUSERDI, we offer solutions to public and private libraries, using international standards and recommendations.
We have orbital scanners that allow us to digitize all types of files, in any format: records, scrolls, ancient books, maps, posters, land registry, postcards, etc.
These scanning solutions offer high productivity and superior image quality, from 300 to 1200 dpi, making it easy to zoom in on the image and reprint the file documents.
- It ensures the preservation of original documents thanks to a digital alternative available for consultation (digital library).
- Access a document instantly and simultaneously from several places.
- Digitization offers an improved reading thanks to the e-query. In fact, unlike the original documents, in the digital version, you can zoom in on the page, get more details, make comparisons between several documents at once.
- It allows to disseminate documents thanks to digital libraries or networks.
At BUSERDI we guarantee that digitizing documents will help protect the originals, some incunabula in shelter and these can be consulted with just a couple of clicks.