Week 8 Prompt | NINCH: Selecting Materials for Digitization

I hope you found the readings surrounding project planning and selecting materials for digitization applicable to your own lives (professionally, personally, or both!)  Stevie, my discussion counterpart for this week, posted an excellent summary outlining and vetting NINCH’s take on project planning.  I will be focusing on the process of selecting materials for digitization as a complementary aspect of project management/planning.

If you consider the project plan to be the blueprint for running your project, selecting materials for digitization and determining how to best preserve them represent the support-structure; the details you need to get firmly in-place from the get-go that will help provide both an accurate workflow and accurate sense of costs.  If you don’t consider the selection of materials in your “blueprint”, it will be ineffective and your project will likely crumble.  Chapter 2 of the NINCH Guide outlines some key questions to consider when determining the types of materials to select for digitization:

  • What are the aims of the digitization project or program and how can these guide selection, in cases where limited resources prevent you from digitizing the whole collection?
  • How do these issues apply to material created in digital form?
  • Who will be using these resources?
  • What are their needs?
  • Do the collections you selected for digitization need special handling?
  • What are their characteristics and how do these affect the digitization process?

In addition to outlining key questions, NINCH also includes an example of a completed set of guidelines for selection of materials for digitization (Harvard University’s “Selection for Digitization: a Decision-Making Matrix” – also found on page 38 of the NINCH Guide).  This is a very helpful visual example for outlining/documenting the process for determining whether to digitize or not.  Below are additional links to organizations’ selection criteria for digitization that I found informative (albeit not as visual.)  

Questions to Consider (feel free to add your own thoughts as well!)

  • Have you been involved in creating (or following) a selection plan for digitization?  Who was involved in creating the guidelines, and what were the key points in the plan?  Did you experience any failures?
  • For those people not in an academic library/cultural institution – do you see merit / a way in applying the process for creating/implementing selection criteria in your work?
  • Based on both Harvard’s guide and the examples of organizations’ selection criteria linked above, do you think there is an “ideal” set of criteria?  How might this vary by organization type?
  • As the chapter title indicates, creating selection criteria for materials is an iterative process.  What types of changes within your organization, with technology, etc. would you expect to have an impact on the materials selection process?

🙂 Just for fun:  Here is the link to the British Library’s Online Gallery of Sacred Texts http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/ttpbooks.html.  Based on the examples and criteria’s outlined in the NINCH Guide to Good Practices, I’d argue that this is a prime example of resources meeting selection criteria for digitization.  Please feel free to share any other examples you may have come across that represent good (or not so good) cases for digitization!


3 responses to “Week 8 Prompt | NINCH: Selecting Materials for Digitization

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