A Guide to Digitization

When digitizing material, it’s important to aim to recreate the in-person experience as closely as possible. Because of time, money, and space constraints, this can be virtually impossible to achieve, but nonetheless, every attempt should be made. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when beginning a digitization project:

  • If possible, put forth representations in various mediums. If a photo is worth a thousand words, how much more valuable is a video, especially one with audio? Digitized photographs might make more sense for documents and photos, video and audio might be better suited for objects that have more dimensions.
  • Be transparent about the digitization process. Provide users with information as to how an object or document was captured, uploaded, and edited. Do not assume that the user doesn’t care or won’t understand the digitization process. Err on the side of caution and provide as much information as feasible. Users deserve to know how the representation they are consulting has been edited or modified, since it will impact their research and work.
  • What elements about the material are lost through the digitization process? Communicate this information to users when possible. While it may not be possible for a user to hold an item, provide information about the item’s weight and texture.


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