q Digitization Progressing in American Libraries

Digital Conversion: an Ongoing Activity across Libraries in America

by | Published on Dec 23, 2015 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Digital ConversionInformation and communication technology has revolutionized the concept of libraries. Libraries across the United States and all around the world are performing document scanning and conversion of their precious collections with a view to preserve and enable easy access. Digitization implies the production of a digital surrogate for a physical object. Digital collections in a library consist of research and scholarly works, books and other valuable documents that reveal the past as well as books from the present generation, manuscripts and so on. Digitization is a form of preservation and conservation of recorded knowledge.

Increasing Demand for Next Generation Libraries

In the present age of networked society, information in digital form can be recorded, stored and distributed among a large number of people. The new generation demands well-developed and well-equipped libraries that are interconnected as digital libraries than traditional libraries. So libraries are changing to meet the new demands placed on them. For digitization the following are required:

  • Computer
  • Network
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Storage devices
  • Software

Hodges Library, University of Tennessee, Knoxville is currently in the process of converting all their documents and materials into digital format. They have a large amount of information in their archives, with some dating back to 1841 that are highly requested. The university archives hold published and unpublished works by students, faculty, departments, research centres and institutes inside the campus. They have also digitized newspapers that date back to the 1950s.

The Director of marketing and community relations at the Knox County Public Library, Mary Pom Claiborne said that they faced few challenges at the time of digitization.

  • Lack of specific search parameters such as date, event, year
  • Some documents were extremely fragile that needed to handled carefully and scanned without causing any damages to the documents

Currently, the library is digitizing the materials that are most heavily requested from the University archives so that maximum users can access the documents quickly and simultaneously.

Newspaper Digitization Emerging as an Important Requirement

Just like Hodges Library, Lamar University’s John and Mary Gray Library is also getting their collections digitized. They have digitized the university newspaper so that people can read it online. As Penny Clark, university archivist says, preservation and access were considered contradictory things because once you provide access to materials, you would destroy the material over time. However, with digitization, greater preservation and greater access are possible. Scholars as well as the public can enjoy easy access.

Primary sources of information such as newspapers provide readers with regional perspectives on emerging social and technological changes alongside stories about community events. Newspapers are important as records of a place or institution.

The library’s newspaper collection dates back to 1933. Clark said that before digitization, people seeking information would call the university archives and they had to manually flip through thousands of pages to find the required information. However, with digitization every bit of information is available to readers simply at the click of a button. The digitized newspapers are searchable and useful for research purposes. Many people use old school newspapers for genealogy.

Large Volume Digital Conversion with Document Scanning Services

The entire process of electronic conversion of library holdings is quite expensive, time consuming and requires the necessary equipment and professionals. For libraries and museums where there are large volumes of documents to be digitized, the best option is to seek the support of reliable document scanning and conversion services.

  • Providers with a good standing in the industry will have in place advanced scanning equipment as well as trained professionals to perform the scanning and document conversion.
  • They ensure that the documents are scanned quickly without causing any damage.
  • Fragile documents are handled with great care so that there is no concern of them getting damaged or destroyed.
  • The services are usually cost- effective as well.
  • The assigned project will be completed within the set deadline without any compromise in accuracy or quality.

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