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Digitisation

Creating a digitisation plan

It’s a good idea to draw up a digitisation plan that sets out what you are going to digitise, why, and how. This plan will ensure consistency and provide a benchmark when planning future digitisation projects.

A digitisation plan includes the following:

Why you want to digitise

For example, it could be to preserve fragile documents, to share your collections online, or a combination of both.

Material

Think about which items you want to make available digitally. Estimate how many items will need to be digitised. This will help you calculate whether you have enough people, resources, money and storage space to complete the task. Focus on small collections, important pieces from larger collections, items that are likely to be in greatest demand, and material that is not already available elsewhere.

It’s worth noting that no major archive institution has ever managed to digitise more than 5% of their holdings, so don’t worry about making sure every item in a collection is digitised!

Resources

There are several types of resources to consider:

  • Skills: How much digitisation experience do your team members have? What training will they need?
  • Equipment: What do you currently have and what will you need? Take time to research and seek advice on the Norfolk Archives Network about what equipment is really necessary.
  • Budget: Digitisation can be expensive, due to the cost of the equipment needed both to carry out the digitisation and to store the digitised files. It is useful to create a budget and look for possible funding sources for further digitisation work.
  • Time: How much can you devote to digitisation? Are there any time constraints due to funding or project deadlines?
  • Training: Digitisation processes will change over time, because of improvements in technology and in how people want to access archives. Keep an eye out for workshops and tutorials so that your members stay up-to-date with the latest developments. The Digital Preservation Coalition is a good place to keep up to date with the latest developments and training opportunities.

Storage and management

Decide where you will store and backup the digital files. See Image capture and management for more information.

Digitisation survey:

Fill out this survey to let us know your thoughts on the digitisation guide.