vendredi 29 août 2014

Important Considerations Before Archival Digitization

By Harriet Porter

Digitizing materials is informed by unique reasoning. Success in this process depends on how well you plan and the consultants you involve. Planning for archival digitization should bear in mind a number of factors. The idea is to preserve your records in digital format without destroying the original scripts. Each item should be given individualized attention depending on its condition.

Safety of original transcripts is key consideration to avoid damage during or at the end of the project. The current condition will determine the measures to be taken to guarantee safety. Old and dilapidated transcripts are prone to tear or disintegration when being digitized. Handling in a professional way ensures that the materials are safe for reference and to preserve their sentimental value.

A thorough evaluation of the risk is done with the aim of identifying alternatives that will give you better value. This will ensure that the materials are preserved. The alternative lies in a better working space or advanced scanning equipment. This will minimize physical handling and simplify your procedures.

It is important that you examine the skills of your contractor or personnel. The uniqueness of each project means that a specific approach will be adopted. A brief before commencing helps to build consensus and identify the best way forward. This will reduce the time taken to complete the project. It translates to less expenditure as well.

The condition of some materials may necessitate treatment before scanning. Special substances are used depending on their nature. Directions on the method of treatment and substances to use are given by your consultant. Treatment is meant to preserve the authentic look on the materials.

Considerations should be made for temporary support with the aim of reducing interference. The support comes in the form of temporary storage or handling by a conservator. This will reduce your budget and allow you to digitize the materials at your convenience. Conservators allow you to plan your work well and thus simplify the process as well as reduce the cost.

Digitizing should be scheduled to take place at the perfect time. Taking less time reduces cost and minimizes exposure to damage. Some conditions are likely to expose different materials to damage and therefore compromise your expectations.

The process is likely to be slowed down by certain issues if they are not adequately addressed. Folds and creases obscure some images, text or pictures and are likely to affect the quality of scanned images. Papers, photos and images that are cockled must be straightened before commencement.

Torn pages are bound to cause trouble if the tear exceeds quarter an inch. Bonding on some books may be loose causing malfunction at joints, boards and the spine. This is likely to affect the smoothness of workflow especially when placing them on scanners. Other books are bound in such a way that they cannot open further than 90 degrees. Such classification simplifies your work.

The preparations you make before beginning digitization determine the rate of success. You should consult with seasoned experts to ensure that you get the right personnel and equipment to successfully complete the work. The right people and tools reduce the time taken to complete the project which translates to less time. This will protect your materials from damage.

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