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DigitizationTech Target. (2011, April). Definition: digitization. ''WhatIs.com''. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/digitization is the process of converting information into a
digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electr ...
(i.e. computer-readable) format.Collins Dictionary. (n.d.). Definition of 'digitize'. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/digitize The result is the representation of an object,
image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (daytime vision), color vision, sco ...

image
,
sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...

sound
,
document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, content. The word originates from the Latin ''Documentum'', whic ...

document
or
signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audio signal processing, sound, image processing, images, and scientific measurements. Sig ...
(usually an
analog signal An analog signal is any continuous signal In mathematical dynamics, discrete time and continuous time are two alternative frameworks within which to model variables that evolve over time. Discrete time Discrete time views values of vari ...

analog signal
) obtained by generating a series of numbers that describe a discrete set of points or
samples Sample or samples may refer to: Base meaning * Sample (statistics), a subset of a population - Complete data set * Sample (signal), a digital discrete sample of a continuous analog signal * Sample (material), a specimen or small quantity of somet ...
. The result is called ''
digital Digital usually refers to something using discrete digits, often binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electr ...
representation Representation may refer to: Law and politics *Representation (politics) Political representation is the activity of making citizens "present" in public policy making processes when political actors act in the best interest of citizens. This def ...
'' or, more specifically, a ''
digital image A digital image is an image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment (biophysical), environment through photopic vision (day ...
'', for the object, and ''digital form'', for the signal. In modern practice, the digitized data is in the form of
binary numbers In mathematics and digital electronics, a binary number is a number expressed in the base-2 numeral system or binary numeral system, which uses only two symbols: typically "0" (zero) and "1" (one). The base-2 numeral system is a positional notati ...
, which facilitates processing by
digital computers A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out Sequence, sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These programs enabl ...
and other operations, but, digitizing simply means the conversion of analog source material into a numerical format; the
decimal The decimal numeral system A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is t ...
or any other
number system A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduc ...
can be used instead. Digitization is of crucial importance to data processing, storage and transmission, because it "allows information of all kinds in all formats to be carried with the same efficiency and also intermingled". Though analog data is typically more stable, digital data, has the potential to be more easily shared and accessed and, in theory, can be propagated indefinitely, without generation loss, provided it is migrated to new, stable formats as needed.Brown, A. (2013). ''Practical digital preservation: A how-to guide for organizations of any size''. Neal Schuman. This potential has led to institutional digitization projects designed to improve access and the rapid growth of the digital preservation field.Daigle, B. J. (2012). The digital transformation of special collections. ''Journal of Library Administration, 52''(3-4), 244-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2012.684504 Sometimes digitization and digital preservation are mistaken for the same thing, however they are different, but digitization is often a vital first step in digital preservation.Snawder, K. (2011, July 15). Digitization is different than digital preservation: help prevent digital orphans! ''The Signal''. https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2011/07/digitization-is-different-than-digital-preservation-help-prevent-digital-orphans/ Libraries, archives, museums and other memory institutions digitize items to preserve fragile materials and create more access points for patrons.Riley-Reid, T.D. (2015, July 6). The hidden cost of digitization: Things to consider. ''Collection Building. 34''(3), 89-93. DOI 10.1108/CB-01-2015-0001 Doing this creates challenges for information professionals and solutions can be as varied as the institutions that implement them.Potgieter, A. & Mabe, K. (2018). The future of accessing our past: Collaboration and digitization in libraries, archives and museums. ''Proceedings of business and management conferences. 6809039.'' https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=3phltK0AAAAJ&citation_for_view=3phltK0AAAAJ:d1gkVwhDpl0C Some analog materials, such as audio and video tapes, are nearing the end of their life-cycle and it is important to digitize them before equipment obsolescence and media deterioration makes the data irretrievable. There are challenges and implications surrounding digitization including time, cost, cultural history concerns and creating an equitable platform for historically marginalized voices.Hughes-Watkins, L. (2018). Moving toward a reparative archive: A roadmap for a holistic approach to disrupting homogenous histories in academic repositories and creating inclusive spaces for marginalized voices. ''Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 5,''article 6. https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol5/iss1/6 Many digitizing institutions develop their own solutions to these challenges.Riley-Reid, T.D. (2015, July 6). The hidden cost of digitization: Things to consider. ''Collection Building. 34''(3), 89-93. DOI 10.1108/CB-01-2015-0001 Mass digitization projects have had mixed results over the years, but some institutions have had success even if not in the traditional Google Books model.Verheusen, A. (2008). Mass digitization by libraries: Issues concerning organisation, quality and efficiency. ''Liber Quarterly'', 18(1), 28-38. Technological changes can happen often and quickly, so digitization standards are difficult to keep updated. Professionals in the field can attend conferences and join organizations and working groups to keep their knowledge current and add to the conversation.Northeast Document Conservation Center. (n.d.). ''Session 7: Reformatting and digitization''. Preservation 101. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.nedcc.org/preservation101/session-7/7digitization


Process

The term digitization is often used when diverse forms of information, such as an object, text, sound, image or voice, are converted into a single
binary code A binary code represents text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory), any object that can be read, including: **Religious text, a writing that a religious tradition considers to be sacred **Text, a verse or passage from script ...

binary code
. The core of the process is the compromise between the capturing device and the player device so that the rendered result represents the original source with the most possible fidelity, and the advantage of digitization is the speed and accuracy in which this form of information can be transmitted with no degradation compared with analog information. Digital information exists as one of two digits, either 0 or 1. These are known as
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algo ...
s (a contraction of ''binary digits'') and the sequences of 0s and 1s that constitute information are called
byte The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
s. Analog signals are continuously variable, both in the number of possible values of the signal ''at'' a given
time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...

time
, as well as in the number of points in the signal ''in'' a given period of time. However, digital signals are
discrete Discrete in science is the opposite of :wikt:continuous, continuous: something that is separate; distinct; individual. Discrete may refer to: *Discrete particle or quantum in physics, for example in quantum theory *Discrete device, an electronic c ...
in both of those respects – generally a finite sequence of integers – therefore a digitization can, in practical terms, only ever be an
approximation An approximation is anything that is intentionally similar but not exactly equal Equal or equals may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Equals (film), ''Equals'' (film), a 2015 American science fiction film * Equals (game), ''Equals'' (game), a ...
of the signal it represents. Digitization occurs in two parts: ;Discretization: The reading of an analog signal ''A'', and, at regular time intervals (
frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparen ...
),
sampling Sampling may refer to: *Sampling (signal processing), converting a continuous signal into a discrete signal *Sample (graphics), Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound ...
the value of the signal at the point. Each such reading is called a ''sample'' and may be considered to have infinite precision at this stage; ;Quantization: Samples are rounded to a fixed set of numbers (such as integers), a process known as quantization. In general, these can occur at the same time, though they are conceptually distinct. A series of digital integers can be transformed into an analog output that approximates the original analog signal. Such a transformation is called a
DA conversion In electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to control electron flow by amplifier, am ...
. The
sampling rate In , sampling is the reduction of a to a . A common example is the conversion of a (a continuous signal) to a sequence of samples (a discrete-time signal). A sample is a value or set of values at a point in time and/or space. A sampler is a su ...
and the number of bits used to represent the integers combine to determine how close such an approximation to the analog signal a digitization will be.


Examples

The term is used to describe, for example, the scanning of analog sources (such as printed
photo 396x396px, '' View from the Window at Le Gras'' (1826 or 1827), by Nicéphore Niépce, the earliest known surviving photograph of a real-world scene, made with a camera obscura. Original (left) & Film colorization, colorized reoriented enhancem ...

photo
s or taped
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...

video
s) into computers for editing, 3D scanning that creates 3D modeling of an object's surface, and
audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion ( ...
(where sampling rate is often measured in
kilohertz The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action ...
) and
texture map Texture mapping is a method for defining high frequency detail, surface texture, or color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception described through color ''categories'', wi ...
transformations. In this last case, as in normal photos, the sampling rate refers to the
resolution Resolution(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Resolution (debate), the statement which is debated in policy debate * Resolution (law), a written motion adopted by a deliberative body * New Year's resolution, a commitment that an individual make ...
of the image, often measured in
pixel In digital imaging Digital imaging or digital image acquisition is the creation of a representation of the visual characteristics of an object, such as a physical scene or the interior structure of an object. The term is often assumed to imp ...

pixel
s per inch. Digitizing is the primary way of storing images in a form suitable for
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...
and
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of operations known as Computer program, programs. These ...

computer
processing, whether scanned from two-dimensional analog originals or captured using an
image sensor An image sensor or imager is a sensor A sensor is a device that produces an output signal for the purpose of sensing of a physical phenomenon. In the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, machine, or subsystem that detects e ...
-equipped device such as a
digital camera A digital camera is a camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behav ...

digital camera
, tomographical instrument such as a
CAT scan A CT scan or computed tomography scan (formerly known as computed axial tomography or CAT scan) is a medical imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of ...

CAT scan
ner, or acquiring precise dimensions from a real-world object, such as a
car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also k ...
, using a
3D scanning 3D scanning is the process of analyzing a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance (e.g. colour). The collected data can then be used to construct digital 3D models. A 3D scanner can be based on m ...
device. Digitizing is central to making digital representations of geographical features, using raster or vector images, in a
geographic information system A geographic information system (GIS) is a type of database In , a database is an organized collection of stored and accessed electronically from a . Where databases are more complex they are often developed using formal techniques. The ( ...
, i.e., the creation of
electronic map A map is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different s and s. A ...
s, either from various geographical and satellite imaging (raster) or by digitizing traditional paper
map A map is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different s and s. A ...

map
s or
graphs Graph may refer to: Mathematics *Graph (discrete mathematics) In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (ge ...

graphs
(vector). "Digitization" is also used to describe the process of populating
database In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...

database
s with files or data. While this usage is technically inaccurate, it originates with the previously proper use of the term to describe that part of the process involving digitization of analog sources, such as printed pictures and brochures, before uploading to target databases. Digitizing may also be used in the field of apparel, where an image may be recreated with the help of embroidery digitizing software tools and saved as embroidery machine code. This machine code is fed into an embroidery machine and applied to the fabric. The most supported format is DST file. Apparel companies also digitize clothing patterns.


History

* 1957 The Standards Electronic Automatic Computer (SEAC) was invented.Roemer, C. (n.d.). What is the history of digitization? ''Aperture: A Kodak Digitizing Blog''. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from https://kodakdigitizing.com/blogs/news/what-is-the-history-of-digitization That same year, Russell Kirsch used a rotating drum scanner and photomultiplier connected to SEAC to create the first digital image (176x176 pixels) from a photo of his infant son.Kirsch, R. A. (2001, January). Computer development at the National Bureau of Standards. ''A Century of Excellence in Measurements, Standards, and Technology: A Chronicle of Selected NBS/NIST Publications, 1901-2000.'' https://nistdigitalarchives.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15421coll5/id/1386 This image was stored in SEAC memory via a staticizer and viewed via a cathode ray oscilloscope. * 1971 Invention of Charge-Coupled Devices that made conversion from analog data to a digital format easy. * 1986 work started on the
JPEG JPEG ( ) is a commonly used method of lossy compression In information technology, lossy compression or irreversible compression is the class of data encoding methods that uses inexact approximations and partial data discarding to represe ...

JPEG
format. * 1990s Libraries began scanning collections to provide access via the world wide web.Verheusen, A. (2008). Mass digitization by libraries: Issues concerning organisation, quality and efficiency. ''Liber Quarterly'', 18(1), 28-38.


Analog signals to digital

Analog signals are continuous electrical signals; digital signals are non-continuous. Analog signals can be converted to digital signals by using an
analog-to-digital converter In electronics, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC, A/D, or A-to-D) is a system that converts an analog signal, such as a sound picked up by a microphone or light entering a digital camera, into a Digital signal (signal processing), digit ...
. The process of converting analog to digital consists of two parts: sampling and quantizing. Sampling measures wave amplitudes at regular intervals, splits them along the vertical axis, and assigns them a numerical value, while quantizing looks for measurements that are between binary values and rounds them up or down. Nearly all recorded music has been digitized, and about 12 percent of the 500,000+ movies listed on the
Internet Movie Database IMDb (an abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throu ...
are digitized and were released on
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital elect ...

DVD
. Digitization of
home movies A home movie is a short amateur film or video typically made just to preserve a visual record of family activities, a vacation, or a special event, and intended for viewing at home by family and friends. Originally, home movies were made on pho ...
, slides, and
photographs 396x396px, ''View from the Window at Le Gras'' (1826 or 1827), by Nicéphore Niépce, the earliest known surviving photograph of a real-world scene, made with a camera obscura. Original (left) & Film colorization, colorized reoriented enhanceme ...
is a popular method of preserving and sharing personal multimedia. Slides and photographs may be scanned quickly using an
image scanner An image scanner—often abbreviated to just scanner—is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting Handwriting is the writing done with a writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil, in the hand. Handwriting includes both ...
, but analog video requires a video tape player to be connected to a computer while the item plays in real time. Slides can be digitized quicker with a slide scanner such as the
Nikon (, ; ), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

Nikon
Coolscan 5000ED. Another example of digitization is the process developed by the Swiss ''Fonoteca Nazionale'' in
Lugano Lugano (, , ; lmo, label= Ticinese, Lugan ) is a town A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the la ...

Lugano
, by scanning a high resolution photograph of a record, they are able to extract and reconstruct the sound from the processed image. Digitization of analog tapes before they degrade, or after damage has already occurred, can rescue the only copies of local and traditional cultural music for future generations to study and enjoy.Breeding, M. (2014, November). Ongoing challenges in digitization. ''Computers in Libraries, 34''(9), 16-18. https://librarytechnology.org/document/20128


Analog texts to digital

Academic and public libraries, foundations, and private companies like
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...
are scanning older print books and applying
optical character recognition Optical character recognition or optical character reader (OCR) is the electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and contro ...
(OCR) technologies so they can be keyword searched, but as of 2006, only about 1 in 20 texts had been digitized. Librarians and archivists are working to increase this statistic and in 2019 began digitizing 480,000 books published between 1923 and 1964 that had entered the public domain. Unpublished manuscripts and other rare papers and documents housed in special collections are being digitized by
libraries A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

libraries
and
archives An archive is an accumulation of historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain primary source In the study of history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece An ...

archives
, but backlogs often slow this process and keep materials with enduring historical and research value hidden from most users (see digital libraries). Digitization has not completely replaced other archival imaging options, such as microfilming which is still used by institutions such as the National Archives and Records Administration (
NARA The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jur ...
) to provide preservation and access to these resources. While digital versions of analog texts can potentially be accessed from anywhere in the world, they are not as stable as most print materials or manuscripts and are unlikely to be accessible decades from now without further preservation efforts, while many books manuscripts and scrolls have already been around for centuries.Breeding, M. (2014, November). Ongoing challenges in digitization. ''Computers in Libraries, 34''(9), 16-18. https://librarytechnology.org/document/20128 However, for some materials that have been damaged by water, insects, or catastrophes, digitization might be the only option for continued use.Breeding, M. (2014, November). Ongoing challenges in digitization. ''Computers in Libraries, 34''(9), 16-18. https://librarytechnology.org/document/20128


Library preservation

In the context of libraries, archives, and museums, digitization is a means of creating digital surrogates of analog materials, such as books, newspapers,
microfilm Microforms are scaled-down reproductions of documents, typically either films A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perception ...
and videotapes, offers a variety of benefits, including increasing access, especially for patrons at a distance; contributing to collection development, through collaborative initiatives; enhancing the potential for research and education; and supporting preservation activities. Digitization can provide a means of preserving the content of the materials by creating an accessible facsimile of the object in order to put less strain on already fragile originals. For sounds, digitization of legacy analog recordings is essential insurance against technological obsolescence. A fundamental aspect of planning digitization projects is to ensure that the digital files themselves are preserved and remain accessible; the term "
digital preservation In library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A l ...
," in its most basic sense, refers to an array of activities undertaken to maintain access to digital materials over time. The prevalent Brittle Books issue facing libraries across the world is being addressed with a digital solution for long term book preservation. Since the mid-1800s, books were printed on
wood-pulp paper Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibers from wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants ...
, which turns acidic as it decays. Deterioration may advance to a point where a book is completely unusable. In theory, if these widely circulated titles are not treated with de-acidification processes, the materials upon those acid pages will be lost. As digital technology evolves, it is increasingly preferred as a method of preserving these materials, mainly because it can provide easier access points and significantly reduce the need for physical storage space. Cambridge University Library is working on the
Cambridge Digital LibraryThe Cambridge Digital Library is a project operated by the Cambridge University Library designed to make items from the unique and distinctive collections of Cambridge University Library available online. The project was initially funded by a donati ...
, which will initially contain digitised versions of many of its most important works relating to science and religion. These include examples such as Isaac Newton's personally annotated first edition of his
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it bec ...
as well as college notebooks and other papers, and some Islamic manuscripts such as a
Quran The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious t ...

Quran
from Tipu Sahib's library. Google, Inc. has taken steps towards attempting to digitize every title with "
Google Book Search Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its code-name Project Ocean) is a service from Google, Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using ...
". While some academic libraries have been contracted by the service, issues of copyright law violations threaten to derail the project. However, it does provide – at the very least – an online consortium for libraries to exchange information and for researchers to search for titles as well as review the materials.


Digitization versus digital preservation

Digitizing something is not the same as digitally preserving it.Snawder, K. (2011, July 15). Digitization is different than digital preservation: help prevent digital orphans! ''The Signal''. https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2011/07/digitization-is-different-than-digital-preservation-help-prevent-digital-orphans/ To digitize something is to create a digital surrogate (copy or format) of an existing analog item (book, photograph, or record) and is often described as converting it from analog to digital, however both copies remain. An example would be scanning a photograph and having the original piece in a photo album and a digital copy saved to a computer. This is essentially the first step in digital preservation which is to maintain the digital copy over a long period of time and making sure it remains authentic and accessible.Brown, A. (2013). ''Practical digital preservation: A how-to guide for organizations of any size''. Neal Schuman. Digitization is done once with the technology currently available, while digital preservation is more complicated because technology changes so quickly that a once popular storage format may become obsolete before it breaks. An example is a 5 1/4" floppy drive, computers are no longer made with them and obtaining the hardware to convert a file stored on 5 1/4" floppy disc can be expensive. To combat this risk, equipment must be upgraded as newer technology becomes affordable (about 2 to 5 years), but before older technology becomes unobtainable (about 5 to 10 years). Digital preservation can also apply to born-digital material, such as a Microsoft Word document or a social media post. In contrast, digitization only applies exclusively to analog materials. Born-digital materials present a unique challenge to digital preservation not only due to technological obsolescence but also because of the inherently unstable nature of digital storage and maintenance. Most websites last between 2.5 and 5 years, depending on the purpose for which they were designed. The Library of Congress provides numerous resources and tips for individuals looking to practice digitization and digital preservation for their personal collections.


Digital reformatting

Digital reformatting is the process of converting analog materials into a digital format as a surrogate of the original. The digital surrogates perform a preservation function by reducing or eliminating the use of the original. Digital reformatting is guided by established best practices to ensure that materials are being converted at the highest quality.


Digital reformatting at the Library of Congress

The
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
has been actively reformatting materials for its
American Memory 180px, right American Memory is an Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks a ...
project and developed best standards and practices pertaining to book handling during the digitization process, scanning resolutions, and preferred file formats. Some of these standards are: *The use of
ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task w ...
16067-1 and ISO 16067-2 standards for
resolution Resolution(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Resolution (debate), the statement which is debated in policy debate * Resolution (law), a written motion adopted by a deliberative body * New Year's resolution, a commitment that an individual make ...
requirements. *Recommended 400 ppi resolution for OCR'ed printed text. *The use of
24-bit color Color depth or colour depth (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two disti ...
when color is an important attribute of a document. *The use of the scanning device's maximum resolution for digitally reproducing photographs *
TIFF Tag Image File Format, abbreviated TIFF or TIF, is an image file format for storing raster graphics images, popular among graphic artists, the publishing industry, and photographers. TIFF is widely supported by image scanner, scanning, FAX, faxi ...

TIFF
as the standard file format. *Attachment of descriptive, structural, and technical
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...

metadata
to all digitized documents. A list of archival standards for digital preservation can be found on the ARL website. The Library of Congress has constituted a Preservation Digital Reformatting Program. The Three main components of the program include: *Selection Criteria for digital reformatting *Digital reformatting principles and specifications *Life cycle management of LC digital data


Audio digitization and reformatting

Audio media offers a rich source of historic ethnographic information, with the earliest forms of recorded sound dating back to 1890. According to the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA), these sources of audio data, as well as the aging technologies used to play them back, are in imminent danger of permanent loss due to degradation and obsolescence. These primary sources are called “carriers” and exist in a variety of formats, including wax cylinders, magnetic tape, and flat discs of grooved media, among others. Some formats are susceptible to more severe, or quicker, degradation than others. For instance, lacquer discs suffer from
delamination Delamination is a mode of failure where a material fracture Fracture is the separation of an object or material into two or more pieces under the action of stress. The fracture of a solid usually occurs due to the development of certain di ...
. Analog tape may deteriorate due to sticky shed syndrome. Archival workflow and file standardization have been developed to minimize loss of information from the original carrier to the resulting digital file as digitization is underway. For most at-risk formats (magnetic tape, grooved cylinders, etc.), a similar workflow can be observed. Examination of the source carrier will help determine what, if any, steps need to be taken to repair material prior to transfer. A similar inspection must be undertaken for the playback machines. If satisfactory conditions are met for both carrier and playback machine, the transfer can take place, moderated by an
analog-to-digital converter In electronics, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC, A/D, or A-to-D) is a system that converts an analog signal, such as a sound picked up by a microphone or light entering a digital camera, into a Digital signal (signal processing), digit ...
. The digital signal is then represented visually for the transfer engineer by a
digital audio workstation A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or application software Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itsel ...
, like Audacity, WaveLab, or Pro Tools. Reference access copies can be made at smaller sample rates. For archival purposes, it is standard to transfer at a sample rate of 96 kHz and a bit depth of 24 bits per channel.


Challenges

Many libraries, archives, museums, and other memory institutions, struggle with catching up and staying current regarding digitization and the expectation that everything should already be online.Greene, M. A. (2010). MPLP: It's not just for processing anymore. ''The American Archivist, 73''(1), 175-203.Lampert, C. (2018, January 3). Ramping up: Evaluating large-scale digitization potential with small-scale resources''. Digital Library Perspectives, 34''(1), 45-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/DLP-06-2017-0020 The time spent planning, doing the work, and processing the digital files along with the expense and fragility of some materials are some of the most common.


Time spent

Digitization is a time-consuming process, even more so when the condition or format of the analog resources requires special handling. Deciding what part of a collection to digitize can sometimes take longer than digitizing it in its entirety.Erway, R. (2008, December). Supply and demand: Special collections and digitisation. ''Liber Quarterly, 18''(3/4), 324-336. Each digitization project is unique and workflows for one will be different from every other project that goes through the process, so time must be spent thoroughly studying and planning each one to create the best plan for the materials and the intended audience.


Expense

Cost of equipment, staff time, metadata creation, and digital storage media make large scale digitization of collections expensive for all types of
cultural institutions A cultural institution or cultural organization is an organization within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, belie ...
.Sutton, S. C. (2017, April 10). Balancing boutique-level quality and large-scale production: The impact of "More Product, Less Process" on digitization in archives and special collections. ''RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 13''(1), 50-63. https://doi.org/10.5860/rbm.13.1.369 Ideally all institutions want their digital copies to have the best image quality so a high-quality copy can be maintained over time. However, smaller institutions may not be able to afford such equipment or manpower, which limits how much material can be digitized, so archivists and librarians must know what their patrons need and prioritize digitization of those items.Northeast Document Conservation Center. (n.d.) ''6.6 preservation and selection for digitization''. Free Resources. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/6.-reformatting/6.6-preservation-and-selection-for-digitization Often the cost of time and expertise involved with describing materials and adding metadata is more than the digitization process.Breeding, M. (2014, November). Ongoing challenges in digitization. ''Computers in Libraries, 34''(9), 16-18. https://librarytechnology.org/document/20128


Fragility of materials

Some materials, such as brittle books, are so fragile that undergoing the process of digitization could damage them irreparably. Despite potential damage, one reason for digitizing fragile materials is because they are so heavily used that creating a digital surrogate will help preserve the original copy long past its expected lifetime and increase access to the item.Riley-Reid, T.D. (2015, July 6). The hidden cost of digitization: Things to consider. ''Collection Building, 34''(3), 89-93. DOI 10.1108/CB-01-2015-0001


Copyright

Copyright is not only a problem faced by projects like
Google Books Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its code-name Project Ocean) is a service from Google Inc. Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet ...
, but by institutions that may need to contact private citizens or institutions mentioned in archival documents for permission to scan the items for digital collections. It can be time consuming to make sure all potential copyright holders have given permission, but if copyright cannot be determined or cleared, it may be necessary to restrict even digital materials to in library use.


Solutions

Institutions can make digitization more cost-effective by planning before a project begins, including outlining what they hope to accomplish and the minimum amount of equipment, time, and effort that can meet those goals.Riley-Reid, T.D. (2015, July 6). The hidden cost of digitization: Things to consider. ''Collection Building, 34''(3), 89-93. DOI 10.1108/CB-01-2015-0001 If a budget needs more money to cover the cost of equipment or staff, an institution might investigate if grants are available.Sutton, S. C. (2017, April 10). Balancing boutique-level quality and large-scale production: The impact of "More Product, Less Process" on digitization in archives and special collections. ''RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 13''(1), 50-63. https://doi.org/10.5860/rbm.13.1.369


Collaboration

Collaborations between institutions have the potential to save money on equipment, staff, and training as individual members share their equipment, manpower, and skills rather than pay outside organizations to provide these services.Potgieter, A. & Mabe, K. (2018). The future of accessing our past: Collaboration and digitization in libraries, archives and museums. ''Proceedings of business and management conferences. 6809039.'' https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=3phltK0AAAAJ&citation_for_view=3phltK0AAAAJ:d1gkVwhDpl0C Collaborations with donors can build long-term support of current and future digitization projects.Lampert, C. (2018, January 3). Ramping up: Evaluating large-scale digitization potential with small-scale resources''. Digital Library Perspectives, 34''(1), 45-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/DLP-06-2017-0020


Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be an option if an institution does not want to invest in equipment but since most vendors require an inventory and basic metadata for materials, this is not an option for institutions hoping to digitize without processing.


Non-traditional staffing

Many institutions have the option of using volunteers, student employees, or temporary employees on projects. While this saves on staffing costs, it can add costs elsewhere such as on training or having to re-scan items due to poor quality.


MPLP

One way to save time and resources is by using the More Product, Less Process (MPLP) method to digitize materials while they are being processed.Greene, M. A. (2010). MPLP: It's not just for processing anymore. ''The American Archivist, 73''(1), 175-203. Since
GLAM Glam is a shortened form of the word glamour. Glam or GLAM may also refer to: * GLAM (industry sector), an acronym for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, the cultural heritage institutions * Glam.com, a life-style related Web company ...
(Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) institutions are already committed to preserving analog materials from special collections, digital access copies do not need to be high-resolution preservation copies, just good enough to provide access to rare materials.Erway, R. (2008, December). Supply and demand: Special collections and digitisation. ''Liber Quarterly, 18''(3/4), 324-336. Sometimes institutions can get by with 300 dpi JPGs rather than a 600 dpi TIFF for images, and a 300 dpi grayscale scan of a document rather than a color one at 600 dpi.


Digitizing Marginalized Voices

Digitization can be used to highlight voices of historically marginalized peoples and add them to the greater body of knowledge. Many projects, some community archives created by members of those groups, are doing this in a way that supports the people, values their input and collaboration, and gives them a sense of ownership of the collection.Manzuch, Z. (2017). Ethical issues in digitization of cultural heritage. ''Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, 4(''2), article 4. http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol4/iss2/4?utm_source=elischolar.library.yale.edu%2Fjcas%2Fvol4%2Fiss2%2F4&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPagesHughes-Watkins, L. (2018). Moving toward a reparative archive: A roadmap for a holistic approach to disrupting homogenous histories in academic repositories and creating inclusive spaces for marginalized voices. ''Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 5,''article 6. https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol5/iss1/6 Examples of projects are Gi-gikinomaage-min and the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA).


Gi-gikinomaage-min

Gi-gikinomaage-min is Anishinaabemowin for "We are all teachers" and its main purpose is "to document the history of Native Americans in Grand Rapids, Michigan."Shell-Weiss, M. Benefiel, A. & McKee, K. (2017). We are all teachers: A collaborative approach to digital collection development. ''Collection Management'', 42(3-4), 317-337. https://doi.org/10.1080/01462679.2017.1344597 It combines new audio and video oral histories with digitized flyers, posters, and newsletters from
Grand Valley State University Grand Valley State University (GVSU, GV, or Grand Valley) is a public university #REDIRECT Public university#REDIRECT Public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives sign ...

Grand Valley State University
's analog collections. Although not entirely a newly digitized project, what was created also added item-level metadata to enhance context. At the start, collaboration between several university departments and the Native American population was deemed important and remained strong throughout the project.


SAADA

The South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) has no physical building, is entirely digital and everything is handled by volunteers.Caswell, M. (2015, April 24). Community-centered collecting: finding out what communities want from community archives. ''Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,'' 51(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/meet.2014.14505101027 This archive was started by Michelle Caswell and Samip Mallick and collects a broad variety of materials "created by or about people residing in the United States who trace their  heritage to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the many South Asian diaspora communities across the globe." (Caswell, 2015, 2). The collection of digitized items includes private, government, and university held materials.


Black Campus Movement Collection (BCM)

Kent State University Kent State University (KSU) is a Public university, public research university in Kent, Ohio. The university also includes seven regional campuses in Northeast Ohio and additional facilities in the region and internationally. Regional campuses ...
began its BCM collection when it acquired the papers of African American alumnus Lafayette Tolliver, which included about 1,000 photographs that chronicled the black student experience at Kent State from 1968-1971. The collection continues to add materials from the 1960s up to and including the current student body and several oral histories have been added since it debuted. When digitizing the items, it was necessary to work with alumni to create descriptions for the images. This collaboration created changes in local controlled vocabularies the libraries used to create metadata for the images.


Mass Digitization

The expectation that everything should be online has led to mass digitization practices, but it is an ongoing process with obstacles that have led to alternatives.Erway, R. (2008, December). Supply and demand: Special collections and digitisation. ''Liber Quarterly, 18''(3/4), 324-336. As new technology makes automated scanning of materials safer for materials and decreases need for cropping and de-skewing, mass digitization should be able to increase.


Obstacles

Digitization can be a physically slow process involving selection and preparation of collections that can take years if materials need to be compared for completeness or are vulnerable to damage.Verheusen, A. (2008). Mass digitization by libraries: Issues concerning organisation, quality and Efficiency. ''Liber Quarterly'', 18(1), 28-38. Price of specialized equipment, storage costs, website maintenance, quality control, and retrieval system limitations all add to the problems of working on a large scale.


Successes


Digitization on demand

Scanning materials as users ask for them, provides copies for others to use and cuts down on repeated copying of popular items. If one part of a folder, document, or book is asked for, scanning the entire object can save time in the future by already having the material access if someone else needs the material. Digitizing on demand can increase volume because time spent on selection and prep has been used on scanning instead.


Google books

From the start, Google has concentrated on text rather than images or special collections. Although criticized in the past for poor image quality, selection practices, and lacking long-term preservation plans, their focus on quantity over quality has enabled Google to digitize more books than other digitizers.


Standards

Digitization is not a static field and standards change with new technology, so it is up to digitization managers to stay current with new developments.Northeast Document Conservation Center. (n.d.). ''Session 7: Reformatting and digitization''. Preservation 101. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.nedcc.org/preservation101/session-7/7digitization Although each digitization project is different, common standards in formats, metadata, quality, naming, and file storage should be used to give the best chance of interoperability and patron access. As digitization is often the first step in digital preservation, questions about how to handle digital files should be addressed in institutional standards.Daigle, B. J. (2012). The digital transformation of special collections. ''Journal of Library Administration, 52''(3-4), 244-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2012.684504 A standard for still images adapted from the Smithsonian digitization standards might include the following:Smithsonian Institution Archives. (n.d.). ''Digitizing collections.'' Retrieved October 10, 2021, from https://siarchives.si.edu/what-we-do/digital-curation/digitizing-collections Resources to create local standards are available from the
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, the , and the
Northeast Document Conservation Center Founded in 1973, the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is the first non-profit conservation center in the United States to specialize in the preservation of paper-based library and archival materials. Its purpose is to provide the high ...
.


Implications


Cultural Heritage Concerns

Digitization of community archives by indigenous and other marginalized people has led to traditional memory institutions reassessing how they digitize and handle objects in their collections that may have ties to these groups.Manzuch, Z. (2017). Ethical issues in digitization of cultural heritage. ''Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, 4(''2), article 4. http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol4/iss2/4?utm_source=elischolar.library.yale.edu%2Fjcas%2Fvol4%2Fiss2%2F4&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages The topics they are rethinking are varied and include how items are chosen for digitization projects, what metadata to use to convey proper context to be retrievable by the groups they represent, and whether an item should be accessed by the world or just those who the groups originally intended to have access, such as elders. Many navigate these concerns by collaborating with the communities they seek to represent through their digitized collections.


Lean philosophy

The broad use of internet and the increasing popularity of lean philosophy has also increased the use and meaning of "digitizing" to describe improvements in the efficiency of organizational processes. Lean philosophy refers to the approach which considers any use of time and resources, which does not lead directly to creating a product, as waste and therefore a target for elimination. This will often involve some kind of Lean process in order to simplify process activities, with the aim of implementing new "lean and mean" processes by digitizing data and activities. Digitization can help to eliminate time waste by introducing wider access to data, or by the implementation of enterprise resource planning systems.


Fiction

Works of science-fiction often include the term digitize as the act of transforming people into digital signals and sending them into digital technology. When that happens, the people disappear from the and appear in a
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(as featured in the
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''
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'', the
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'' Code: Lyoko'', or the late 1980s live-action series ''
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''). In the
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'' Beyond Good & Evil'', the protagonist, protagonist's holographic friend digitizes the player's inventory Item (Game), items. One Super Friends cartoon episode showed Wonder Woman and Jayna freeing the world's men (including the male super heroes) onto computer tape by the female villainess Medula.The Mind Maidens. Aired Nov. 5 1977 on the ABC Network along with other segments.


See also

*Book scanning *Digital audio *Digital Library *Digital television *Economics of Digitization *Enumerate (project), ENUMERATE *Frame grabber *Graphics tablet *Newspaper digitization *Optical character recognition *Raster graphics *Raster image *Raster to vector *Scannebago *Vector graphics


References


Further reading

*Anderson, Cokie G.; Maxwell, David C, ''Starting a Digitization Center'', Chandos Publishing, 2004, *Bulow, Anna; Ahmon, Jess, ''Preparing Collections for Digitization'', Facet Publishing, 2010, *Perrin, Joy, ‘’Digitization of Flat Media: Principles and Practices’’, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015, *Piepenburg, Scott, "Digitizing Audiovisual and Nonprint Materials: the Innovative Librarian's Guide", Libraries Unlimited, 2015, *Robinson, Peter, ''Digitization of Primary Textual Sources'', Office for Humanities Communication, 1993, *S Ross; I Anderson; C Duffy; M Economou; A Gow; P McKinney; R Sharp; The NINCH Working Group on Best Practices
Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials
Washington DC: NINCH, 2002. *Speranski, V
Challenges in AV Digitization and Digital Preservation'The Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Plan'
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