in this section is taken from:
COLORADO DIGITIZATION PROJECT, GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SCANNING These standards
were developed by the Colorado Digitization Project Scanning Working Group,
In-house or Out-source?
Every organization should carefully consider the pros and cons of outsourcing
digitization projects or conducting them in-house. Following are some
points to consider for both strategies:
- Development of digital imaging project experience by "doing
it" (project management, familiarity with technology, etc.)
- More control
over the entire imaging process as well as handling and storage of
for image quality, access, and scanning can be adjusted as you go
instead of defined up front
- Direct participation
in development of image collections that best suit your organization
- Requires large initial and ongoing financial investment in equipment,
- Longer time needed
to implement imaging process and technical infrastructure
- Limited production
- Staffing expertise
not always available
- Institution must
accept costs for network downtime, equipment failure, training of
- Lack of standards
and best practices
- Pay for cost of scanning the image only, not equipment or staffing
- High production
- On-site expertise
- Less risk
- Vendor absorbs
costs of technology obsolescence, failure, downtime, etc.
- Organization has less control over imaging process, quality control
- Complex contractual
process: image specifications must be clearly defined up front, solutions
to problems must be negotiated, communication must be open, and problems
must be accommodated
- Vendor may know
more than client or may presume a level of understanding on part of
library/museum/archives that they may not have
- Lack of standards
with which to negotiate services and to measure quality against
- Originals must
be transported, shipped, and then also handled by vendor staff
- Possible inexperience
of vendor with library/archival/museum/historical society communities
There are many excellent models and resources available in print and online
that have articulated different standards for scanning a variety of materials.
The Colorado Digitization Project drew upon the following resources in
developing these recommendations. We suggest that institutions review
the following resources for further information on scanning practices
and procedures prior to implementing a digitization project.
Additionally, we recommend
Howard Besser's and Jennifer Trant's excellent online tutorial, "Introduction
to Imaging" for a primer on the vocabulary and technology of an imaging
project and the issues surrounding the construction an image database.
This tutorial can be found at: http://www.getty.edu/gri/standard/introimages/
Digital Imaging Group (DIG) is a consortium of image and imaging companies
engaged in the development of digital imaging standards and technologies
for the consumer market. The membership of more than 80 participants include
Eastman Kodak, Digimarc, Fuji, and Polaroid. According to their white paper,
their metadata standards are based on XML formats and are designed to support
the evolution of digital imaging technology over the next 5-10 years. Because
of their near-future and consumer, home use, focus these standards are not
appropriate for libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies.
- Besser, Howard. Best Practices for Image Capture. Word Document. 1999.
- Besser, Howard. Procedures and Practices for Scanning.
- California Digital Library, Digital Object Standard: Metadata, Content
and Encoding. May 18, 2001.
- California Digital Library, Digital Image Format Standards. July 9,
- Fleischauer, Carl. Digital Formats for Content Reproductions. Library
of Congress, July 13, 1998.
- Kenney, Anne and Steven Chapman. Digital Imaging for Libraries and
Archives. Ithaca: New York, Department of Preservation and Conservation,
Cornell University Library, June 1996.
- Macklin, Lisa A. and Sarah L. Lockmiller. Digital Imaging of Photographs:
A Practical Approach to Workflow Design and Project Management. Chicago:
Illinois, American Library Association, 1999.
- Puglia, Steven and Barry Roginski. NARA Guidelines for Digitizing
Archival Materials for Electronic Access. National Archives and Records
Administration, January 1998.
- Technical Advisory Services for Images. Building Image Archives. University
of Bristol, United Kingdom.
Depending upon the intended processing quality and volume, digitization
efforts can range from a $79 scanner and free capture software on a personal
computer to hundreds of thousands of dollars for professional imaging
equipment and reproduction processing.
The capture of objects represent about thirty percent of digitization
expense (indexing is the other major cost). The principle choices are
on-site or central processing. Setting up capture equipment on-site is
best done for large collections to minimize movement and handling of originals.
If the collection at a site is small, transport to central services is
Most investments in
digitization tools are made for long-term efforts, whether as an enterprise
or for on-going conversion of large collections. The decision to acquire
equipment or contract for services is essentially based on the economics
of the process and the type of materials to be captured. Currently, a
rule of thumb is to consider spending $5 to $8 per original document or
photograph for contracted digitizing (including indexing) services. This
will usually produce several image files of staggered resolution / file
size copied onto mass storage devices or medium.
Reproduction or hosting services
At its simplest, digital files can be loaded onto hard drives in local
servers for local use. For example, a collection of homestead photographs
can be kept at the local library for viewing on a computer screen. Storage
and retrieval is supported in the building. For a larger audience, the
files can be accessible as pages off the library's Web page.
Web hosting of
A central service facility, such as a regional or state organization can
host files on a Web server with worldwide access. Since CDs are often
used as a storage medium, it is possible to produce additional copies
for individual distribution. Labeled CDs can be sold or distributed freely
to increase public exposure to the collection. Paper reproductions of
graphical images can also be produced; however, copyright issues may be
Several options exist
for hosting digitized material. Internet service providers host Web pages
including small collections of files. On a larger scale, commercial Internet
services are available to host significant collections, albeit at a fairly
high storage charge. The typical sites for hosting digital collections
have been academic, governmental and community organizational servers
(e.g., societies, associations). Using a rough guide of .5 Mb file size
for each object, it is apparent that only serious storage systems can
handle collections of thousands of objects.
Regardless of the
use of in-house or contracted services, the organization will need oversight
and management capacity during the capture of objects and during the program
management phase following the project. The use of steering and stakeholder
committees is advised. If the digitization process will be conducted in-house,
technical resources as well as object handlers / preparers are required.
- When using vendor services for any digital project task always check
- Ask for a list
of standards and guidelines used by the vendor.
- Ask to see examples
of similar work done for other projects.
- Include a clear
"scope of work" statement in the contract.
- Where possible
relate the task to specific elements of the budget.
- Do not include
non-binding language such as "may" or "could."
should be specific so that both parties understand expectations.
- Ask for a detailed
timeline and identify key contractor employees who will complete tasks.
- Be clear on the
payment method, decide if the contract will reimburse for costs (cost
reimbursement contract) or pay for actual deliverables (performance