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Two handy digitization planning tools

By Cory Lampert on July 25, 2008 11:16 AM | Permalink
On of the things that can be frustrating and/or exciting (depending on your personality) when you work in the world of digitization is that regardless of how proficient you become at the end of a successful project, the slate always gets wiped clean and you have to return to square one when the next project comes along. The process of determining standards, procedures, and status of items for the project is important and may take up a significant amount of time in planning the digitization process. I have come across two helpful tools that may come in handy for this planning process. The first one deals with everyone's favorite topic-- copyright. And while, there will never, ever, be a simple solution to any copyright questions, this neat digital slider created by the Library of Congress will at least get you started in the right direction and may help you generate a list of questions to ask in the process. Once your copyright status is clearer, you might be ready to start scanning, or at least taking a few sample scans to help determine resolution, bit-depth, and pixel dimensions that meet the needs of the project. If you only digitize one type of materials and already have standards to refer to, this process is pretty straightforward. But if you are scanning a new format, a over-sized item, or if you have students working on a project, you may find that the Image Quality Calculator from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a lifesaver. I have found that by walking library staff from other departments through their scanning request using this tool is also a good opportunity for me to teach them that there may not be a one-size-fits-all answer to "how should I scan X?" Thanks to those that help make all of our lives easier by creating cool tools to aid in digitization planning!

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