• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Considering A Digital Project

Page history last edited by epfotenhauer@wils.wisc.edu 9 years, 11 months ago

Please note: this wiki is no longer actively maintained. 
Up-to-date digitization guidelines for Wisconsin Heritage Online--now Recollection Wisconsin--can be found at 


For more information about the Recollection Wisconsin program, visit us at http://recollectionwisconsin.org.




Check out the slides from our "Basics of Digital Projects" workshop for an overview of the digitization process.


Why Digitize?

How can a digital project add value to your organization? Each institution has different reasons for digitization, but some of the common motives and benefits include:

  • Creating new ways to connect with your audience.
  • Reaching new audiences.
  • Maximizing discoverability.
  • Learning more about your collections.
  • Protecting fragile or heavily used items.
  • Expanding access to "invisible" materials.


Before You Get Started

Digitization projects involve much more than scanning a few interesting images. Careful advance planning will lead to higher-quality, more relevant, and more sustainable collections. Articulating answers to the following questions before embarking on any digitization project will pay off in the long run.


  • Who is our audience?
    • How do they use the materials now?
    • How would they like to use the materials?
    • What are their expectations regarding access to these collections?


  • What are we digitizing?
    • Is there a demand for these materials?
    • Who owns the materials?
    • What size and format are the materials?
    • Are any special precautions or procedures required to ensure safety of the originals?


  • What is our timeline?
    • Be sure to budget time for tasks such as planning, selection, administration, organization, training, personnel management, and quality control, in addition to the time it takes to actually scan and process the materials.
    • Digital projects often take longer than you might expect. Be realistic with your expectations. 


  • What are our resources?
    • Who will do the work? Staff, volunteers, student interns? Will scanning or other reformatting take place in-house, or are funds available to outsource this work?
    • Do we have the necessary equipment on hand, or are there funds available to purchase equipment such as a quality scanner, camera, etc.?
    • Are funds available for further training, equipment upgrades, or other potential future needs?



What Makes a Good Digital Collection?


  • Clearly defined ownership. Resource must have provable copyright clearance.


  • Original resource must be in suitable condition to be digitized. Books must be able to be handled. Photos must be non-degraded, with sufficient clarity of detail. Glass negatives should not be cracked or excessively scratched. Size and type of resource must be appropriate to available equipment.


  • Image files must be accompanied by metadata. If necessary, staff should do research to provide usable access points such as pictured subjects and information on the circumstances surrounding the image (photographer, event, significance, timeframe, etc.).


  • The proposed project should have a defined target audience. There should be a collection development rationale for digitization.


  • The collection should have a definable scope so that a project timeline for completion and staffing levels can be established.


  • A plan for responding to patron interest in the collection should be in place. For example, how can users obtain reproductions, access related materials, or secure limited re-publication rights? 

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.