Digitization at Makerere
University Library: Feedback
of the UT Training
Librarian II, Main Library
l Purpose of UT trip and the expected output
è Basic Definitions
l Digitization, Digitize, Digitizers, etc
l Electronic documents
è Digital Projects
l Basic facts, Opportunities, and Challenges of
l The Digital Life Cycle, Selection of collections for
digitization, and Conclusion
è Purpose of Trip to the University of Tennessee
l To participate and learn from their well established digital library
è What was learnt
l The technology in use at UT (especially in the systems and
production units). This depends on what is targeted for
l Metadata design and creation and the digital life cycle as a whole
è Expected Output
l To Initiate a pilot digital library project at Makerere University
Library (with the current infrastructure in perspective)
l Seek funding for bigger projects
è Digitization (As a noun)
l Conversion of analog information into digital
information. Digitization, synonymous with
scanning, is the conversion from printed paper, film,
or some other media, to an electronic form where
the page is represented as either black & white dots
or color or grayscale pixels.
l As a result of digitization, we get or capture digital
images. Digitization is the primary way of storing
images in a form suitable for transmission and
Basic Definitions cont…
è Digitize (A verb)
l Put into digital form, as for use in a computer
è Digitizer (A noun)
l Any device used to convert analogue signals into
è Electronic documents
l Documents that have been scanned or were
originally created on a computer. We note that
documents become more useful when stored
electronically because they can be widely
distributed instantly, and allow searching.
Basic Facts on Digital Projects
è Capturing digital resources: This can be done from
manuscripts (handwritten), text materials
(typescripts/printed text, books, journals, newspapers),
images (photographs, transparencies, posters), graphics
(cartographic & teaching materials), sound, motion, data
(census numeric data, GIS spatial data, clinical data).
è Hardware & software requirements: Different hardware
& software may be used to digitize the different materials.
In each, the procedures may differ, but there are basic facts
that are essential to know in all. These will be mentioned
here in brief.
Basic Facts continued
The following are the important things to note when digitizing:
è Production settings (creating the digital objects)
l Bit depth (color channels)
l Resolution [pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi)]
l Tonal range, etc
è Storage and file size
l Master image and file types
l Deliverables (thumbnails, web-images, access-images)
è Access and Delivery, etc
l (i.e. how to access & retrieve the digital objects, plus
many other small aspects)
Digital Project Opportunities
è Useful digitization allows for the creation or conversion
and then storage of any form of information into a
surrogate, portable platform-independent form that permits
subsequent searching, analysis and reproduction of the
information in multiple forms without permanent change
to either the original artifact or the master digital file.
è Digitization may allow librarians to manage collections
and provide services more effectively, or to provide
traditional services such as copying or interlibrary loan at
lower costs or at less risk to the collections
Think of the other opportunities and increase the list!!!
Digital Project Challenges
è Conversion challenges
l Sheer mass
l Laborious process
l Organization, i.e. Following standards and technology for
è Storage challenges
l Cost of storage
l Fragility - the physical media on which digital information is
stored is not eternal (i.e. migrations needed frequently)
l Integrity - digital information is exposed to user changes,
distortion, and dis-information in the distributed WWW.
è Creation challenges (works born digital)
è Retrieval challenges
l Dependency on devices
l Obsolescence - the technology keeps changing over time and
thus the need for constant migration
l Legalities like rights of access, copyright, etc
è Acceptance challenges
l Weighing whether the digital information will be useful
l Whether it will be wanted, etc
Think of more challenges and increase the list!!!
Digital Project Life Cycle:
n Get/Pick a project - Using selection guidelines
n Plan the Project - By giving a detailed project specification
3. Production design: This involves
l Metadata design and instructional guidelines for data entry.
l Digitization design, i.e. Standards, scanning settings, color
management, and guidelines on training sessions for
4. Production - Create the digital objects and metadata, observe
quality control, clean-up, and create deliverables
5. Delivery - Choose a delivery mechanism, i.e. The technology,
and publicize the resources
6. Maintenance & Evaluation - Maintain the collection and
preserve the digital files.
Note The Following
è Deciding on what information resources to digitize is
a policy issue that has to be dealt with within the
institutions Collection Development Policies. (Thus, a
Digital Collection Policy is an essential).
è There are a number of decision-making processes
required of librarians when embarking on digital
conversion projects and some of what we are going to
focus on today are typical selection policy questions
that have arisen in the digital information
environment. Make your decisions on what collections
to consider as we go along.
Selecting Collections for
Six question will be considered here, though there are more
n Intellectual & physical nature of the source materials
a. What is the copyright status of the materials?
b. Does the intellectual quality of the source material
warrant the level of access made possible by
c. Will digitization enhance the intellectual value of the
These questions are used as a guide to help library managers focus on
what collections to digitize, with the basic reasons why they are selected.
Selecting Collections for
2. The number & location of current and potential
a. Are the materials being used as much as they might
be when digitized?
b. Is current access to the proposed materials so difficult
that digitization will create a new audience?
c. Does the physical condition of the material limit their
d. Will the proposed digital files be of manageable size
e. Will digitization address the needs of local students?
Selecting Collections for
3. The current & potential nature of use
a. What approach to digitization will facilitate the user’s
nature of work or how do students use the existing
4. The format and nature of the proposed digital
a. What digital qualities will be considered essential?
b. Does the technology catch up with the needs? What
type of hardware should be used for the conversion?
c. If the original sources are to be retained, can they
withstand the digitization process?
Selecting collections for
5. How the digital product will be described, delivered
and archived (managed over time)
a. How will users know that the digital file exists?
b. How will the digital product best be delivered to
c. How will the integrity of the digitized data be
d. What are the long-term intentions for the digital files?
Selecting collections for
6. Projections of cost in relation to benefits
a. The costs of creating electronic resources vary
considerably, but the following can be considered:
l File size and the associated storage needs
l Processing requirements
l Labor requirements, etc
è Projects based on careful review, analysis and planning can
yield electronic resources that are functional and faithful to the
original sources, and that support new kinds of research. A
detailed plan of work is the most essential aspect in
THE END !!!
THANK YOU FOR