Digitisation – notes from a Masterclass

Early last week I was flown to Sydney to conduct the first day of a 2 day Masterclass – Revolutionising Library Management for the Ark Group. My topic was Web 2.0 in Libraries and my thanks go to our hosts and our committed, enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of participants for an informative day for me and hopefully for them too.  My slides, if you are interested, are on the presentations page of this blog and also on Slideshare.

The 2nd day, for which I opted to stay, was on Digitisation and was presented by Mal Booth from the Australian War Memorial. I was interested in this day for several reasons, one being digitisation work at my library (local history) and another being knowing the great work that the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has done – especially their virtual resources and services.  (check out his slides from the session at Slideshare)

Australian War Memorial logo

As digitisation is not my area of expertise, I found most of what I learned was well explained by Mal’s slides – I encourage you to check them out if this topic is of interest to you.  However, I did take in the following points:

– The Australian War Memorial is constantly hearing from users that they want the content, not just the catalogue record and opening hours.   They are useless when the user is not in Canberra.

– It is extremely important to create a collection development policy for your digital collections.  For the same reasons that we have one for print, AV etc.
Gimp logo

-  Mal’s recommended software for digitisation is Photoshop.  But if that’s cost prohibitive, then Photoshop Elements or the free open source software Gimp.

– Digitisation projects can use sponsors as a funding source – AWM does.

– When choosing a file format and standard for digitisation, three important things to consider are is it migratable? does it use an open source standard? and will it last?  May seem obvious, but not always the case.  File format and standards are continuing to develop.

Just some small points that grabbed my attention and that is saying something as Mal is an engaging speaker. He was able to make, what could be considered dry content, an interesting experience.