Digitization is the conversion of an analog signal or code into a digital signal or code. (Lee, 2001)
Although a large proportion of a digital library ’s collection comprises materials that are born digital, such as eJournals , eBooks , Internet resources, databases, and so on, there are many resources that are not originally created in digital form, but are digitized in order to include them in a digital library’s collection.
eBook The content of a book that may be downloaded for viewing and/or printed locally. eJournal A magazine or scholarly journal that is available online. The online version may stand alone or it may be published in conjunction with a print version. Digital Library A digital library is an assemblage of digital computers, storage and communication machinery together with the context and software needed to produce, emulate, and extend those services provided by conventional libraries based on paper and other material means of collecting, cataloging, finding and disseminating information… A full-service digital library must accomplish all essential services of traditional libraries and also exploit the well known advantages of digital storage, searching and communication. (Edward Fox, 1993)
The central goal of any project should be to preserved the integrity of the information being digitized by defining and preserving those features of the objects that distinguish it as whole and singular work – including:
A digitization project may start in response to an external request and/or availability of funding, or as part for digitizing one or more specific collections.
the first kinds is called reactive digitization and the second proactive digitization .
The decision to embark on a digitization project may be taken at a number of different levels in a library, and for a whole range of reasons. While many of the major considerations may appear to be practical ones, if a project is to be successful then the financial, political and strategic implications needs to be carefully thought out before the project even starts, in order to ensure that the overall benefits and costs to the institution are clearly understood.
There are basically three major phases of a digitization project:
Phase One: Preparation for digitization
Phase Two: Processing digitized materials
Phase Three: Preservation and maintenance
The main activities involved in the first phase relate to the preparation for digitization , and the actual process of digitizing materials .
Once a source material has been digitized the second phase begins, which is concerned with the processing required to make the digitized materials easily accessible to users. This involve a number of editorial and processing activities such as cataloging, indexing and compression.
End-users can use the digitized materials only when the digitized materials are properly processed . There are other issues too, which come in the third phase, they relate to the preservation and maintenance of the digitized collections and services.
Preservation - the action of preserving/to keep something . Maintenance - the process of keeping something in good condition
What is Automation?
Automation means ‘the use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility. (The New Oxford Dictionary)
In the 1970s most libraries used the computer of the parent body, or a mainframe system over which they had no direct control. The 1970s saw the growth of cooperative services and resource sharing among libraries.
In the early 1980s turnkey systems (where one supplier offers complete hardware, software, installation, training and maintenance) became prevalent.
The significant drop in prices and impressive increase in power for microcomputer s made microcomputer-based systems became feasible by the mid-1980s.
Mainframe computer A very large and expensive computer capable of supporting hundreds or even thousands of user simultaneously. IBM is the dominant manufacturer of mainframe computers. Microcomputer Any computer with its arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) and control unit on one integrated circuit , called a microprocessor and it’s a stand-alone computer.
Automation and Libraries
According to Webster’s Dictionary, automation is “the technique of making an apparatus, a process or a system operate automatically”. In other words, it is the machinery that mathematically manipulates information storing, selects, presents and record input data or internally generated data.
Mechanisation of library house-keeping operations predominantly by computers is known as LIBRARY AUTOMATION. The term is used extremely to refer to the use of computers to perform some of the traditional activities such as:
Circulation and some related field such as:
Automate textual analysis, and
Resource sharing through networks.
Purpose of Library Automation
Purposes and some advantages of libraries automation are enumerated below:
Increase in speed and saving of time;
Updating record files much more quickly and easily;
Greater library cooperation;
Better library management
Protection of records
Possible Benefits of Library Automation
Reduce unit cost of operation.
Increase range and depth of service.
Facilitate communication, and
Existing staff members are able to cope with increased workloads or take on additional responsibilities, or both, as the result of the library having installed an ILS. Based on an initial survey by Dorothy E. Jones, 1999, library staff members generally feel that automation has increased their workload and responsibilities.
In Chapter 2 we studied the skills required for DRC Personnel:
Web page design, HTML, XML;
Use of electronic networks;
Use of metadata;
Evaluation of Web-based information sources;
Setting up and maintaining subject-based information gateways;
Management of electronic documents and collections and
Digitalization of documents.
In a few cases, libraries were able to reduce staff that was involved with labor-intensive, manual processes with high volumes of activity once the ILS had been installed.
However, for a majority of libraries, there has been little or no reduction in the number of overall staff as the result of automation.
Reduce Unit Cost of Operation
The efficiencies that can be achieved with an ILS allow a library to reduce the costs associated with a particular activity.
For example, sharing cataloging data through a bibliographic utility such as OCLC allowed libraries to avoid duplicating the effort associated with creating original cataloging records.
This reduced the number of professional staff and resulted in delegating work to lower-skilled and lower-paid staff.
An ILS will accurately record the status and location of all items that are maintained in its database.
Thus, rather than having silos of paper records found only in one department, the online system allows every staff member to learn about and update information associated with a particular item or record.
Using an ILS means that the number of errors that would have occurred in a manual system are significantly reduced, because the majority of systems use barcode scanners to uniquely identify an items.
Using an automated system means that a variety of activities are completed in a timelier manner.
For example, materials are getting on the shelves faster, circulation-related transactions happen quicker, and so forth.
Because the majority of library staff members have desktop workstations that are connected to the ILS, they each have access to the latest information about an item or record.
In addition, the LIS will typically provide several indexes to the library’s database (e.g., keyword indexes or free-text search) that are not available with manual systems.
Increase Range and Depth of Service
An ILS, especially a system that is accessible via the Internet, allows the library’s customers to access the library’s collection and other information resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition, most library systems will allow library patrons to view portions of their record, place holds, or be alerted when an item is available.
Means, library patron is no longer constrained to visiting the physical library in order to receive services.
The ability of an ILS to export standard MARC records allows libraries to participate in various cooperative projects (building local, regional and state databases; e.g. lists of serials owned by participating libraries; and so forth).
MARC Machine Readable Cataloging is a standard method for encoding surrogate records so that they can be read and processed by a computer.
MARC Record – Dublin Core
An ILS allows a library to examine, by using a variety of historical statistical data gathered by the automated system, the range and quality of services it provides to its customers.
For example, some libraries have examined the actual usage of its collection in an effort to understand the needs of its customers better.
Automation The use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility.