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Digitisation Infrastructure - June 2007
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Digitisation Infrastructure - June 2007

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The presentation looks at some of the key capabilities that are required, whether at a campus-wide, regional or national level to make sure that digitisation happens effectively, as rapidly as …

The presentation looks at some of the key capabilities that are required, whether at a campus-wide, regional or national level to make sure that digitisation happens effectively, as rapidly as possible and offers value for money in the medium and long term.

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  • 1. Publishing Cultural Heritage Alastair Dunning Digitisation Programme Manager JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) a.dunning@jisc.ac.uk, 0203 006 6065 UCL Presentation, 19 th June
  • 2. JISC Digitisation Programme
    • Manager for 8 projects, part of 16 project programme to digitise UK cultural heritage. For example
      • British Newspapers 1620-1900
      • Pre-Raphaelite Art
      • Images from Scott Polar Research Institute
      • Nineteenth-Century Pamphlets
      • 20 th -century Government Cabinet Papers
      • http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digitisation
    • Started April 2007, finishing March 2009
  • 3. Digitisation is easy http://homepage.mac.com/xcia0069/lizzie-innes/index.htm
  • 4. Growth of Digitisation
    • Possibilities of Internet inspired rapid data capture of precious objects all over the world
    • But maybe this started out as a reactive cottage industry?
      • Museums, Libraries and Archives rushing to digitise material and dump it on the web
    • How long does this material last on the Internet? Is it good quality? Can people locate it? Can they use it?
    • Quantity of material and issue of long-term digitisation effects published material. Added pressure supplied by Google digitisation programme
    • … . Digitisation is difficult
  • 5. Need for an infrastructure
    • To address the issues raised in previous slide
      • How long does this material last on the Internet? Is it good quality? Can users locate it? Can they use it?
    • Illustrations from the British model; other country’s models may be different
    • Demonstration that mass digitisation is complex, involving multiple players and technologies
    • Good infrastructure allows publication of cultural heritage to happen quickly; to show value for money; to be usable; to be easily accessible by educational communities and general public
  • 6. Data capture
    • To convert the physical to digital
      • Flat scanners, robotic scanners, 3D scanners, direct capture via digital camera, remote controlled camera, conversion via medium (e.g. microfilm), reel-to-digital, millions of typists
    • To cope with all kinds of material (newspapers, stained glass, banners, posters, maps, census, reports, grey literature, artefacts, film, audio … )
    • Need to have keen idea of priorities for digitisation
    • Ensure competition but not redundancy (Keep machines working; keep staff in place)
    • Requires research on success of methodologies, dialogue with other subject areas (i.e. sciences)
  • 7. If you don’t have a range of options for data capture – cultural heritage won’t get digitised University of Southampton Robotic Scanner – Details at http://www.soton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2004/nov/04_181.shtml
  • 8. Standards and Formats
    • What file formats to ensure high-quality, long-term use
      • Images - TIFF, but also JPEG2000, PNG
      • Text – XML (and flavours thereof), but also RTF, Word
      • Sound – WAV, AIFF, MP3, Ogg (formats and wrappers)
      • Film – MJPEG, MPEG4, AVI, Quicktime, Flash (ditto)
    • Normally developed internationally, but local variations occur
    • Co-ordination, certification, co-operation, involvement and decisiveness at national and international levels
    • As with all parts of infrastructure, research and innovation
    • If you don’t have this – see current mess over video!
  • 9. Metadata
    • Requires sophisticated of experts who know the digital objects (e.g. newspapers, sound recordings, census reports)
    • As with before, international c o-ordination, certification, co-operation to develop international schema and vocabularies
    • These are required at subject level, format level, technical levels, preservation levels. For example
      • Dublin Core, MODS – generic resource description
      • VRA4 – digital image description, including technical details
      • METS – wraps together different information on a digital object
      • PREMIS – preservation metadata over long term
    • If you don’t have this – trust and authenticity, interoperability, resource discovery are severely hindered
  • 10. Data Delivery
    • I.e. the people that build websites
    • Complex engagement between commercial (Google, ProQuest, Thomson Gale, JSTOR) and non-commercial suppliers (universities, museums etc.)
    • Huge range of potential business models
      • Institutional subscription, Personal subscription
      • Pay-per-view, Google Ads
      • Open Access
      • Mixed model
    • But no definitive answers about the more successful
  • 11. Data Delivery – What is required
    • Ability to regularly serve up websites and data
    • Systems to deliver a range of digital content (e.g. newspapers, audio, posters, artifacts)
    • Low overheads and year on year costs
    • Good understanding of end-users
    • Working in partnership with other content providers
    • Commitment to innovation and good practice
    • If you don’t have this – wheel will be constantly reinvented, users will be driven away, material will be siloed
  • 12. Preservation Facilities
    • Digital objects become obsolete with time. Experts are required to ensure this does not happen
      • Expertise in handling digital assets (content and all metadata) in long term, and preferably also the hardware and media that hold such content
      • Must be trusted and reliable
      • Good relationship with data delivery providers
      • Continual research – why, what and how to preserve?
    • Without this, digital data will be lost, endangering the entire investment made in digitisation
  • 13. Preservation Facilities – Case Study
    • A good example from the late 1990s
    • Orphaned archaeological data rescued from obsolescence
    • CDs, floppy discs, PCs, databases, word files, CAD files all left
    • But lack of metadata meant not all data could be retrieved
    • http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/case-studies/newham/
  • 14. Digitisation Infrastructure
    • Network capabilities
    • Authentication
    • Tools Development
    • Usability testing
    • Copyright clearing houses
    • Consultants
    • Trained expert staff
    • Suitable courses
    • Data capture
    • Standards, Formats
    • Metadata
    • Data Delivery
    • Preservation
    • And of course Money
    • Skill is in making sure these pieces fit together