Getting Started With Digitisation


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Presentation to a small regional museum group on the subject of entry-level Digitisation and Digital Preservation

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Getting Started With Digitisation

  1. 1. GETTING STARTED WITH DIGITISATION 16 th June 2009 Nick Poole, Chief Executive, Collections Trust
  2. 2. Nick Poole Chief Executive of Collections Trust Adviser to UK Digitisation programmes Involved in Digitisation since 1998 Involved in issues of standards, copyright and use A Technology skeptic! INTRODUCTIONS
  3. 3. Who here is actively involved in a Digitisation project? Who uses technology at home? Are there any particular things we’d like to cover? INTRODUCTIONS
  5. 5. If anything isn’t clear, or needs more information, or you disagree, then stop me! QUESTIONS
  6. 6. What do you understand by the word ‘Digitisation’? What kind of activities does it involve? WHAT IS DIGITISATION?
  7. 7. <ul><li>There is no ‘one’ answer </li></ul><ul><li>For today... </li></ul><ul><li>Scanning items from your collection </li></ul><ul><li>Taking photographs of your collection </li></ul><ul><li>Migrating analogue audio/video to digital format </li></ul>WHAT IS DIGITISATION?
  8. 8. Why do you want to Digitise your collection? What benefit are you hoping to achieve through Digitisation? WHY DIGITISE?
  9. 9. <ul><li>Many different reasons... </li></ul><ul><li>To provide online access to objects </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce risk through handling </li></ul><ul><li>To support Collections Management </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Opportunistic’ digitisation – eg. a move or loan </li></ul><ul><li>Developing content for a website, exhibition or catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>To provide resources for learning and teaching </li></ul>WHY DIGITISE?
  10. 10. <ul><li>Digitising something is *exactly* the same as acquiring a new object into the collection; </li></ul><ul><li>It needs to be done properly, and you need to understand that you’re making a long-term commitment to looking after the digital file; </li></ul><ul><li>Just digitising something is pointless if you don’t know who wants it, what they want it for and how it’s going to be used. </li></ul>A WORD OF WARNING
  11. 11. What criteria would you use when deciding what to Digitise? HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHAT TO DIGITISE?
  12. 12. <ul><li>Your decision will be informed by... </li></ul><ul><li>The condition of the objects </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of the material </li></ul><ul><li>The needs of your users </li></ul><ul><li>The need to cover specific parts of collections </li></ul><ul><li>The likely use </li></ul><ul><li>The relative complexity/difficulty </li></ul>CHOOSING WHAT TO DIGITISE
  13. 13. Your approach will vary according to the type of material you are Digitising CHOOSING HOW TO DIGITISE
  14. 14. Material Hardware Resolution Letters & drawings (B/W) Flatbed Scanner OR Digital Camera 600dpi (8-bit greyscale) Illustrations and maps (colour, B/W) Flatbed Scanner OR Digital Camera 300dpi (8-bit greyscale/24-bit colour) Photographs (colour, B/W) Flatbed Scanner 300dpi (8-bit greyscale/24-bit colour) 35mm slides (colour. B/W) Slide Scanner OR adapted Flatbed 1200dpi (8-bit greyscale/24-bit colour) Objects Digital Camera 300dpi (8-bit greyscale/24-bit colour)
  15. 15. The resolution of the image is closely related to its size, which may be measured in terms of centimetres or pixels. The resolution depends on how many pixels are recorded by the capture device (camera or scanner) within a defined space – usually an inch. Hence ‘PPI’ stands for ‘pixels per inch’. DPI stands for ‘dots per inch’ and is essentially the same measure. In general terms, the higher the resolution of the image, the truer it will be to the original and the more detail will be captured. KEY TERM: RESOLUTION
  16. 16. ANY QUESTIONS?
  17. 17. <ul><li>Staff and skills </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing a camera </li></ul><ul><li>Other equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Handling the objects </li></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><li>File format </li></ul>TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR COLLECTION
  18. 18. <ul><li>Do you have enough people to carry out the Digitisation? </li></ul><ul><li>Do people have the relevant skills or do you need to provide training? </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers often have useful skills, but may need training in object preparation and handling. </li></ul>STAFF AND SKILLS
  19. 19. <ul><li>A general interest in Digitisation! </li></ul><ul><li>Some experience of working with cameras/scanners </li></ul><ul><li>More general organisational, time & project management skills </li></ul><ul><li>Experience working with databases and Collections Management Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Experience working with image software (eg. Photoshop) </li></ul><ul><li>Experience of working with fragile or museum objects </li></ul>SKILLS TO LOOK OUT FOR
  20. 20. <ul><li>There are lots of people who will provide basic training </li></ul><ul><li>Think about talking to someone else in the area (eg. a school or college) who is already running a Digitisation project </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just train the person running the project – their line-manager needs to know what they’re talking about, the Director needs to know why money is being allocated to it, volunteers need to understand the other issues such as rights and metadata </li></ul><ul><li>In sector terms, JISC Digital Media are excellent, cheap and experienced. </li></ul>THINKING ABOUT TRAINING
  21. 21. Have you already selected a camera? What type did you get? What research did you do? CHOOSING A CAMERA
  22. 22. <ul><li>Your choice has to reflect what you want to do... </li></ul><ul><li>Standard consumer compact cameras (£50 - £500) are not really suited to digitisation but can be useful where resolution is less of an issue (except for the higher-end models which allow for greater control of shutter speed and focus) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital SLR (£400 - £1500) will cover a broader range of mid-to-high resolution applications </li></ul><ul><li>Studio or overhead-mounted camera will cover most high resolution applications </li></ul>CHOOSING A CAMERA
  23. 23. <ul><li>Tip: think about sharing the cost of a higher-level camera with several other institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just look at the resolution – the features, software and other bits of functionality will also have an effect on the end result </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to buy a decent memory card (or you’ll be making endless trips back to your computer!) </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt, buy a magazine! </li></ul>CHOOSING A CAMERA
  24. 24. <ul><li>A computer with a high enough specification to handle the job </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient memory to store large image files (eg. an external hard drive) </li></ul><ul><li>Optical drive to create archival copies of image files </li></ul><ul><li>Digitisation software </li></ul><ul><li>Image optimisation software </li></ul>OTHER EQUIPMENT
  25. 25. <ul><li>What is your process for selecting, moving, preparing, photographing and returning items from the collection? </li></ul><ul><li>The more you can standardise your process, the faster (and hence cheaper) your digitisation will be. </li></ul><ul><li>Have you written your workflow down? </li></ul><ul><li>Have staff been trained in it and does everyone understand their role? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you made provision for Quality Control? </li></ul>WORKFLOW
  27. 27. <ul><li>Tip: give it a go first </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot your workflow with 10 objects </li></ul><ul><li>What works, what doesn’t? What are the risks? </li></ul>WORKFLOW
  28. 28. <ul><li>If the objects are fragile, it may be preferable to bring the Digitisation studio to them. </li></ul><ul><li>If working with external agencies, contractors and photographers, ensure that they receive some basic training in object handling. </li></ul><ul><li>Objects are at greatest risk when being moved, so always ensure that you have thought about the risks and plan for them. </li></ul>HANDLING THE OBJECTS
  29. 29. <ul><li>Do you have a suitable room? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you restrict daylight to reduce glare and colour imbalance? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you locate the computer near the scanning/photography equipment? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the workspace reflect your workflow? </li></ul><ul><li>Can more than one process be happening at the same time? </li></ul><ul><li>Can more than one person work at the same time? </li></ul><ul><li>Have you completed a Health & Safety Risk Assessment? </li></ul><ul><li>If storing objects there, is it at least as secure as your store? </li></ul>LOCATION
  30. 30. LOCATION
  31. 31. LOCATION
  32. 32. <ul><li>You can always scale down from a high-quality image (compression), but never up from a low-quality one (interpolation)... </li></ul><ul><li>TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) and RAW are the highest quality formats and suitable for archiving </li></ul><ul><li>JPG (JPEG) and GIF are both prone to loss of detail because of compression </li></ul><ul><li>PNG format is only suited to ‘graphic’ images or illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t go mad – you don’t need terabytes of RAW files for your website </li></ul><ul><li>Always check that your camera can support your chosen file type </li></ul>FILE FORMAT
  33. 33. BREAK!
  34. 34. <ul><li>Key points to consider: </li></ul><ul><li>The same issues as photography </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing a scanner </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation </li></ul>SCANNING ITEMS FROM YOUR COLLECTION
  35. 35. Have you used a scanner before? What kinds of scanner do you know about? What is important to think about when selecting a scanner? CHOOSING A SCANNER
  36. 36. <ul><li>Flatbed scanner (not always suitable for high-quality work) </li></ul><ul><li>Rotary (or ‘drum’) scanners used in commercial applications </li></ul><ul><li>Book scanners used to manage the administration of book loans </li></ul><ul><li>Slide scanners provide hi-resolution images of slides </li></ul>TYPES OF SCANNER
  37. 37. <ul><li>You are most likely to be buying a flatbed scanner </li></ul><ul><li>Flatbed scanners are contact scanners – this may not be appropriate for your objects </li></ul><ul><li>Write down your requirements before you go shopping </li></ul><ul><li>Size matters – scanning maps, tithe deeds or non-standard docs may require an A3 footprint </li></ul><ul><li>Scan speed, resolution, colour balancing all matter </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt, buy a magazine or talk to some companies </li></ul>CHOOSING A SCANNER
  38. 38. What do you understand by the word ‘metadata’ Why is it important? METADATA
  39. 39. <ul><li>Metadata is all around us </li></ul><ul><li>Your supermarket receipt is metadata about your weekly shop: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What you bought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When you bought it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where you bought it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much it cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How you paid </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is basically a set of facts about the real world which help you remember the details </li></ul>METADATA
  40. 40. <ul><li>You’ve been on holiday and come back with a camera full of pictures </li></ul><ul><li>You want to email Jim the one of him falling in the pool </li></ul><ul><li>You open the folder and see ‘DSC0001, DSC0002, DSC0003, DSC0004, DSC0005....’ </li></ul><ul><li>How are you going to find the picture of Jim without opening every single one? </li></ul>WHY METADATA MATTERS
  41. 41. <ul><li>The problem is that creating metadata is intensely boring </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of it is repetitive (eg. 500 pictures may have the same copyright) </li></ul><ul><li>It requires both expertise and consistency </li></ul><ul><li>People are more careful when they understand that metadata makes the difference between a useful picture and digital landfill </li></ul><ul><li>The processes of metadata and documentation are very closely linked – use the opportunity to update your object records (or use the same system where possible!) </li></ul>PRACTICAL METADATA
  42. 42. STEP 1 Decide what information is useful to you STEP 2 Decide where you’re going to store your pictures STEP 3 Decide where you’re going to store your metadata STEP 4 Decide how you’re going to link the picture and the object (eg. by Accession number) STEP 5 Include metadata in your workflow STEP 6 Quality control your metadata at reasonable intervals (eg. every 25, 50 or 100 pictures) 6 STEPS TO METADATA HEAVEN
  43. 43. What do you understand by Digital Preservation? Why is it important to think about this? DIGITAL PRESERVATION
  44. 44. What do you understand by Digital Preservation? Why is it important to think about this? DIGITAL PRESERVATION
  45. 45. <ul><li>In some ways ‘Digital Preservation’ is the wrong term </li></ul><ul><li>It’s partly about archiving </li></ul><ul><li>It’s much more about making sure that what you photograph this week is still being actively used and enjoyed in 10, 20, 50 years time </li></ul><ul><li>So, Digital Preservation is really about persistent accessibility and re-use </li></ul>DIGITAL PRESERVATION
  46. 46. <ul><li>Some things to consider: </li></ul><ul><li>How usable your content is in 50 years will depend on how good a job you do now </li></ul><ul><li>If you do the best job you can, to the best current standards, with the best kit you can afford, this will significantly enhance your chances </li></ul><ul><li>Loss happens for two main reasons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Failures in process, metadata and quality control during Digitisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big organisational moments like a move or a change in staff </li></ul></ul>DIGITAL PRESERVATION
  47. 47. <ul><li>Don’t </li></ul><ul><li>Worry too much about format shifting or obsolescence </li></ul><ul><li>Do </li></ul><ul><li>Curate your digital objects as you would your collections </li></ul><ul><li>Include digital material in your disaster plan </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in the best storage media (CD, DVD, solid state) you can afford </li></ul><ul><li>Think about lodging a copy of your data somewhere else </li></ul>DIGITAL PRESERVATION
  48. 48. ANY QUESTIONS?
  49. 49. Is anyone doing this already? When might you want to do this? MIGRATING ANALOGUE MEDIA TO DIGITAL
  50. 50. <ul><li>Degradation of storage media </li></ul><ul><li>Consolidation eg. of oral history recordings </li></ul><ul><li>Improving access </li></ul><ul><li>Provision of resources for projects, schools etc. </li></ul>MIGRATING FROM ANALOGUE MEDIA TO DIGITAL
  51. 51. <ul><li>Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><li>Format </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul>THINGS TO CONSIDER
  52. 52. <ul><li>A high-quality analogue source </li></ul><ul><li>Good quality connectors </li></ul><ul><li>A high-speed digital recording interface (ie. USB2, Firewire) </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate capture and encoding software </li></ul><ul><li>A high-quality computer </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate storage medium </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Asset Management software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EQUIPMENT </li></ul></ul>
  53. 53. <ul><li>Quiet </li></ul><ul><li>Away from electromagnetic interference </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LOCATION </li></ul></ul>
  54. 54. <ul><li>The format you choose will depend on: </li></ul><ul><li>The intended delivery platform </li></ul><ul><li>The intended use </li></ul><ul><li>The type of audio material </li></ul><ul><li>The level of quality </li></ul><ul><li>The amount of storage you can provide </li></ul>CHOOSING MEDIA FORMATS
  55. 55. <ul><li>Common Audio formats include: </li></ul><ul><li>MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) format is the most popular format for delivery, but quality can suffer from heavy compression </li></ul><ul><li>AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) is a high-quality uncompressed format suitable for archiving (but file sizes can be huge) </li></ul><ul><li>AAC (Apple Audio Compression) is Apple’s proprietary format, used in podcasts and other media </li></ul><ul><li>WAV (Wave Format) is Microsoft’s compression format, commonly used in PC applications </li></ul>AUDIO FORMATS
  56. 56. <ul><li>A common approach: </li></ul><ul><li>Record in high-quality AIFF or WAV at between 44-48 kilohertz per second </li></ul><ul><li>Archive this copy as a master copy </li></ul><ul><li>Use it to generate lower-quality delivery formats as MP3, WAV or AIFF files at 22khz </li></ul>CAPTURING AUDIO
  57. 57. <ul><li>There are a huge variety of video encoding formats </li></ul><ul><li>Encoding video depends on the balance between quality and storage </li></ul><ul><li>A common approach is to encode using MPEG-2 at anything up to 5mb per second to generate a broadcast-quality archival master </li></ul><ul><li>This can be used to generate lower-quality delivery formats such as MPEG-4 running at 128kb per second (sufficient for web delivery) </li></ul>VIDEO FORMATS
  58. 58. <ul><li>Three options: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Download audio and video files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stream directly in a web browser </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embed your content in a 3 rd party service (eg. iTunes or YouTube) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Delivering digital media online is incredibly resource-intensive </li></ul><ul><li>The user expects a certain quality of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Where possible, use something like YouTube (but watch out for compression!) </li></ul>DELIVERING AUDIO AND VIDEO ONLINE
  59. 59. <ul><li>Always provide an alternate format for people who can’t use video/audio content </li></ul><ul><li>Provide transcripts and/or captioning </li></ul><ul><li>Think about embedding sign language interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Use a format which is supported by standard software (eg. Quicktime or Windows Media Player) which provides user controls </li></ul>THINKING ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY
  60. 60. <ul><li>Dealing with audio and video is a skill </li></ul><ul><li>Poor quality or inconsistent production can be worse than nothing at all </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt, think about working with a skilled partner or if you can afford it with an experienced Digitisation studio </li></ul><ul><li>It’s also expensive – prioritise, and think about how the media will be used and stored </li></ul>MEDIA IS HARD
  61. 61. ANY QUESTIONS?
  62. 62. <ul><li>Key points to consider: </li></ul><ul><li>Digitisation is expensive and time-consuming </li></ul><ul><li>You will not be able to sell your pictures </li></ul><ul><li>There is a long-term cost associated with owing digital material </li></ul><ul><li>How will you sustain this investment from your core budget? </li></ul>THINKING ABOUT MONEY
  63. 63. <ul><li>Key points to consider: </li></ul><ul><li>JISC Digitisation Programme </li></ul><ul><li>HLF ‘Your Heritage’ (only if clearly tied to user benefit) </li></ul><ul><li>Possibly regional grants </li></ul><ul><li>Your organisation </li></ul>SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DIGITISATION
  64. 64. <ul><li>It is incredibly difficult to make money from Digitised collections </li></ul><ul><li>If you have one or two ‘star’ items, think about working with an established picture library such as the Bridgeman Art Library </li></ul><ul><li>Digitised images may be useful for developing products (plates, tea towels, mugs) but only if you secure and manage the appropriate commercial rights </li></ul>THINKING ABOUT MONEY
  65. 65. If you let a photographer take a picture of a poster in your gallery, who owns the copyright? How confident do you feel in managing copyright material? THINKING ABOUT COPYRIGHT
  66. 66. <ul><li>Key points to consider: </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright is a layered right – one picture can have several different copyrights in it </li></ul><ul><li>It’s all about risk management – in general it is better to err on the side of inclusion than caution </li></ul><ul><li>Always start your project with copyright – before you do anything else – because it will inform what you digitise, how you digitise, how you budget and how you will manage your digital files </li></ul><ul><li>Forget about the law – think common sense: what would you want people to do with something you created & depended on for a living? </li></ul>THINKING ABOUT COPYRIGHT
  67. 67. <ul><li>Think about how old something is, and how much it is likely to be affected </li></ul><ul><li>Check your Documentation for any information about Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Try and trace the owner of the copyright and secure their permission </li></ul><ul><li>If you can’t trace them, or they don’t answer, keep a record of your efforts </li></ul><ul><li>When delivering the content, provide a link for people to alert you to new information about the Copyright status </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you have a standard Copyright Statement on your website to inhibit secondary infringement </li></ul>A SIMPLE APPROACH
  68. 68. <ul><li>Be polite! </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific (likely use of the image, format, quality) </li></ul><ul><li>Be ambitious (web rights, print rights, online, in-gallery) </li></ul><ul><li>Have a standard Agreement/Permission form </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to pay for higher-profile works </li></ul><ul><li>But do try and negotiate free licenses and permissions if you can </li></ul><ul><li>Always offer to acknowledge the Copyright holder and seek suitable wording (caption, credit, copyright) </li></ul>SECURING PERMISSION
  69. 69. <ul><li>A combination of due diligence and a takedown policy will cover most eventualities </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt talk to a lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ – take more care of higher-profile items (such as those by well-known artists) </li></ul>A MANAGED RISK
  70. 70. Collections Link JISC Digital Media Digital Services for the Culture Sector (DiSCS) FURTHER SOURCES OF HELP AND ADVICE
  71. 71. ANY QUESTIONS?
  73. 73. THANK YOU! Collect – The Collections Management Trade Fair 26 th June 2009 Free! At the Commonwealth Club in London