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Chapter 2 - Digital Objects - GuayT - IbrahimH

Chapter 2 - Digital Objects - GuayT - IbrahimH

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Chapter Two: Digital Objects
1
Chapter Two: Digital Objects

by
Timothy Guay
Hanem Ibrahim
Southern Connecticut State University
ILS-655-S70 - Digital Libraries
Dr. Mary Brown
Spring 2010

Chapter Two: Digital Objects
2
Introduction

Most libraries hold a wide range of formats including manuscripts, print, and visual and
audio materials from all periods, in many different sizes and conditions. All of these items
may be candidates for the process of digitization. The process of converting any physical or
analogue item into a digital representation or facsimile is called digitization and these
converted items are Digital Objects. Objects that are often digitalized include individual
documents, pound volumes (prints, manuscripts, photographs, prints, and transparencies),
microfilm and microfiche, video and audio, maps, drawings, art works, textiles, and physical
three-dimensional (3-D) objects (Deegan & Tanner, 2002). When these items are converted to
the digital form, they need different treatment or handling. This may require using deferent
methods and options (such as digitalized photography), depending on the potential use of the
digital collection as well as the resources available. This chapter contains more detailed
information about some of the most popular Digital Objects including their different forms or
formats, their history, and the potential outlook for these formats.

Definition of Digital Objects

A digital object as defined by Kahn & Wilensky (1995) is \u00b3a data structure whose
principal components are digital material, or data, plus a unique identifier for this material,
called a handle.\u00b4 This digital object is then deposited in one or more repositories to provide
access for others. The digital object will then receive a handle and will be registered with a
system of handle servers. To deposit or access a digital object, one must use a repository
access protocol (RAP). Once stored and registered, it is then considered a registered digital
object which may be used for widespread availability (Kahn & Wilensky, 1995). The digital

Chapter Two: Digital Objects
3
collection as identified by ODLIS (Reitz, 2010) is a collection of library or archival materials
converted to machine-readable format for preservation or to provide electronic access.
The Digitization Processes

Digital objects begin life in one of two ways. They start first as a digitized file
produced as a surrogate for materials that exist in analog format. The second way is as a "born
digital" entity, with no analog counterpart (Schreibman, 2007) All digital data has the same
underlying structure. This structure is composed of a \u00b3bit\u00b4 binary digit, which is an electronic
impulse that can be represented by two states \u00b3on,\u00b4 or \u00b3off.\u00b4 These \u00b3on\u00b4 or \u00b3off\u00b4 states can
also written as \u00b31\u00b4 or \u00b30\u00b4 and almost any kind of information can be represented in these
seemingly simple structures as patterns of the most intricate complexity can be built up, and
anything can be digitized (Deegan & Tanner, 2002). The processes of digitization are
numerous and include: Images scanning, microfilming and then scanning of the photographic
surrogates, re-recording video and audio on to digital media, rekeying of textual content, OCR
of scanned textual content, tagging text and other digital content to create a marked-up digital
resource, digital photography (especially for 3-D objects), or large-format items as art works
(Deegan & Tanner, 2002). The final digital objects of the digitization process can be text
documents, images of pages, and multimedia which may includes sound, video, or software.
These digital objects have changed their formats according to the difference of digitization
process. The following passages of this chapter will deal with many different types of digital
object formats and their importance.

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