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An Introduction to
Misheck Nyaluso
University of Malawi
College of Medicine

Overview of Presentation

What is Digitization all about?

What is a Digital Library?

Reasons for Digitization

Planning for Digitization

What is Digitization?
Digitisation is the process of converting
analog material (paper, artifacts, film,
tapes, books) to a digital format, readable
by an electronic device

What is a Digital Library?

Digital libraries are organizations that provide
the resources, including specialized staff, to
select, structure, offer intellectual access to,
interpret, distribute, preserve the integrity
of, and ensure the persistence over time of
collections of digital works so that they are
readily and economically available for use by
a defined community or set of communities.
Digital Library Federation Annual Report,

Why do we need to

You should be able to explain clearly why

you want to carry out a Digitisation
exercise (is it to enhance accessibility,
Improve preservation of rare and fragile
materials or improve the visibility of under
utilized research docs and archival

Highlight the benefits of the exercise to

your institution

Planning for Digitization

Needs Assessment (determine your users)
What are you going to digitize and why?
(determine a criteria of selecting materials
for digitization)
How are you going to digitize? (in-house
or out sourced)
Consider copyright issues
Determine the cost based on the option
Come up with a work plan

Who are the expected users?

A needs assessment should be carried out

to determine potential users and their
specific needs.
- who are they, general users or staff
members, professionals, researchers etc?

How these are going to access the digitized

collection (internally or remotely)?

What are you going to digitize

and why?

Materials to be digitized should be

carefully selected.

A Criteria for selecting such materials

should be set clearly and consistently

The criteria should march the user needs

Are the materials copyrighted

or not??
Copyright issues need to be tackled before
materials are digitized
Determine which materials are in public
domain and which ones may require
seeking permissions from the rights
holders e.g. publishers, authors, creators,
composers etc.
When you are not sure, it is advisable to
seek guidance from relevant authorities
such copyright boards/societies

How is the work going to be


Digitization work can be carried in two

- in-house
- out-source
A thorough consideration should be made
on merits and de-merits of each option

In-house digitization work?

Carrying out a digitization work in-house

requires a lot of resources such as
- Staff (who will be involved? Do they
have relevant knowledge and skills)
- Equipment (hardware; computers,
scanners etc and software; digital
library software; image, audio, video
editing software, OCR software etc).

Out-sourced digitization work?

Digitization work is a tedious job and requires
expertise and special skills, and when such
skills are not available within your organisation,
an out-sourcing option can be considered.
Using specialists may take off the burden of
acquiring specialised equipment and software
for the job.
This though may depend on availability of
individuals or firms that have capabilities of
handling your work.

Costing the work?

Digitization work must be properly
budgeted for.
Sources of funds for such work may be
from within the existing budgetary
allocation or an external sponsor
If an in-house option is preferred, then it is
a must that all budgetary elements such as
staff skills and man hours, equipment,
scanning are given serious consideration
If out-sourcing, quotes should be sourced

Work Plan
Any Digitization project should be well
planned with specific time lines and
Reasonable time should be devoted to
scanning and OCR because its very timeconsuming.
Ideally, the plan should be SMART
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic
and Timely

Cokie, G. Anderson and David, C. Maxwell.
Starting a digitisation center, 2004
SITTS, M. K. (2000). Handbook for digital
projects: a management tool for
preservation and access, Andover M.A.
North East Document Conservation Centre.
Rajasekharan K (2007), Building up a
Digital Library with Greenstone, Kerala
Institute of Local Administration