Title: Digitization as a Mean of Preservation in Developing Countries with a Special Focus on Puerto Rico

Abstract: Digitization as a preservation strategy has tended to be met with caution if not suspicion within the cultural heritage community. However, digitization as a means of preservation is slowly gaining traction. Expectations from the public for online access have increased the importance of digitizing collections of historical and artistic value. Moreover, for developing countries with little or no preservation infrastructure, digitization offers new opportunities to safeguard the past. Digital technologies offer a new preservation paradigm by offering the opportunity to preserve the original through a digital surrogate. While scholars agree that the preferred preservation strategies includes: preservation and conservation of physical copies, the use of microfilm when appropriate and the digitization of select collection, many developing countries do not have the means or the resources to create a comprehensive preservation strategy. Digitization ensures that at least the content of the material that is in danger of being destroyed is not lost to posterity.

This presentation explores the issues of digitization as a form of preservation in developing countries. It specifically focuses on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico as a hypothetical case study. Digitization is analyzed as a positive preservation tool because it offers alternative archival opportunities, creates digital-based employment, and improves access to the collections.

Excerpt: Many developing countries do not have the resources to create a comprehensive preservation strategy. My presentation focuses on digitization as a mean of preserving archival content in developing countries. Digitization ensures that the content of the material is not destroyed and lost to posterity.

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