Student: Laurin Paradise

Title: Digitization of Library and Archival Collections: Benefits & Concerns

Abstract: This presentation states some of the benefits of digitizing collections, including providing online access, letting fragile materials be used less frequently, making text documents searchable, and creating digital surrogates that can be manipulated and modified. The trouble is that digitization projects are very labor and cost-intensive and so libraries, archives and museums don’t have the funds to undertake them for more than minimal portions of their collection. Private-sector companies such as Google have increasingly been taking on digitization projects. It would be problematic to think that this is the solution however, because their dedication is to generating revenue, and issues within their projects have shown that they don’t have the same priorities of service, access and preservation that libraries do, and this could have a grave impact on the digital scholarly record that is left behind.

Excerpt: An overview of the benefits of digitization projects, and a review of how much archives and libraries can offer as opposed to commercial mass scanning projects when it comes to the digitization of the scholarly record.