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DIY digitisation, good or bad?

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Our digitisation workflow is a long and complex one that takes well over a year from the time we start gathering another batch to digitise, to the time we finally make the digitised items publicly available.

Because it takes so long, we often gets requests to bypass our existing procedures by scanning or photographing works using standard desktop scanners or cameras. What do others think of this? As long as we comply with our digitisation standards and properly check the quality of the results, would it be acceptable to bypass our established digitisation procedures?

So far we have only done this for items we don't intend to preserve long term, but we are facing increasing pressure to also do it for more valuable special collections items
asked Feb 18, 2016 by bernieh (590 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
As long as the imaging device you use is capable of creating the quality of scans you want, I don't see how changing the device you use to create the scan would be a problem.  

There are some things to check and to consider in order to make sure that happens, of course.  I would personally double-check that the optical resolution of the cheaper desktop scanners (not the interpolated resolution) is sufficient to meet your resolution requirements, and that the camera set-up will give you the kinds of images you're looking for (e.g., resolution, lighting, camera stand, etc.).  

The bigger concern (in my opinion) is all of the administrative questions that need to be answered: Are you able to organize and preserve these new outputs in a way that is consistent with (or part of) your existing procedures?  How will you decide what bypasses the existing procedures?  Who will be responsible for this new scanning?  What are the cost implications?  How will you provide access to the files?  Would it be better to improve the current workflow instead of adding a new one?

Hope that helps!
answered Apr 5, 2016 by sarah.barsness (1,240 points)