Why Digitize?

Digitization is a wonderful thing for researchers.  It can put primary sources right at your fingertips without you ever having to leave your house.  All of us enjoy doing research in our fuzzy slippers.  For a lot of us, however, we have no idea what goes into making these sources available.  There is a lot of time, effort, and cost involved in the smallest of digitization projects.  I hope some of us come away with more of an appreciation for those institutions who delve into the ever-changing digital world.

For most of us, these problems are not biggies.  I only have certain files that I would like to preserve – mostly text – that are reformatted everytime Microsoft comes out with a new version of Word.  Not really a big deal.  But, I do have certain things that I saved one Zip disks – anyone remember those??? – that I can only get to because I kept the external Zip drive that I paid an arm and a leg for.  I don’t even know if you can get a computer with an internal Zip anymore.  Now, my files are not all that important, but I can only imagine what the people at the Domesday Project went through!

All this means is that we need to be very careful and do our homework before we invest our life savings into a digitization project that might be completely obsolete in 2 years.  Oh, and always keep the originals!!!

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