More than 10 years ago, when I was a corporate librarian, we purchased a high quality -- and very expensive scanner -- in order to help the library build a database of internal documents. The work we did was useful and appreciated, but it also taught us much about scanning (now called digitization), with the biggest lesson learned being that it was not a easy as the vendors said. Scanning took more time and more skill than they implied.
At a different company, we began building an online search service and used a scanner, etc., to help load articles (with the permission of the publisher). Besides continuing to learn about the technical aspects of scanning, I also began to think more about its real usefulness given the amount of work that goes into a project. When does is the cost and time involved worth it? Is there are real plan in place or is the scanning an expensive whim? (Sadly, sometimes it is only an expensive whim.)
Over the last six years, I have become quite involved in digitization, looking at how libraries and cultural heritage organizations (e.g., historical societies) can benefit from digitization. I have been involved in several digitization planning projects (including a project currently with the Capital District Library Council in Albany, NY) and done workshops, presentations, and even a taught a graduate-level class on the topic.
As with any topic, the more you know, the more there is to learn...and it all impacts how you view would done previously. Given what I know now about digitization, I would have approached the corporate projects differently. But hindsight -- especially in digitization -- is 20/20.
More later on lessons learned...