Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Learning about digitization

We envision that people who are involved in digitization programs have attend the best possible workshops and conferences in preparation for the work they are doing. Every year, my graduate students interview people for an assignment, who are involved in digitization programs. What they find is that many people learned how to digitize "on-the-job". That learning was supplemented with reading, workshops and perhaps some conferences. But it is in doing that people pick up the most useful knowledge. I know -- that is not shocking. Shocking though are some comments about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the workshops people attended.

As someone who gives workshops, I'm wondering what I and others can do to make our workshops more relevant to those involved in digitization programs. Is the difficulty that every program is different and a workshop may not touch deeply on a topic that is relevant to a specific program? Is it that hands-on experience can be impossible to build into some workshops? Or is it that by the time people attend workshops, they already know the information that the workshop is going to cover?

If you have thoughts on this topic, I'd like to hear them (as would others who give digitization workshops). If you've learned about digitization in varies ways, what method was most useful to you? What would have made the workshops more useful?

If you don't want to leave a comment here, you can e-mail me at hurst {at} hurstassociates {dot} com . If you don't want to tell me at all, consider telling your local library consortium which is likely planning some digitization workshops and could use the input.

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Mal Booth said...

I think some generic learning in workshops offsite is useful, but the frustration expressed by many staff we have had on this kind of program is that it is generic and not specific enough to the equipment and software they use or the programs they are involved in. That means they can't immediately apply their learning in an operational environment. So, last year I applied for funding to set up a new training program that was more like hands-on guidance and coaching from experts on-site in our workplace. Also, we were proposing an integrated program of tailored training to address different needs for staff engaged at all levels from senior executive management down to operational levels. The concept was put together by a training provider and myself (a collections manager in a museum). Unfortunately it was not seen as being beneficial by the department offering funding for new initiatives and it did not become successful. I still think it is the way forward, especially in such a dynamic and specific environment. Generic training will never accomplish as much.

Anonymous said...

My institution (an academic library) is sending me to the "School for Scanning" being put on by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Minneapolis this May. I am very new to digitization but one of my new job responsibilities is to take over the digitization projects our library is involved with. I'd be interested in hearing if others have attended the School for Scanning and if they found it helpful, especially for someone very new to digitization.