Thursday, September 02, 2004

Using digitization to help with competitive intelligence

Libraries and archives tend to digitize historic -- old -- materials, but companies might use digitization to build databases of competitive intelligence information. For example, a company might digitize old hardcopy memos and reports that it wrote on its competitors in order to have that history in electronic form (and searchable). The company might also digitize photos of locations or products. The company would need to ensure that it does not violate copyright when doing this, so it would be best if the company digitize materials that it had created (and thus owned the rights to).

Companies also digitize for other reasons, for example:

* To create electronic files on its own products (e.g., digitizing old engineering drawings, etc.).

* To collect and analyze materials to support a litigation.

Unlike projects done by libraries and archives which try to gain much public attention, these digitization projects are done "quietly" and without fanfare. Lessons learned are not published and you'll see few articles or conference papers on them. However, they do exist and are an employment or internship opportunity for students interested in digitization. How would a student find such a program for an internship opportunity? Students should talk to corporate librarians, since they would be aware of such projects, and do lots of networking. Finding these opportunities is not impossible, but it may take patience.

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