Tuesday, September 20, 2005

462 postings later

I began this blog on August 30, 2004 -- more than a year ago. Now it's 462 postings later. When I look back, what stands out to me about digitization over the last year are four things:
  1. The technology keeps getting better. This is one field where the technology does not stand still. Equipment can become outdated quickly, so organizations need to be mindful of keeping equipment -- hardware, software, servers, etc. -- up-to-date.
    • By the way, the two pieces of hardware that I saw this year -- and that stand out in my mind -- are the Kirtas book scanner and the S-T Imaging microfilm reader/scanner for use by library patrons.
  2. The impact of the Google project. No matter what happens long-term with Google Print, this project is having an impact.
    • More people know about digitization and what it is.
    • The media is writing about digitization, copyright and Fair Use.
    • The idea of building massive digital collections no longer seems unrealistic.
    • Publishers see that people want information in digital form (as well as in hardcopy).
    • The technology for large scale projects is providing itself. (Of course, those outside of the Google project are not suppose to know what technology is being used, but history has proven that rumors often are based on core pieces of fact.)
  3. The influence of Brewster Kahle. Brewster Kahle hit me like a "ton of bricks" when he did his presentation at the Library of Congress in December 2004 (part of the LOC's Series on Digital Future). I watched that presentation three times and each time heard/saw something new. Then I began looking at how Kahle was connected to the things that were happening. He is both out in front leading the charge and behind the scenes ensuring that things happen. He is very much worth keeping on your radar.
  4. The things that will cause an organization not to begin a digitization project have not changed. The stoppers remain money, staff, time, equipment, training, shifting priorities... Although money can fix the other problems, getting someone to fund a project to convert materials into electronic form isn't always an easy sell. The funder needs to understand the benefits and some just don't get it.
What also stands out to me is that there is always more to write about in regards to digitizing materials and it is never boring!

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