Thursday, September 14, 2006

Touring digitization facilities

When you get into digitizing materials, you often wonder what other facilities look like and how to they function. The smartest thing to do is to visit facilities -- commercial as well as facilities in similar organizations as your own. What will you learn?
  • What type of digitization do they do? How has that impacted their selection of equipment?
  • How is the area laid out? What needs -- human or equipment -- did they take into account? (Consider environmental factors.)
  • How is the facility staffed? Even if you don't ask this question, the layout and equipment will help you intuit the answer.
  • What additional features did they find important to include? Security system? Waterless fire suppression system? Detailed instructions mounted on the walls for workers?
If you can't visit other sites, then arrange a time to talk to a few by telephone and visit their web sites (which may have good information).

The one lesson you will learn is that not all digitization facilities are the same. Each has different equipment and services, based on the needs of their projects/clientele. That seems like something that you should not have to learn. It should be obvious. But it likely doesn't "hit home" until you see the differences for yourself.

A benefit from doing this is also that you may find resources that you will want to use. Don't want to do microfilm scanning, for example? You may find a facility -- perhaps in a sister insitution -- that will do it for you.

By the way, the Metropolitan NY Library Council is hosting two site visits this fall. One at the New York Botanical Garden's Digital Imaging Center and the other at the Frick Art Reference Library's Digital Imaging. Go to METRO's web site for more information.

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