Digitisation as a method of preservation? Final report of a working group of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association)

TitelDigitisation as a method of preservation? Final report of a working group of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association)
AuteursWeber, Hartmut, and Marianne Dörr
Aantal pagina's27
UitgeverEuropean Commission on Preservation and Access
SamenvattingNewspapers, books, manuscripts and archives have for decades been filmed at public expense, in order to protect them from the endogenous deterioration of paper, or from other causes of damage which threaten books and archive material, and to ensure the permanence of the information they contain. Duplicate microfilms, rather than endangered originals, are produced to researchers. As deterioration progresses rapidly, a joint Bund-Länder (federal-state) working group in Germany has, in conjunction with a conference organised by the Ministers of Culture of the German states, recommended a further extension of filming. The hectic developments in network and data technology, with their constantly improving capacity for the transmission of document images, opens the way to new forms of use. The victory parade of the Internet and the vista of virtual digital libraries, offering ubiquitous and swift access of consistently high quality to documents, must in future be incorporated in the concept of any preservation programme. With this in mind, the sub-committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Association) responsible for questions of preservation suggested in the spring of 1995 the setting up of a working group to discuss questions of digitisation, in particular digitisation of microfilm. The group was to consist of librarians, archivists and technical experts currently working in the field, and would explore the demands of quality assurance, and the possibilities and limits of the new techniques. Investigation of the technical state of digitisation of microfilm and changing compatibilities of microforms and digital conversion forms were at the centre of the group's work. Filming and digitisation tests were carried out with standardised test materials and the results evaluated. The group prescribed minimum standards for the printoutquality of microforms (material, image quality and filming organisation) for problem-free digitisation. It also set requirements for high-quality digitisation, relying on the quality index for the reproduction quality of manuscripts, as this is used as a quality standard for microfilming. In addition to the widespread black and white film and bitonal digitisation, the possibilities of the digitisation of colour microfilm were also considered. In addition there were discussions on the processing of microfilm and on the hardware and software provision for quality control and use of data. The vital questions of data security and migration in digitisation projects were a central theme. Aspects of financial viability were taken into account at all points. From the findings of the working group a strategy for the introduction of digitisation into preservation projects could be derived: microfilm has continuing priority as a recording and storage medium on grounds of quality and 'future proofing'. As a medium of production for required documents, the digital form, with its advantages of swift and remote access, in a quality depending on the intended use, should be used. Direct digitisation can achieve a result of higher quality in only a few cases. The final report, under the title 'Digitisation of endangered library and archival material' was compiled by the authors, with participation by Hartmut Haux and Martin Fock-Althaus, with the support of all members of the working group. It was finalised in the summer of 1996. It documents the state of development and offers recommendations to serve as technical and organisational guidelines for filming and conversion projects (particularly those in the public domain). The working group is aware that the speedy development of technology in this area means that conclusions will not have long-term validity. However, the problems here considered cover the field of digitisation in all its complexity, and can thus serve where appropriate as a model checklist for the preparation of projects.
ToelichtingBeschikbaar in PDF (gedigitaliseerde papieren versie) via http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/detail?accno=ED417749
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  • 29-06-2010