How to Digitize Your Library on a Budget

Posted by Kevin D'Arcy on Jun 3, 2014 9:47:00 AM

Digitization of Library Systems and ServicesIntegrated library systems that provide quick, convenient access to myriad resources are the way of the future. Indeed, the transition is already taking place. Digitization of library resources is the goal institutions are aiming for to maintain their status as centres of knowledge and information in the digital age.

The digitization of library systems and services is no small feat. It requires format transitions for a variety of items, from books to manuscripts, historical information to microfilm, newspaper collections and beyond. It also means the development and implementation of online databases for improved information sharing and distribution. Such a transition can come with quite the price tag. 

However, developing a fully digitized, integrated library system doesn’t have to break the budget. Here are some steps you can take to digitize your library on a budget.

Select Materials for Digitization

Much of the cost you will incur centers around the types and volume of material you have at your library. Different formats will require varying equipment, preparation methods and digitization practices. However, keep in mind that some of your resources may not necessarily be suited for digitization. Remember that the purpose of library digitization is not only to provide better access to information, but also to preserve materials. If digitization is not the best means of preservation, it may not be the best course of action. Understanding what materials you will digitize, and how to prepare them for the process, can help drive down costs in the long run.

Partner with the Right Equipment Provider 

It’s not always the digitization process itself that makes the budget balloon. Often, it is the costs associated with managing an integrated library system, or post-digitization. Thus, when formulating a budget, you want to consider both the initial digitization costs as well as the after costs. For example, there will be additional labour required to get the system operating efficiently, rescanning or re-photographing to rectify problems, editing and additions to improve product quality, and more. Understanding the associated costs of library digitization will help you formulate a budget and stay within it.

Partner with the Right Equipment Provider 

Choosing the right equipment for your project can significantly drive down costs. That’s why it’s pivotal to partner with a provider who understands the digitization needs of your library, and can offer the solutions that best facilitate the process – for the best possible value. What kind of documents or collections are you digitizing? Do you need specialized scanners for fragile and historical documents? By partnering with the vendor who truly understands your needs and has the right solutions, you can get the effective service required to digitize your library while still remaining within budget.

With the digital age in full force, library digitization is a necessary process in order for libraries and archives to meet the demands of their patrons and continue as cultural centres of knowledge and information. By understanding the steps you need to take to make the digitization of your library a reality, you can not only achieve your goals, but do so on a reasonable budget.

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