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Friday, 30th October 2009

New Report: Digitisation of special collections: Mapping, assessment, prioritisation

From the Executive Summary:

Traditionally, digitisation has been led by supply rather than demand. While end users are seen as a priority they are not directly consulted about which collections they would like to have made available digitally or why. This can be seen in a wide range of policy documents throughout the cultural heritage sector, where users are positioned as central but where their preferences are assumed rather than solicited. Post-digitisation consultation with end users is equally rare. How are we to know that digitisation is serving the needs of the Higher Education community and is sustainable in the long-term?


Key Findings

+ The communities of both intermediary and end users are willing to express their view on prioritising digitisation of special collections; the participation in the project was a matter of good will and the good response (see p. 25) makes evident that there is definitely interest of the professional communities to express their opinion on the matter of digitisation needs. It should be noted here that the community of intermediaries sees collections on a finer level of granularity; end users often refer to super-collections such as the holdings of an institution

+ The top user-driven priority criteria that emerged from consultation with both intermediaries and end users are: Improve access; Enhance impact on research and/on studies; Enhance impact on teaching; Allow for collaboration; Improve access outside

+ The geographic and institutional boundaries of collections nominated for digitisation are wider – this study was aimed at the higher education institutions in the UK, but 14% of the nominated collections were from institutions outside of the higher education sector, and 6% were from overseas (see p. 27)

+ The complementarity of collections is strongly favoured by both users’ communities (see section 5)

+ The criteria for digitisation nominated by intermediary and end users include general criteria but also a number of criteria where metrics can be applied; thus allowing to establish a ranking mechanism (see p. 45

Access the Complete Report (62 pages; PDF)

Access the Final Report Appendices (94 pages; PDF)

Source: JISC, Research Information Network


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