Creating accessible digital imagery
Birdsey, Clare L
Abstract: As technology improves, the desire to replace analogue material with digital reproductions grows. The disadvantages, both financial and practical, of using new analogue material to extend the life of old analogue material are well known. However, the infrastructure needed to use digital media, as an alternative to the use of analogue surrogates, is often unachievable by many institutions. Unlike self-visible media, digital files require a matrix of hardware and software to facilitate their retrieval. Further investment is required to preserve and make available in the future the digital storage media. Digital access initiatives, therefore, can only be undertaken after careful planning. The development and implementation of one digital access programme are the subject of this article. A pilot study to digitise fragile and degrading material from the advent of photography was completed in August 1999. A digital strategy, a methodology for digitisation, and a plan for the dissemination of the material to a wider audience were developed based on the ability of the organisation in possession of the collection to maintain a programme of digitisation.