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Digitial Initiatives: Digitization

What is digitization?

Digitization is "a set of processes that convert physical resources to a digital form or that create materials — such as a photos taken with a digital camera, or data collected by an electronic measuring device — in a digital format."

Smithsonian Institution. (2010). Creating a Digital Smithonian: Digitization Strategic Plan. p. 3. Retrieved from

Evolving Standards

No one agrees on the "best practices" for digitization of physical objects and/or format for born-digital objects.  The standards will continue to evolve as the technology changes.  The general consensus, though, is to provide digital objects that are the best possible quality available.  This often means digitizing larger files for archiving that may be hidden from the public.  Lower quality, compressed files can easily be generated for presentation purposes.

Guidelines & Best Practices

California Digital Library. (2011, August). CDL Digital File Format Recommendations: Master Production Files (CDL DFFR). Retrieved from

Digital Creation and Preservation Working Group, UMass Amherst Libraries. (2011, May). Guidelines for digitization. Retrieved from

Library of Congress.  Recommended Format Specifications.  Retrieved from

Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative. (2014, January 1). Digitization Guidelines. Retrieved from

Rutgers University Libraries.  The New Jersey Digital Highway: Digitizing Collections. Retrieved from

Books, Articles, Presentations, & Case Studies

Besser, H. (2003). Introduction to imaging. (Revised ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications. Retrieved from

Conway, P. Reformatting: 6.3 digital technology made simple. Retrieved from