The Role of Digitization in Building Electronic Collections

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona]On: 27 October 2014, At: 06:50Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Collection ManagementPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>The Role of Digitization inBuilding Electronic CollectionsClifford A. Lynch a ba Coalition for Networked Information , University ofCalifornia Office of the President , USAb Division of Library Automation , University ofCalifornia Office of the President , USAPublished online: 23 Sep 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Clifford A. Lynch (1998) The Role of Digitization in BuildingElectronic Collections, Collection Management, 22:3-4, 133-141, DOI: 10.1300/J105v22n03_12</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified withprimary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,</p><p></p></li><li><p>sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>idad</p><p> Aut</p><p>onom</p><p>a de</p><p> Bar</p><p>celo</p><p>na] </p><p>at 0</p><p>6:50</p><p> 27 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p><p></p></li><li><p>The Role of Digitization in Building Electronic Collections: </p><p>Economic and Programmatic Choices Clifford A. Lynch </p><p>The conversion of materials from printed format to digital representa- tions is no longer experimental. Digitization has been demonstrated and its value has becn proved by a scries of projects, including work at Comell University, the National Agriculture Library, Elsevier Science Publishers, Bell Labs, the University of Michigan, and the Library of Congress. The cost per page for scanning materials into digital form continues to drop as the process becomes more automated, at least for those classes of material that have relatively uniform characteristics and have not severely deterio- rated. Production digitization of other print-like formats, such as micro- film and photographs, remains more experimental (given the great varia- tions in the characteristics of these materials), but some aspects have already been explorcd through several large-scale pilot projects. The usc of digitization technologies to convert analog sound and motion picture recordings to the digital domain is still quite costly and complex. While now used routinely in the entertainment industries (for example, in the production of audio CDs from old,master tapes), the process is not yet viewed as a practical method of transforming most library collections. </p><p>. </p><p>Clifford A. Lynch is Exccutive Director, Coalition for Networked Information, formerly Director of the Division of Library Automation, University of California Office of the Presidcnt. </p><p>Note from the author: This paper is based on my presentation at the RLG symposium Selecting Library and Archive Collections for Digital Reformatting held November 5-6, 1995, in Washington, D.C. </p><p>[Haworth co-indexing cnlry note]: The Role of Digitization in Building Electronic Collections: Economic mid Piograinmatic Choices. Lynch, Clifford A. Co-published simullaiieously in Colleclioii Managentent (The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 22, No. 3/4, 1998. pp. 133-141; and: Going Digitnl: Strategicsfor Access. Preseroorion. nnd Conversion of Collections I D a Digital Fornmr (ed Donald L. DcWitt) The Hnworlli Press. Inc., 1998. pp. 133-141. </p><p>133 </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>idad</p><p> Aut</p><p>onom</p><p>a de</p><p> Bar</p><p>celo</p><p>na] </p><p>at 0</p><p>6:50</p><p> 27 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>134 Goirig Digital: Slralegies for Access, Preservcrtiori, arid Corlversion </p><p>But the vast majority of research library holdings are printed materials, microforms, and photographs. The transformation of these collections into digital form is now within reach, although it represents a massive invest- ment. At the same time, a growing proportion of the new material being acquired by libraries is now available in digital formats, though perhaps at a substantial price premium. The costs of developing systems to provide patron access to digital materials ofall kinds is clearly a large and ongoing investment, as is the continued management of these digital materials. Libraries face both opportunities and potentially unmanageable budgetary demands from all quarters. The questions now facing libraries arise less from the availability of technology than out of the development of strate- gies for collection development and management and supporting resource allocation choices. </p><p>This paper will outline some possible strategies for approaching the transition to collections that incorporate increasing quantities of digital information, and will offer some perspectives that may help in comparing and evaluating these strategies. </p><p>GENERAL ISSUES </p><p>Before considering various types of collections specifically, it is worth examining a few general themes that apply across the various types of material. </p><p>Library users clearly expect more and more material in digital form, but their reasons vary greatly. Much has been written on the general advantages of digital materials over printed materials, and a number of case studies affirm the impact and value of having certain very specific materials in digital form to support various research and instructional programs. But we really know very little about the cost-benefit tradeoffs that might guide us in selecting one strategy over another. There is a great need for even basic measures such as raw usage data for different types of digital material. </p><p>Further, in cases where the intellectual property rights to materials are controlled by organizations outsidc the library community, cost-benefit considerations are muddled by the marketplace. A publisher, for example, will try to charge a premium for materials in elcctronic formats that basi- cally discounts the added value that the library and its patrons would gain from having the material in electronic form, thus weakening the justifica- tion for migration to the electronic version of the material. </p><p>There is clearly a critical mass issue with digital collections, however they may be selected. The availability of small amounts of digital material randomly interspersed through a primarily print collection has been shown </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>idad</p><p> Aut</p><p>onom</p><p>a de</p><p> Bar</p><p>celo</p><p>na] </p><p>at 0</p><p>6:50</p><p> 27 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Stralegies for Selecriirg Co/lec/ions,for Coiri~eisioil to n Digital Forttiat 135 </p><p>again and again to have little value to uscrs bcyond a technological proof of concept. Once the novelty wears off, users tend to avoid the extra effort of accessing the occasional digitized works they may encounter in the course of their library use. Any strategy to incorporate substantial amounts of digital content into the production library collections and services needs to ensure that at least some subset of the library patrons is quickly offered a critical mass of matcrials in digital form. </p><p>Different strategies for approaching critical mass have been suggested, but with little comparison of results. One strategy might be to build up a base of source materials and secondary commentary structured around instructional programs-an extension of an electronic reserves and class reading approach. In particular the ready availability of source material from special collections for large classes (oAen impossible or at least impractical with the physical collections) offers exciting new possibilities for approaching some types of instruction. An alternative approach involves much larger-scale bulk digitization of material on a disciplinary basis, perhaps guided by an editorial board of working scholars. Thus, a digital collection would be available from which researchers and teachers could extract what they needed for various purposes with a high expecta- tion that the required materials would be available in digital form. </p><p>Finally, there are issues of the organization of digital materials and the construction of access systems. Early digitization projects tended quite naturally to focus on the costs of scanning and storage and the technology infrastructure (network bandwidth and workstations) needed to deliver the materials. We now recognize that the cost of constructing or acquiring abstracting and indexing databases and finding-aid systems to assist users in locating and navigating through digital collections is a substantial part of the cost of the large-scale introduction of digital content, particularly if the standards of quality established for access to print materials are to be retained, and if the user is to be assured of a coherent view of collections that increasingly span print and digital materials. </p><p>CANDIDATES FOR DIGITAL COLLECTIONS </p><p>I believe that from the perspective of assigning priorities and develop- ing strategies for the transition to digital formats, library collections can be divided roughly into four categories. </p><p>Current Published Literature </p><p>These are materials that are being acquired from publishers today, including monographs and journals. Here the main question is whether the </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>idad</p><p> Aut</p><p>onom</p><p>a de</p><p> Bar</p><p>celo</p><p>na] </p><p>at 0</p><p>6:50</p><p> 27 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>136 Goirrg Digital: S/ra/egiesfor Access, Pwservalioii, nrrd Conversion </p><p>library wants to acquire the material from the publisher in printed or electronic form (or both), Availability of this class of material in electronic form is largely paccd by publisher marketing decisions and the rate at which publishers can convert to electronic systems. Many of the central issues are economic, and the forces defining the marketplace for published materials in electronic fonn are beyond the scope of this paper. A few specific issues should be noted, however. </p><p>Unlike other types of material that libraries may digitize through thcir own efforts, and which will typically be converted to some kind of bit- mapped format, there is a wide range of formats available from publishers. Each of these formats (bitmap, portable document format, SGML, etc.) raises unique issucs about the added value of the electronic version of the material, as well as about the cost and complexity of providing access to the material and managing it over time. Cost-benefit issues become partic- ularly complex in this arena, particularly when the context of the market- place and its effects on pricing, and hence costs to libraries, are consid- ered. There are also some significant conceptual and technical problems in connecting the electronic offerings from various publishers to the existing abstracting and indexing databases that have traditionally provided a coherent view of disciplinary literatures. From the users perspective, the publisher-by-publisher, uncoordinated migration to electronic formats threatens to fragment the literature. </p><p>The range of currently published materials that are available to the users of a given library is likely to become, if anything, more uniform over time as publishers offer acquire-on-demand programs for their products (particularly at the journal-article level). Libraries can offer access to a wide range of materials without having to purchase them in advance. At the same time, the transition from purchase of materials to licensing means that interlibrary loan will become much less of a factor in equalizing access to information from one library to another. </p><p>Finally, given the massive cancellation programs that most libraries have implemented in the past decade, the majority of the material currently being purchased is very important to patrons. Its value has been reviewed and justified again and again. There is likely to be a high demand for this material in electronic format. If patrons use the material heavily, having it in electronic form is likely to facilitate its use. </p><p>I believe that one large and vocal group of library patrons will argue that currently acquired published literature should receive thc majority of funds for digital content, both to increase the utility and accessibility of this material and to extend its scope through acquisition-on-demand pro- grams. </p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>idad</p><p> Aut</p><p>onom</p><p>a de</p><p> Bar</p><p>celo</p><p>na] </p><p>at 0</p><p>6:50</p><p> 27 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Strategies for Selectitig Collecriorts for Conversion lo a Digiral Formal 137 </p><p>Publislied Literature Already Owned by Libraries </p><p>This base of materials has two parts. The first is the set ofmaterials that rcmains under copyright, where the owning library does not have the option of converting thc matcrial into a digital format without entering into some arrangement with the rights holdcrs. Not much can be said about this typc of material. On one hand, there are opportunities for libraries to enter into joint agreements with rights holders where they provide capital andlor labor for digitization in exchange for local licenses to the digital materials. On the other hand, except for preservation considerations, libraries already hold this material in print and may be reluctant to make further invest- ments to obtain it in digital form, except for the few cases where it is very hcavily uscd and having it in digital form would add significant value. Given the continued legislative moves to extend the term of copyright, the amount of material falling into this category may not decrease much over time. </p><p>One trend, which should encourage the exploration of joint ventures between libraries and rights holders to fund digitization, is the evidence that many scientific and scholarly publishers do not rcgard old journals as. significant sources of revenue and actually want to see them available to the community in digital form (in part, as a way...</p></li></ul>


View more >