ALCTS Board Endorses Digitization Capture Recommendations

At ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this past June, the ALCTS Board of Directors endorsed “Minimum Digitization Capture Recommendations.” A Task Force of the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) Preservation Standards and Practices Committee was commissioned to develop minimum standards for the digital capture or reformatting of documents for preservation purposes. The Task Force was chaired by Ian Bogus of the University of Pennsylvania. The Recommendations are available on the ALCTS website.

The “Minimum Digitization Capture Recommendations” were “created as a guideline for libraries digitizing content with the objective of producing a sustainable product that will not need to be re-digitized. Institutions can feel secure that if an item has been digitized at, or above, these specifications, they can depend on it to continue to be viable in the future. In some cases, institutions may want to request a digital copy to preserve themselves further safeguarding materials by preserving them in multiple locations.

“The scope of this document is narrow. It only speaks to the technical specifications of the digitized content itself and not to the larger issue of digitally preserving said content. Issues such as light spectrums, equipment calibration, staffing expertise, file types, compression schemes and other subjects about producing good digital objects is also out of scope of this document. Citations to other resources are provided throughout. Most explore topics at a deeper level than is intended here.

“There are two general categories of media discussed: static and time-based media. Static media is a term that encompasses common library collections such as books, photographs, maps, and microfilm that can usually be represented by image surrogates. Many resources differentiate between reflective media, where light bounces off the surface, and transmissive media, where light passes through the object. For the purposes of the recommendations, both reflective and transmissive media are covered in the static media section. The nature of the various formats, playback mechanisms, the requirement of specific orders and timings must be captured to represent the object correctly make digitization of time-based media challenging.”