Friday, January 16, 2009

Digitisation for Local History Collections part 2

Standards and Guidelines for Digitisation


Internationally accepted standards will be observed for RHSV digitisation projects. Metadata standards are used for digitisation of images. The standards provide an agreed set of fields in a standard format to aid the accessibility of an image and its associated records by any computer on the Internet. Dublin Core is the metadata standard used by major image digitisation projects in Australia. The fifteen Dublin Core metadata elements are:

Title, Creator, Subject, Description, Publisher, Contributor, Date, Type, Format, Identifier, Source, Language, Relation, Coverage, Rights

Not all elements have to be included as fields in the cataloguing record. The names of fields do not have to be identical to the names of the elements as metadata tags in report forms connect the fields to the metadata element.

However catalogue records for images should contain fields relating to the basic metadata elements especially Title, Creator, Subject, Description, Date.

In initial digitisation projects preference may be given to items with detailed / reliable cataloguing information.


A thesaurus is used for standardisation of terminology for subject headings

Authority files

Standard use of names for people, places and organisations used in Subjects field

Project Manual

Detailed manual for the project to be prepared

  • Establish guidelines
  • Provide works sheets
  • Prepare examples

Resolution and size of scanned images


  • 72 or 75 dpi sufficient when viewing images on computer and Internet
  • 300 + dpi for printing on paper - at output size

Size of image

  • Normally – size of the original scanned at 300 dpi (if scanning for preservation)
  • Normally – size of original scanned at 300 dpi (if scanning for printing on paper) Scanning may be carried out at a higher dpi depending on the quality of print required.
  • items such as lantern slides, glass negatives and other slides should be scanned at 600 dpi so that the scan is equivalent to that of an item 20 cm x 25 cm scanned at 300 dpi The image resolution can the be reduced for screen use .
  • Fixed size of image on screen (for Internet, largest dimensions no larger than 520 pixels – probably 300 pixels may suffice).
  • Ability to enlarge image on screen for computer catalogue (DB/TextWorks) (larger image required)

Issues determining publishing images on the Internet

Size of file should be small to ensure that:

  • Users can view image as a reference copy but cannot successfully enlarge image
  • Image files download quickly

Therefore items to be

  • Scanned at 300 dpi and saved on to CD as Tiff files
  • Resaved with resolution of 75 dpi and saved as jpeg for use with computer catalogue
  • Resaved after resizing image for Internet – this can be done in a batch using a Thumbnails program (Batch Thumbs or Easy Thumbnails )

Physical resources

Current equipment (2005)

  • A4 scanner (purchased 2003)
  • A4 fill platen scanner (in Images Room – purchased 1995)
  • Attachment for scanning negatives and slides
  • Digital camera
  • Computer
  • Scanning and image software
  • CD-ROM writer for initial storage of images
  • DB/TextWorks for indexing and accessing images

Further equipment required (2005)

  • A3 scanner with attachments for scanning slides etc
  • Pigment ink printer A3 size (eg Epsom 2100)
  • Computer with sufficient capacity for graphics project
  • Lighting for existing camera stand
  • Digital camera for taking images of large and / or fragile items
  • CD-ROM disks
  • Back-up system
  • USB pen

Specialised software

  • Full version of Adobe Photoshop


  • Table
  • Computer Chairs x 2


Grant money for

  • Equipment and software
  • Furniture
  • Managing project
  • Associated operating costs


Roles and responsibilities of the project team

(To be decided)

Current staffing

  • Volunteers will require training
  • Names of volunteers who may be involved in project

Physical space required in Images Room

  • Scanner attached to computer
  • Additional table and computer chairs

Storage of digital images

  • Master copy of CD-ROM should be held separately
  • More than one copy of CD-ROM should be made
  • Copy of CD-ROM (not master) used to view images
  • One copy of CD-ROM should be stored off-site
  • Awareness of advances in technology to ensure that images can be accessed on equipment or migrated to new system

Steps for possible digitisation projects

This is a long term project that needs to be divided into a series of short term projects or stages. Below are suggestions for tackling possible projects with steps involved:

Steps related to digitising photographs

Start with Collection Treasures or themes such as Architecture or Personalities in Victorian History

  • Revise entries in database
  • Scan image at 300 dpi, save as Tiff files and store image on CD-ROM
  • Resave image at 72 dpi, save as jpeg file and store image on CD-ROM
  • Link image to catalogue record
  • Resize batch of images for use on the Internet
  • Link image to database entry

Steps related to digitising postcards

  • Revise entries in database
  • Scan image at 300 dpi, save as Tiff files and store image on CD-ROM
  • Resave image at 72 dpi, save as jpeg file and store image on CD-ROM
  • Link image to catalogue record
  • Resize batch of images for use on the Internet
  • Link image to database entry

Steps related to glass slides

  • Revise entries in database
  • Scan image at 600 dpi, save as Tiff files and store image on CD-ROM
  • Resave image at 72 dpi, save as jpeg file and store image on CD-ROM
  • Link image to catalogue record
  • Resize batch of images for use on the Internet
  • Link image to database entry

Other outcomes of Digitisation Project

The above information refers primarily to digitisation of images.

Other outcomes of the digitisation project will include:

  1. Scanning of documents / manuscripts and pages from other book material to save as image files or use OCR software to convert to text files.
  2. Scanning of documents to save pages as image files and store on CD-ROM for indexers to use for indexing projects.
  3. Scanning fragile collections such as the lantern slides and making the slides available as slide shows either on computers in the library or on the Internet.
  4. Expansion of service to affiliated societies by extending cataloguing assistance already provided to societies to include:

  • Providing guidelines specifically for digitisation projects in historical societies
  • Digitisation workshops for societies
  • Promoting standards for digitisation projects


Image digitisation of local history collections Victorian Public Libraries

Capture your collections: small museums version

National Library of Australia: digitisation policy

Dublin Core Metadata

Digitisation Plan for Local History Collections

This digitisation plan was produced when planning the digitisation of RHSV collections in 2005.

The information in this digitisation plan was used as part of a Digitisation Workshop held at the Royal Historical Society in 2008.

The information in this digitisation plan is published as a guide for historical societies planning to undertake digitisation projects and writing a digitisation plan for their society.

The first section looks at reasons for digitisation collections.

The second section looks at standards and guidelines for digitisation projects.

Digitisation Plan for RHSV Collections

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria has collected material relating to the history of Victoria since the inception of the Society in 1909, resulting in a rich and diverse collection covering social, economic, political, legal and cultural aspects of Victoria’s history. The collection, consisting primarily of printed material, manuscripts and images, is used by researchers, post-graduate students, authors and commercial enterprises.

Advances in information technology including the Internet provide greater accessibility to information resources by researchers. The Society recognises the opportunity provided by new developments in information technology to improve access to the collection, promote the collection and aid in the preservation of collection items.

Digitisation goals

By digitising collections the Society will:

  • Improve access to the RHSV Collection by enabling researchers, regardless of location, to access digitised materials
  • Promote an understanding of the history of Victoria through provision of digitised items
  • Increase access to and help preserve fragile items in the collection by provision of digital copies
  • Promote standards and guidelines to affiliated societies undertaking local history digitisation projects
  • Provide digital copies of items to users in a variety of formats

Reasons for digitising collections

Access – Improve access to collection items by making digital copies available to a wide range of users

  • Via computer catalogue for researchers at RHSV
  • Via the Internet – providing access to anyone in the world at a time convenient to them
  • Make images in fragile items such as glass slides and glass negatives available to researchers through creation of digital images


  • Preserve rare and fragile items by providing digital copies
  • Protect the collection from potential damage due to over-handling of items
  • Digitising of items forms part of the RHSV’s preservation copying program

Promotion of the RHSV collection

  • Extent of collection
  • Treasures of the collection
  • Encourage use of the collection by a wide range of users

Publication of digital materials of items from the collection

  • Inclusion of digital images of items in in-house publications
  • Inclusion of digital images of items / digital materials in online resources:

- Website

- Online exhibitions

Provision of digital images as required for users in a range of formats

Potential users of digitised items

  • Researchers using the catalogue / databases at the RHSV
  • Researchers accessing RHSV databases via the Internet
  • RHSV staff and members requiring digital images for publications, displays etc
  • Users requiring images for publication and other uses
  • Viewers of online resources
  • Users requiring scanned text converted using OCR

Digitised materials will be used as:

  • Images attached to records in the library catalogue
  • Images attached to records on a database on the Internet
  • Images stored on CD-ROM to be accessed if digital copies of images are required
  • Specific images made available on


- Floppy disks

- Email

- Other formats (constantly changing)

  • Images or documents in websites, online exhibitions and other forms of online publication
  • Printed on paper (surrogate copies)

Issues to be considered concerning digitisation of collection materials:

  • Developing copyright / access right and moral rights policy / procedure
  • Determining potential items or categories of items for digitisation
  • Prioritising potential items or categories of items for digitisation
  • Checking copyright status of potential items for digitisation
  • Ensuring that copyright status of new material is determined when brought into the collection
  • Ensuring whether or not permission for possible reformatting of the item is granted is noted and signed by donor on the Donor Form
  • Developing Policy on Preservation Copying of Collection Materials
  • Revising information in database entries in line with meta data standards for publishing digital images online
  • Determining specifications for digitising images for RHSV digitisation projects
  • Determining specifications for publishing digital images on the Internet
  • Determining conditions under which digital material will be made available to the public for private and corporate use
  • Formulating charging structure for provision of digital material for purchase by users
  • Revising agreement on use of RHSV materials purchased by users to include the use of digital material

Potential items and collections of items for digitisation

  • Items not in copyright
  • Items for which RHSV holds copyright or has permission from copyright owner to copy


  • Photographs
  • Postcards – Several books of postcards have already been scanned as a pilot digitisation project
  • Glass slides / glass negatives
  • Maps
  • Artworks
  • Large and / or fragile photographs
  • Albums of photographs
  • Manuscripts, scrapbooks, ephemera and other publications


  • Collection treasures
  • Themes