Friday, January 16, 2009

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

No comments: