This is an interesting talk by digital librarian Brewster Kahle that he gave at the EG 07 conference (available through TED.com). He talks about reformatting of many kinds of items - books, audio recordings, film and video. His observations about what it will take to digitize and make available the world's information are interesting. He correctly observes that the digitization is best done by those close to the source if one expects any sort of quality and consistency. I believe you can take that a step further and outsource the work if you have adequate quality control processes in place. Some of what is available in the Internet Archive looks like it was "brute force" digitized, but it is there...at least for now. I really don't know about what the preservation plan is for the content that is there. Items are backed up, but as platforms change I wonder what will happen. This is always a concern I have given the massive amount of effort that has been put into creating these items. Think 8-track tapes....WordStar documents, zip drives, floppy disks.
One major category that Brewster doesn't address is newspapers. We certainly can't reformat newspapers and make them searchable for 10 cents a page. (At least not yet.) But the added value for access and preservation of newspaper content makes it worth doing even if it costs more than 10 cents per page. To have digital access to newspaper content - that is huge for so many constituencies. So, that is what we are working on - how do you create content of high quality at an affordable price point with a replicable model?
The world seems abuzz today since Google announced it has worked deals with Heritage Micrographics and ProQuest to digitize historic newspapers. The New York Times ran a story about it and Google blogged about it.
The question becomes: what does this do for those of us who already digitize historic newspapers? Will it stifle our work? Will it fill in the gaps we haven't digitized yet? Will Google guarantee the preservation of the digitized newspaper images? The list of questions is nearly endless.
Google has released their highly anticipated browser - Google Chrome - beta for Windows. Our Evaluation Form (the new version on display during meta | mophosis 2008) works well in the new browser as well as Firefox.
Speaking of Firefox, Mozilla also has some new things cooking...
meta-morphosis is a place to discuss and think about issues related to creating digital objects from microfilm. Preservation and Digital Programs at the University of Kentucky Libraries is heavily involved in this area and we are interested in advancing the conversation and helping others to realize success with this work. Issues will include film evaluation, imaging, metadata creation, storage, digital preservation, etc.