5.21 Digitization

Background

The increasing use of technology to locate and access appropriate information resources implies that those resources are either created in digital format or converted to digital format. Several areas of digitization that the university has explored could be better coordinated for improved access. These include

  • media streaming (both audio and video)
  • e-reserves (scanning articles, book chapters, documents, images, etc.)
  • electronic records retention (transcripts and other student records)
  • presentations (integration into PowerPoint, video presentations, Web presence, or Instructional Management Systems [WebCT] course materials).

In addition, the university could expand digitization to new areas to facilitate access:

  • e-theses (proposal submitted to Graduate School)
  • e-archive of faculty publications ("pre-prints" and limited distribution of scholarly articles)
  • e-portfolios (MnSCU and other ongoing e-portfolio initiatives)
  • digital archives (historic texts, diaries, papers, photographs, etc., in coordination with local/regional libraries, historical societies, and museums)

All of these areas are critically important as SCSU increases its use of, and dependence on, alternative delivery methods for instructional and research resources, especially via the World Wide Web.

Goals

In the next five years, the university should

  • inventory existing digitization initiatives and evaluate their effectiveness in fulfilling the institutional mission
  • address the digitization needs and expectations to support
    • curriculum
    • research
    • dissemination of research (global: theses; local: faculty publications)
    • access to fragile (archival) resources
    • long-term sustainability and persistence of university records
    • collaboration with regional libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and related organizations
  • commit appropriate resources (hardware, software, staff) to fulfill existing and evolving digitization initiatives based on institutional priorities
  • expand exploration of streaming technologies and their applications within the curriculum and other university arenas
  • work within the framework and best practices set by the Minnesota Digital Library Coalition
  • ensure that the electronic records archives will authentically preserve and provide access to any kind of electronic record produced by or for SCSU, free from dependency on any specific hardware or software
  • ensure that digital items are accessible and that digital materials available are communicated to the university community.

Specific Actions and Timeline

TLTR will establish a digitization committee comprised of the people from LR&TS (including the systems librarian, the university archivist, and appropriate technologists), from CIS, and other faculty, staff, and administrators to accomplish the goals. The committee may decide it needs to establish subcommittees to pursue the various goals. The committee(s) will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions.

Resources

To accomplish the goals, considerable financial, technical, and personnel resources could be required. Personnel resources are potentially the most costly and most difficult to characterize. Because digitization is an evolving and improving field, vigilance and currency with best practices and with available technologies are paramount in planning and creating effective, useful programs that use digitization to serve the university’s missions. Dedication of time from appropriately skilled staff will ensure what is prudent and possible with available resources. Because much of digitization involves conversion of existing media from one format to another to enhance service, it can be approached incrementally, providing that projects are given accurate priority and that resources become available. Relying only on current personnel doing the work in their available time will guarantee a slow transition and may put some of the goals in jeopardy.

Evaluation

  • Has the university inventoried existing digitization initiatives and evaluated their effectiveness in fulfilling the institutional mission?
  • Has the university addressed digitization needs and expectations to support curriculum, research, dissemination of research, access to fragile (archival) resources, long-term sustainability and persistence of university records, and collaboration with regional libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and related organizations?
  • Has the university committed appropriate resources (hardware, software, staff) to fulfill existing and evolving digitization initiatives based on institutional priorities?
  • Has the university expanded exploration of streaming technologies and their applications within the curriculum and other university arenas?
  • Has the university consistently worked within the framework and best practices set by the Minnesota Digital Library Coalition?
  • Has the university ensured that the electronic records archives will authentically preserve and provide access to any kind of electronic record produced by or for SCSU, free from dependency on any specific hardware or software?
  • Has the university ensured that digital items are accessible and that digital materials available are communicated to the university community?
  • Has the committee submitted a final report in Spring 2008?
  • Has the committee made recommendations for the next cycle of technology planning?

Revised: May 2003