Requisite for Digitisation of Library Material

A Library is more than a pile of books. A library adds value to information resources by organizing them and making them available. We are living in an Information age. Fast paced developments in Information Communication Technologies (ICT) have brought the death of distance and it has become important for us to realize that people's priorities in information seeking pattern are changing along with means of accessing information. This is the duty of the Librarian and Information Centres to embrace new technology and provide access to information beyond the four walls. The most important contribution of ICT is the creation of Internet or Web Technology and the most important contribution of Web Technology is the creation of digital libraries, which allows users to access digital information resources from virtually anywhere in the world.
2. Digital Library:
The Stanford Digital Library Research Team defined digital library as a co-ordinated collection services that are based on collections of materials, some of which may not be directly under the control of the organization providing a service in which they play a role.
Conventionally there are two possibilities:-
' A library that contains material in digitized form
' A library that contains digital material.
The important point is that a digital library has material stored in a Computer System in a form that allows it to be manipulated (for instance, for improved retrieval) and delivered (for instance, as a sound file for playing as a computer) in ways that the conventional version of the material cannot be.
Digital library is not merely equivalent to a digitized collection with some information management tools. 'It is rather an environment to bring together collections, services and people in support of the full cycle of creation, dissemination, use and presentation of data, information and knowledge'.
3. Digitisation:
Digitisation is the conversion of an analogue signal or code into a digital signal or code. The process of digitization actually involves two major sets of activities:
i. The process of digital conversion whereby source materials are converted into digital form; and
ii. The Processing of digitized information, which involves several activities related to the storage, organization, processing and retrieval of digitized information.
4. Pre Digitisation work (Question to be ask before creating a Digital Library):
The answer of the question arises in the following issues will help to start the digitization process in systematic and cost effective manner:
(i) Policy:
a) Is there a need for a Digital Library?
b) Is the current library expanding?
c) Is the library central to the specific project?
d) How valuable is the library's information?
e) Is the information changing?
f) Should a digital library co-exist with a conventional one?
(ii) Audience:
a) Is there a demand for new series and /or material?
b) Has the market been sized?
c) How is it composed?
d) How will a digital library be used?
e) How will a digital library be accessed?
(iii) Reason:
a) To expand services?
b) To make the library more central to the organization?
c) To generate Income?
d) To promote collection?
e) To raise Library's profile?
f) Because of staff pressure?
(iv) Alternatives:
a) Do nothing?
b) Out source?
c) Provide a gateway?
(v) Costs:
a) What are start-up costs?
b) What are ongoing costs?
c) How to reduce costs?
e) Income?
(vi) Sources of material:
a) Internal sources?
b) Archive, etc.
c) External original sources?
(vii) Delivery:
a) Local material and delivery?
b) Where is it delivered?
c) How permanent is the delivery?
d) What capabilities are required?
e) Deliver security?
(viii) Copyright/Intellectual Property Right:
a) Who owns the material?
b) Re-use and dissemination?
c) Charging?
d) Partial delivery?
e) Act as an agent?
f) Fair use?
g) Security?
h) Water-marks and other protection?
(ix) Technology:
a) Standards: The standards fall into three areas:
i) Material description
ii) User access
iii) System architecture
b) Proprietary solution
c) Scalability
d) Future possibilities
(x) Preservation/Handling:
a) Is material irreplaceable?
b) Is the material multiuse?
5. Problems and issues related to Information Resources (IRs) in the Digital Library:
The following are the problems and issues in Digital Library, which is related with Information Resources:
(i) How can we establish and control the currency, accuracy and integrity of information sources? (Quality problem)
(ii) How can we maintain the data and intellectual integrity of IRs? (Authority control problem)
(iii) What can be done to provide intellectual Access to Information resources? (Organisational problem)
(iv) How can we recognize different version of the same Information resources? (Fluidity problem)
(v) How can we address the issue of transient Information Resources? (Preservation problem)
(vi) How can we preserve the concept of authorship?
(vii) How can copyright laws for Information Resources be observed? (Legal problem)
(viii) Will access to some Information Resources be limited to some classes of users? (Political problem)
(ix) What service, if any, should be offered by the digital library?
(x) Should digital Libraries be integrated into the traditional Libraries? If so, how can this be accomplished?
(xi) Does a digital library have Librarians? If so, what do they do?
(xii) Does a digital library have well defined classes of users?
6. Issues Related to the Digitisation process:
The fundamental issues associated with the digitization process are as follows:

6.1. Acquisition (Collection/Selection) of Materials: Selection involves choosing among a number of option using informed judgment and selection criteria. Good selection techniques ensures that resources are invested wisely in digitising the most significant and useful collections at the lowest possible cost without placing the institution at legal or social risk. Poor selection leads to the digitisation of materials that are unusable or of little value.
There are three phases for selection:
a) Nomination
b) Evaluation
c) Prioritisation
a) Nomination involves broad participation of collection creators, donors, researchers, managers, documented groups, and others. Stakeholders and staff nominate materials for inclusion or non-inclusion, indicating why the materials should be selected or avoided.
b) Evaluation during evaluation, a Selection Committee reviews the nominations based on criteria and makes determinations about including or weeding out materials.
d) Prioritisation during prioritisation, the Committee ranks the selected materials based upon their value, use and risk so that materials are digitised in order of value to the repository.
6.2. Legal Issues: The legal issues related to digital libraries are complex. By definition, a digital library can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and should be able to provide access to information residing on a computer anywhere in the world. This nature creates legal problem because each country has its own legal system, and practices that acceptable to their own country but illegal in another country. Therefore, certain issues related to the management and use of digital libraries may be acceptable in one country but illegal in another, or even illegal in another state in the same country. It covers intellectual property right, copyright, authenticity and privacy.
6.3. Social Issues: Libraries are social institutions and therefore, they have to change with the demands of the society. Bishop and star (1996) raise a number of issues related to the Social Context of digital libraries such as:
a) How do the creators, librarians and users collaborate in the creation, searching and use of digital library documents?
b) How does the introduction of digital libraries change the workplace and home?
c) How do digital documents influence social interaction?
d) How do organisations make their digital libraries usable for their members?
6.4. Cost/Benefit (Economic) Issues: Digital information has a different cost structure than print information. Consumers of digital information typically have a large fixed cost of purchasing a personal computer or finding access to digital products, but if the information is available on a network, they have significant benefits from the lower costs of access. Production of digital products also has high fixed, first copy costs, but the cost of distribution and reproductions are significantly lower than for print.
The following are the different types of costs occur the digitization process:
a) Preparation time cost;
b) Handling cost;
c) Automated processing cost;
d) Skill/experience cost;
e) Optimisation cost;
f) Resource cost;
g) Quality Assurance cost (QA); and
h) File size cost.
6.5. Technical Issues: A number of technical issues such as hardware, software and image file compression are critical to the digitisation process:
a) Hardware and software issue: The selection of hardware and software for a digitisation project depends on many factors. The primary selection criterion for the hardware is governed by the type of source materials that need to be digitised.
Software may be used for different purpose in the process of digitisation. After an image has been created, software may be required to edit or post process the image; for example to adjust the tone or colour. Software may also be required for other purposes, such as creation of a text file from an image file containing only text or text with graphics. The processing of the digitised items may entail other software uses, for example for cataloguing and indexing, conversion into a chosen file format or compression.
b) Compression: Bitmap file can become very large for high resolution images. Compression is one way of reducing file sizes.
c) File Format: Various file formats for texts and images are available.
Text file format are ASCII and binary.
General file format are PDF and HTML.
Image file format are BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCX, PNG
Sound and music file format are WAV,SND, VOC and AIFF,
MIDI, MP3 and advance version
Movie file format are MPEG-1; MPEG-2 and advance version.
6.6. Digital Longevity Issues: Although the advent of electronic storage is fairly new, a substantial amount of information stored in electronic form has deteriorated and disappeared. Most people tend to think that digital information will last forever, yet fail to realize the fragility of digital works. The problem of storage media deterioration pales in comparison with the problems of rapidly changing storage devices and changing file formats.
The five key factors that pose digital longevity problems:
a) The viewing problem;
b) The scrambling problem;
c) The inter-relation problem;
d) The custodial problem; and
e) The translation problem
7. Conclusion: Digitisation itself of course, is no small challenge. Scanning the pages of brittle old books at high speed without damaging them is a problem that is still being addressed, as is the question of how to store and preserve their content once it is in digital form.
The conversion of analogue sources into a digital form and their appropriate storage and processing form an important part of building a digital library. Digitisation is a complex process requiring managerial and technical skills. Proper planning and management help in keeping the cost down, and they also lead to the successful completion of digitisation project. Various issues need to be considered in a digitisation project ranging from hardware to software and standards for file formats.
The creation of online resources and the digitisation of books have made access to information easier and quicker. The flood of new digital material will make the job of classifying, cataloguing and guiding readers to the right text even more demanding, librarians could become busier than ever. There is an enormous amount to do, and digitising is just scratching the surface.


1. Chowdhury, G G and Chowdhury, Sudatta. Introduction to Digital Library. London: Facet Publishing, 2001.
2. Kingma, Bruce R. The economics of information: a guide to economic and cost benefit analysis for information professional. 2nd ed. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited, 2001. Pp151-159.
3. Kulshrestha S.P. and Mautiyal, Lata. Digital Library: Issues and Challenges. In Singh, V P and others ed. Digital Library: proceeding of the National Conference on Digital Library: 2006.
4. Noerr, Peter. The Digital Library tool Kit. 3rd ed. California: Sun Microsystems, 2003.
5. Rowley, Junnifer. The electronic library, London: Library Associations, 1998.
6. Secker, Jane, (2006) Electronic Resources in the virtual learning environment: A guide for Librarians, Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2006.
7. Sitts, M K. Handbook for Digital Projects: A management tool for preservation and access. Massachusetts: Northeast Document Conservation Center, 2000.

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