Digitizing materials is one way to preserve and archive them and is also a great way to share your collections. Making collections available online means that researchers unable to visit your institution in person can still utilize your archive.
However, digitization is not always the answer. Lack of funds, time, or equipment could mean digitization is not right for you. This blog post from the Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archive outlines some challenges of digitizing materials.
The decision to digitize or not is important, and it is up to you and your institution. Should you choose to digitize, this guide from the Library of Congress outlines the digital preservation process. This page from Archive History details how to digitally archive and share historical photographs, documents, and audio recordings.
Below are additional resources for digitizing.
The National Archives guidelines for digitizing archival materials for electronic addresses topics like digital image capture, metadata, quality control, and file formats.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission created a crash course on planning a digital archive.
The National Information Standards Organization has published “A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections” (2007) which walks you through creating collection, object, and metadata principles.
Here is a webinar led by Amanda Shepp of the Skeptiseum on “Digital Collections: A Future for Small Museums.”
The Royal BC Museum created an interactive guide called “Caring for Digital Collections”, which will show you how to fundraise, organize, manage, protect, and preserve your institution’s digital assets.
Minnesota Historical Society’s created this scanning/digitizing worksheet to help you prep for a digitization project.
Want to learn the basics of imaging technology? Check out this guide, “Introduction to Imaging,” from the Getty.
Object photography often isn’t as easy as it might seem. This video will give you some tips on how to design a photo studio on a budget, to position lights correctly, and to properly document an object’s details using photographs.
Cornell University Library created a copyright term and the public domain in the United States chart.To learn more about the legality of copyrights and how to get them cleared review this crash course by The University of Texas Libraries.
eHive was created to give small museums an easy, low-cost way to share collections over the web using images and texts.
LibraryThing is a web site that allows users to share their book collections and can be used for small libraries, research collections, or museums.
DSpace is a free open-source software that will help you create and manage a digital repository.
HistoryPin goes beyond your small museum and allows the community to pin their local and family history to your collection. Hagley Museum and Library has an excellent HistoryPin channel to view as you create one for your museum.
The Google Cultural Institute is a resource that gives GLAM’s the ability to join their Google Arts & Culture platform. They offer tools to help you digitize collections, app development, and website development to expand your reach. Sign up here