Skip to Main Content
Main site homepage

Preservation: Digitization

This LibGuide offers resources to guide libraries in the provision of long-term access to the physical and intellectual contents of their collections through conservation, preservation, and digitization.

What is Digitization?

Digitization for preservation is a concept that comes from the traditional field of analog preservation and conservation. In the 1990s a huge number of brittle books and newspapers were microfilmed with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other grant programs. The intent was to preserve their information content and to make that content accessible without additional damage to fragile originals, but the effect was to limit access to only the most dedicated researchers. This was followed by a transitional time during which recommended practice included microfilming for preservation and digitizing for access. At this time, although it is still controversial, digitization alone is becoming an accepted approach for all preservation reformatting. The policy of “digitization for preservation” was endorsed by the Association of Research Libraries in July 2004. Digitization for preservation results in digital materials which must themselves be preserved. That is, digitization for preservation results in a need for digital preservation.
Caplan, Priscilla. "Chapter 1: What Is Digital Preservation?" Library Technology Reports 44, no. 2 (February/March 2008): 7.

Books About Digitization

Additional Resources on Digitization