For me, spring is a time for conferences. I just spent the last three days in downtown Minneapolis at the School for Scanning: the A-Z of Creating Digital Projects. Why, oh why did I not bring my laptop so I could blog after each session?! This conference was jam packed with GREAT information, from faculty and experts all over the country. MINITEX does not have an archive to digitize, so the next best thing I can do is share what I learned with all of you. If you are thinking "what does this have to do with me as a librarian in technical services" I would have to answer that digitization will impact you, whether you are prepared or not. I heard from speakers who have completely transformed their technical services departments so that their catalogers are now describing digital objects and using metadata schemes other than MARC (more on that later...).
For now, here are a few notes from the opening keynote address, "Reading the Future," given by Roy Tennant. Roy discussed what he called Macy's digitization and Boutique digitization. If you've ever been asked by someone, "why do you need to digitize when Google can do it for you?" this may help give them the broader picture.
Google's mass digitization effort is one example of "Macy's digitization." The focus on these types of projects is speed, attracting eyes, and published works only.
"Boutique digitization" focuses on care of the materials, quality, education and preservation, and is done by cultural heritage institutions. The focus is on unpublished rare materials. Roy showed us examples of both types of digitization. We looked at the University of Michigan who offers a link to the Google digital copy, and their own copy of the digital object from their library catalog. If you look at the Google copy, within Google's interface, your search text is not highlighted on the page image (no exposed OCR - what makes text on an image machine readable and searchable). But, if you look at Michigan's own interface for viewing the Google copy, they have exposed the text on their page images so users can search on text and it is highlighted on the image (among other enhancements). Michigan's interface for viewing the Google book copies have enhanced the viewing capability for their users.
Other examples of "boutique digitization"
A customized K-12 interface to the California Digital Library.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
They added a Java Image viewer for viewing maps, which you have to download to use. It is a really fast download and is worth it to see the zooming features!
Fine Art Museums of San Francisco
A user can actually see the brush strokes on paintings. Can you find the man reading the Declaration of Independence in this wood engraving?
Google's digitization project is focused on published works only, what unpublished gems do you have in your collections?"