Selecting Research Collections for Digitization

Mark Shelton (Brown University)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




Shelton, M. (2000), "Selecting Research Collections for Digitization", Collection Building, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 38-40.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The Council on Library and Information Resources provides another installment in its growing literature on digital libraries with this text on digitization of resources. Like previous works from the council, this book takes a look at the issue of digitization, not the process itself, but as a function of collection management. More specifically, the authors attempt to provide a guide for determining what collections should be digitized.

As a guide to the decision‐making process of determining whether a collection of materials should be digitized, the authors have organized the book in a very usable question‐and‐answer format. The broad topics discussed are given an initial overview before the authors go into a list of questions to ask. Each question is clearly meant to help the reader identify the variety of issues related to the topic under discussion. After each question the authors provide an answer, not to the question, but as to why the question should be asked. It is within these paragraphs that the issues of the broader topic are examined. In some cases different scenarios are presented with potential outcomes, while in other cases theory associated with the posed question is outlined. As an additional aid to the decision‐making process, the authors include a decision‐making matrix which acts as a flowchart to ensure that all of the appropriate questions have been asked and answered before project planning begins.

This title is an excellent resource for the person thinking about undertaking a digitization project, but wants to make sure all of the issues are covered. It can also help to outline important points that are required to justify why a project should be done, as well as why another should be stopped. The reader will find this to be clear because of the book’s focus on the decision‐making process. By posing questions dealing with the intellectual nature of the materials being considered, the users, the nature of use, how the project will be described, delivered, and retained, as well as the issue of cost‐benefit analysis, the book is able to completely support its focus. This guide will be good for anyone working in this growing area.

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