Today’s technology can achieve rapid digitization at preservation-grade standards for many, but not all objects. For instance, an A1 size map can be captured in a single capture, allowing rapid digitization of a collection of that size, while an A0 sized map requires resolution only available by stitching or by using slower scanning or multi-shot approaches. Digitization of such oversized material today is certainly possible, but comes at a significantly higher time cost than digitization of smaller material.
Given the constant advancement of technology, it may make sense for some institutions to prioritize digitization of those parts of a collection that can be done rapidly with today’s technology. If prioritized accordingly, technology may be available to digitize the larger material without requiring the higher time-cost.
Consider that in early 2015 the highest resolution single-shot digital back available was the 80mp series of digital backs from Team Phase One, allowing a maximum object-length of 37” for preservation-grade imaging (assuming 300ppi @ 93% sampling efficiency). Any object larger than 37” on the long side currently requires multiple captures, multi shot, or scanning-capture – all of which are significantly more time consuming and error-prone than a standard single-shot capture. If an institution had two collections, one being a large set of 20”x30” posters and another a large set of 30”x40” posters, it may make sense to prioritize the systematic digitization of the 20”x30” collection since the cost (in time and cost per item digitized) will be significantly lower since they can all be captured with single-shots. In the future, when higher resolution backs become available (e.g. 100mp), the institution could upgrade their digital back and digitize the 30”x40” posters at a similar low per-object cost.
- Example 1:
- Ten thousand 20”x30” posters are digitized with 80mp single captures in 2015. Rate is 100 per day.
- Ten thousand 30”x40” posters are digitized with 100mp single captures in 2016. Rate is 100 per day.
- Total project time is 200 days.
- Example 2:
- Ten thousand 30”x40” posters are digitized with stitched 80mp captures in 2015. Rate is 20 per day.
- Ten thousand 20”x30” posters are digitized with 80mp single captures in 2017. Rate is 100 per day.
- Total project time is 600 days.
In both of the above examples the the institution has successfully created 20,000 Preservation Digital Objects from their poster collection. However, in Example 1 they have reduced 400 days of labor and overhead by prioritizing their digitization program based on the suitability of the collection to today’s technology and then upgrading their digital back using tomorrow’s technology for the sake of efficiency.