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Digitizing Collections: Selection

A guide for digitizing collections for access and preservation.


  1. Planning 
  2. Selection
  3. Digitizing materials
  4. Processing files, creating master and access files
  5. Metadata creation or re-purposing
  6. Digital preservation of master files
  7. Presentation of access files in an online content management platform

Selection Considerations

Selection considerations

Generally it is not affordable to digitize everything in a libraries collections and not everything is worth digitizing. It is important to consider carefully and have a plan for what you will be digitizing. Below is a list of things to consider.

Scope of the project


  • What if any intellectual property rights are connected to the materials?
  • Do you have the rights to legal creation and dissemination of a digital version?
  • For more information please see the Atla Copyright and Fair Use Libguide here

Public Access - are there any limits to public access on the materials you are considering?


  • How will materials be used - online access, preservation etc. 
  • Is there demand for access by current or potential users?
  • Can you reach new users in new ways by making the materials available digitally?


  • Does this material exist online somewhere already?
  • Can value be added through digitization?
  • Projections of the costs of digitization in relation to the benefits

Condition of materials

  • Will the process of digitizing damage the items?
  • Can digitizing these materials reduce wear and tear on the physical item?

Resources for Selection

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.