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Subject: Draft digitization principles

Draft digitization principles

From: Walter Henry <whenry>
Date: Thursday, July 29, 1993
The following appeared on Exlibris and is reproduced here with

    Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1993 12:00:33 EDT
    Sender: Rare Books and Special Collections Forum <EXLIBRIS%RUTVM1.BITNET [at] Forsythe__Stanford__EDU>
    From: Paul Evan Peters <paul [at] cni__org>
    Subject: Reviews of "draft digitization principles" requested
    To: Multiple recipients of list EXLIBRIS <EXLIBRIS [at] RUTVM1__BITNET>

    Dear ExLibris subscribers:

    Over the last few months various folks associated with the Coalition
    have been working with a group of federal funding agents on drafting
    a shared set of principles for soliciting and reviewing proposals
    for projects that entail digitization in one way or another.  These
    draft principles are attached.

    I'd welcome any comments or suggestions that any of you would care
    to offer.  Please send these comments and suggestions directly to me
    rather than to ExLibris;  I will post a revised set of the draft
    principles to ExLibris in Late August.  Thank you for your attention
    to this matter.


    Paul Evan Peters
    Executive Director
    Coalition for Networked Information
    21 Dupont Circle
    Washington, DC 20036
    Voice:  202-286-5098
    Fax:  202-872-0884
    Internet:  paul [at] cni__org



    This document is a work in process.  For nearly a year,
    representatives from several Federal funding agencies that make
    grants relating to archival, library, and other primary research
    materials--the Department of Education, the National Endowment for
    the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records
    Commission, and the National Science Foundation--have been meeting
    as the "Federal Funders Group" to discuss common concerns relating
    to the use of electronic media for the preservation of and access to
    these materials.  As a result of these discussions, the group
    decided that a collaborative strategy should be developed that would
    include a common set of principles that could be used by applicants
    to the various funding programs in these agencies supporting work
    with archival and library resources, as well as by reviewers of
    proposals submitted to these agencies.  Fostering consistency
    between agencies was seen by the group as being especially
    important, since an increasing number of projects derive support
    from multiple sources.

    The current draft document is the result of the collaboration of
    group members with several leaders in the digitization field:
    Patricia Battin, President, Commission on Preservation and Access,
    Paul Evan Peters, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked
    Information, and Clifford Lynch, Director, Division of Library
    Automation, Office of the President, University of California.


    Federal funding agents in education, the social sciences, the
    humanities, and the arts, among other fields, are receiving more and
    more grant proposals for projects that involve the use of
    information technology, particularly to capture and make available
    surrogates of primary research collections and primary research
    collections themselves.  In addition, many of these funding agencies
    with to consider establishing or focusing existing programs to
    support projects of this type.  The reviewers of such grant
    proposals should be provided with certain basic types of information
    about the criteria informing associated projects if they are to
    render their judgements and to offer their recommendations in a
    timely, consistent, and high-quality manner.  Applicants, in turn,
    should know the areas and criteria of evaluation that reviewers are
    using when they evaluate such grant proposals.  The goal is to
    improve the responsiveness and to enhance the quality of the process
    by which grant proposals for projects that involve the use of
    information technology are reviewed and disposed by federal funding


    The principles that are set forth below reflect the understanding
    that what's needed in this area is a guiding, not prescriptive,
    approach.  It is imperative to avoid hasty adoption of technical
    standards that will be soon left behind by advances in the
    understanding and use of enabling technologies. Instead of adopting
    and enforcing standards for technologies and practices that are in a
    rapid state of evolution, it is important to espouse "life cycle
    management" techniques by which digitized materials are created and
    managed in a manner that anticipates the need for periodic
    technological refreshment and conversion.  It is also imperative to
    focus on basic information that aids the judgement of reviewers and
    decision makers, rather than on attempting to regulate or control
    investigators, and to rely upon the sense of reviewers regarding
    whether a given project proposal reflects knowledge of and facility
    with rapidly evolving technological and standardization processes.


    Not all of the types of basic information listed in the following
    are appropriate for all types of grant proposals in education, the
    social sciences, the humanities, and the arts, among other fields,
    for projects that involve the use of information technology,
    particularly to capture and make available surrogates of primary
    research collections and primary research collections themselves.
    Accordingly, the types of basic information listed in the following
    have been created to help guide individual and collaborative federal
    funding agency discussions regarding precisely which types of basic
    information are appropriate for specifically which types of grant

    1.     Investigators should provide context for their proposed
    efforts and should demonstrate awareness and understanding of
    comparable efforts by citing the relevant literature and by
    contrasting their efforts with those of others.

    2.     Investigators should specify a set of tasks that is clearly
    adequate to the objectives and outcomes of their proposed project.
    They also should specify a division of labor (including
    consideration of collaborative efforts, service bureaus, and other
    creative strategies) adequate to the accomplishment of the tasks.

    3.     Investigators should present a technical plan that makes
    clear whether they will adopt existing standards or innovate new
    practices in at least the following areas, as applicable:

    3.1    What is the nature of the materials to be digitized, how will
    those materials be digitized and stored, and how will the quality of
    the digitization and storage process be assured?

    3.1.1  scanned page images (at what resolution;  black and white,
    grey scale, or color; using what compression scheme; etc.);

    3.1.2  unstructured text such as ASCII (keyboarded or OCRed);

    3.1.3  structured text such as SGML (keyboarded or OCRed, and
    structured by what tagging scheme, e.g., TEI, etc.);

    3.1.4  compound documents (CALS, ODA, MIME, or something else);

    3.1.5  materials that are not page-oriented:  e.g., audio, video,
    films, and photographs; and/or,

    3.1.6  something else.

    3.2    How will others gain access to the digitized materials; what
    terms and conditions, including copyright provisions, if applicable,
    and costs, if any, will apply to each mode of access; and, how will
    security, integrity, privacy, and confidentiality be protected, as
    appropriate, with respect to each mode of access?

    3.2.1  magnetic tapes or diskettes;

    3.2.2  CD-ROM;

    3.2.3  network server, operated by the investigator or by someone
    else; and/or,

    3.2.5  something else.

    3.3    How will knowledge of and proficiency with the digitized
    materials be promoted?

    3.3.1  documentary materials;

    3.3.2  reference guides and tip sheets;

    3.3.3  publications, speeches, and workshops;

    3.3.4  support services; and/or,

    3.3.5  something else.

    3.4    How will intellectual access to the digitized materials be
    provided and in what format(s)?

    3.4.1  item control(s);

    3.4.2  media header(s);

    3.4.3  indexes, catalogs, and finding aids; and/or,

    3.4.4  something else.

    3.5    How will the preservation of the digitized materials be

    3.5.1  distinction between archival and use media;

    3.5.2  refreshment and migration issues and strategies;

    3.5.3  disaster scenarios and plans; and/or,

    3.5.4  something else.

    3.6    How will the technical methods, findings, and results
    (including, as appropriate, error rates, compression ratios, costs,
    and the like) be disseminated?

    4.     Investigators should provide a budget that clearly links
    requirements to the division of labor and technical plan.

    5.     Investigators should exhibit an understanding of the
    long-term change management issues and strategies regarding
    digitized primary research materials, both during their projects and
    after, and they should offer observations and plans about how best
    to address the risks that frame this change management process.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:16
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 29, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-16-006
Received on Thursday, 29 July, 1993

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