Schools continue to rapidly digitize records for preservation

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

As universities look to preserve historical records, more are adopting digitization projects to ensure that all information relating to the school is both secure and accessible for years to come. And with the latest advancements in document imaging technology, there are more useful solutions for enhanced digital records management than ever before.

Colby-Sawyer, a private college in New London, New Hampshire, is one school that deployed a digitization initiative. Founded in 1837, the college has collected mass volumes of photographs, student newspapers and other historical information in its archives. In 2007, the school utilized conversion services to digitize components of this collection to make these records more widely accessible to both students and staff. Kelli Bogan, college archivist for Colby-Sawyer College, commented on the decision.

"When I started back in 2008, Colby-Sawyer had recently put in place a digitization project and digital archive," she explained. "The main goal was to make the archives more visible and a large part of the program was to make sure we are preserving the material that we digitized, making it accessible to students and alumni and to guarantee that we don't have to do it all again 10 years down the line."

Improving digital data management
Still, Bogan was concerned that the school's content management system was ill-equipped to handle the ever-increasing amount of digital content. As a result, the college integrated a more robust electronic document management solution that could better support long-term preservation.

The Michigan Daily reported that the University of Michigan's Board of Regents also recently convened at the Dearborn campus to review a selection of infrastructure and staff updates. One development included the appointment of Professor James Hilton as the new dean of libraries.

"James' vision and leadership will be essential to our ability to address the changing nature of information acquisition and knowledge dissemination," said University Provost Martha Pollack, according to the source. "He will contribute to the study and design of information access and preservation."

One important aspect of Hilton's vision is the digitization of university records, which University Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald noted will continue to be a major focus of the library's time and resources.

"I'm sure we'll see [digitization] continue but where the future may lead, that will be up to experts like [Hilton] to lead that way," Fitzgerald said. "To make sure that documents are available for future generations has always been a priority and I know it will continue to be a priority."

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