SPEC Kit 294: Managing Digitization Activities (September 2006)

This SPEC Kit investigates the purposes of ARL member libraries’ digitization efforts, the organizational structures these libraries use to manage digital initiatives, whether and how staff have been reassigned to support digitization activities, where funding to sustain digital activities originated and how that funding is allocated, how priorities are determined, whether libraries are outsourcing any digitization work, and how the success of libraries’ digital activities has been assessed.

The survey, which focussed on the digitization of existing library materials, rather than the creation of born-digital objects, was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2006. Sixty-eight libraries (55%) responded to the survey, of which all but two (97%) reported having engaged in digitization activities. Only one respondent reported having begun digitization activities prior to 1992; five other pioneers followed in 1992. From 1994 through 1998 there was a steady increase in the number of libraries beginning digital initiatives; 30 joined the pioneers at the rate of three to six a year. There was a spike of activity at the turn of the millennium that reached a high in 2000, when nine libraries began digital projects. Subsequently, new start-ups have slowed, with only an additional one to five libraries beginning digitization activities each year.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of organization charts, mission statements, job descriptions, policies and procedures, and selection criteria.

Mugridge, Rebecca L. Managing Digitization Activities. SPEC Kit 294. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, September 2006.


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SPEC Kit 294: Managing Digitization Activities (September 2006)