Busting some Digitization Myths

At WNYLRC, we always encourage our members to consider digitizing items for the statewide portals New York Heritage or New York State Historic Newspapers. However, there may be some misconceptions about our digitization programs and procedures that are holding you back. Let’s take a look at some of these digitization myths.

Myth #1: You can only digitize something after applying for an RBDB Grant.

Our RBDB grants can be a useful source of funding for your digitization project, but they aren’t required. Maybe you plan to use your institution’s existing time and resources. Or maybe you have funding from another source. It’s all fine with us. All you need to do is fill out our collection application and our Regional Advisory Committee will review it. They’ll decide whether it is an appropriate addition to NYH or NYSHN and we will let you know. Applications are accepted year-round.

Myth #2: Digitization is Expensive.

It doesn’t have to be. If you decide to outsource the scanning to a vendor, then there may or may not be a significant cost. But you could do the scanning in-house, as long as you have a good quality scanner. Check the digitization guidelines for NYH and NYSHN to be certain you know what’s required.

On the other hand, if you consider that “time is money,” outsourcing the digitization may save you some money in comparison to staff time spent on doing it. Many professional digitization companies have automated systems and other cost-saving measures that can make their scanning more efficient. It never hurts to get a quote and do a comparison.



Myth #3: I can’t digitize because I don’t know anything about metadata or the software.

From the time your proposed collection is approved, WNYLRC will be with you throughout the process. For New York Heritage, we will train you in how to create good quality metadata for your items, based on the project’s requirements and recommended best practices. We will also train you in using the CONTENTdm Project Client to upload your images and metadata, or we may even be able to do the uploading for you. For NYS Historic Newspapers, it’s not necessary to create metadata because it’s taken from the publication’s MARC record.

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