Selection Policy for Digitization Projects


This policy provides a collection development framework for the Library's digitization projects. It is intended to offer guidance in understanding how our digitization work reflects and supports collection development at Dartmouth in broad terms and it sets out criteria to help determine if potential use warrants the human and fiscal resources necessary to undertake the digital project. The policy's aim is to create a consistent, structured approach to reformatting our collections. Whether digitization is done at the object level or at the collection level, the framework remains the same.

The primary goal of collection development at Dartmouth College Library is to create collections of enduring value in support of research, teaching, and learning at Dartmouth College. The Library's digitization program is designed to distribute its collections widely and to bring them to the attention of scholars and students within and beyond Dartmouth, enhanced with tools that will enable transformative uses of those materials. Secondly, and consonant with the Library's commitment to collaborative collection development, digitization furthers the collection goal of finding opportunities for creating aggregated collections through collaboration with the Library's primary and extended partners.

There will be opportunities from time to time to digitize an object as part of a grant or in fulfillment of a request from a scholar, and the Library may wish to provide those services and retain a copy.

This policy should be used in setting priorities, in developing grant proposals, and in providing the Dartmouth community and other interested parties a sense of how the Dartmouth College Library decides to undertake digitization projects. In addition, members of the Digital Projects Infrastructure Group and others in reviewing proposals for digitization projects will use the considerations listed here. To that end, this policy is referenced from the DPIG Selection Workflow document.

Out of Scope of this Policy

Activities of the Library's Digital Publishing Program, the goals and scope of which are described elsewhere.
Opportunistic "scan on demand" projects, such as those in fulfillment of a grant or request from a researcher.
The licensing and/or purchasing of digital resources.

The following criteria should be applied at the proposal and project development level and should be applied in the order listed.

Checklist of Criteria for Proposal Reviewers (see the questions below for more detail)

A. Content Analysis: Quality of information within the materials to be reformatted

1. _______ Accessibility and Use
2. _______ Significance of subject(s) covered in the materials to be reformatted
3. _______Relation to Use of Other Holdings

B. Original Object Analysis.

1._______Intrinsic Value
2. ______ Physical Condition

C. Cost Benefit Analysis (for proposal reviewers, initial cost benefit analysis is completed when DPIG reviews the Production Plan).

1. ______Value of the end product.
2. ______Potential to attract funding.

Criteria for Consideration (not every component will apply to every project, but each category of criteria should be considered)

A. Content Analysis: Quality of information within the materials to be reformatted.

1. Accessibility and Use.

a. There is a defined set of anticipated users for these materials.
b. There are well-defined anticipated uses for these materials.
c. Past use of these materials in their original formats suggests that they will be used in the future.
d. There are clear connections to research and teaching at Dartmouth.
e. There are strong connections to the history of the institution.
f. There are connections with other projects, including those at other institutions, offering synthesized digital collections that link geographically dispersed original documents.
g. Digitization will include value-added enhancements such as metadata, searching, text manipulation, and/or critical apparatus that will provide transformative uses of the materials.
h. Digitization will increase overall use.
i. The materials to be digitized are heavily used by non-Dartmouth researchers who might benefit by their digitization.

2. Significance of Subject(s) Covered in the Materials to be Reformatted

a. The materials represent unique holdings or subjects of existing strength at Dartmouth.
b. The collection supports an area of long-term or emerging interest at Dartmouth.
c. Materials of great disciplinary significance are included among the items to be digitized.
d. The materials are poorly represented in other digital collections or projects.

3. Relation to Use of Other Holdings

a. The materials to be digitized are original source materials, as opposed to commonly held secondary literature.
b. The project represents a complete collection of materials to be digitized, which would stand as a coherent whole (see also 1f).
c. The materials provide important information, insight, or perspectives not documented by other collections currently maintained by the Library's primary partners (chiefly BorrowDirect), or otherwise available in resources such as the Center for Research Libraries, HathiTrust, or publicly available websites.
d. If the Library does not own the original artifacts, their digitization offers substantial enhancements to Dartmouth collections.

4. Rights to original materials

a. There are no donor-imposed, copyright, or other legal restrictions that will impede access to the digital collection.
b. The materials are not restricted to internal use.
c. If the materials are under copyright, rights and permissions for electronic distribution have been secured.

B. Original Object Analysis.

1. Intrinsic Value 

a. When the original item has high intrinsic value as a particularly significant or revered document, the digital version enhances the usefulness of the original.

b. The digital surrogate can be used to carry the aura of the original into new arenas (i.e. to inspire scholarly work, or be used for publicity and development).

2. Physical Condition

  1. Digitization will provide surrogate access to fragile original materials.

  2. The process of digitization will not put the original materials at risk.

  3. The original medium upon which the information is recorded is difficult to access or preserve.

    1. Will conservation measures be necessary?

    2. Is the value, accessibility, or reliability of the content affected by its condition? 

C. Cost Benefit Analysis.

1. Value of the end product.

  1. Does the value of the materials resulting from the project warrant the resources that will be required to develop, manage, and curate the digital files over the time period for which we anticipate use?

  2. Are there outstanding technical issues that will require ongoing extraordinary costs, and which might suggest that potential use could be limited to individuals with special technologies?

2. Other pertinent considerations.

  1. Does this project provide opportunities for building innovative relationships among institutions?

    b.  Does this collection offer potential to attract funding? To generate revenue?

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