Following the trend of open access to knowledge, Libraries and Information Centers are digitizing their material, providing free access and at the same time contributing to the long term preservation and protection of important and valuable collections. DataScouting participates actively in the initiatives that are being developed in this direction and provides complete digitization solutions and develops information systems.
By Afrodite Malliari, PhD., Library & Information Systems Manager, DataScouting
Libraries and Information Centers stand for open access and they support citizens by sharing scientific, research and cultural material of historic importance. Therefore, Libraries and Information Centers digitize part of their collections (text, video, audio) and make them available through the Internet so as citizens can retrieve the needed information source and finally turn it into knowledge.
Digitization requires experience and know-how, coordination, procedures, methodology as well as love and respect for library material, no matter if that is a book, a photograph or audio-visual material. A necessary predisposition for the successful completion of a digitization project is also the direct cooperation with scientists and specialists of different areas such as archivists, librarians, historians, art conservators-restorers, photographers and software engineers.
DataScouting has developed several projects that included the digitization of rare books, newspapers, journals, rare photographic material with significant cultural and folkloric value as well as audio-visual material. DataScouting is following the international standards and certifications in all the stages of a digitization project:
- Securing the transportation, safety and protection of the original material;
- Having experienced, talented people and the technological infrastructure for the preservation of sensitive and valuable material;
- Disposing specialized equipment and software for the conversion of the original material to digitized items with high fidelity, and
- Constantly developing its information systems based on international practices as DataScouting is a member of several international associations and participates in congresses and summits.
Digital library success does not depend only on the amount and affluence of data but also on the information system that the library is using. Metadata are used to describe digital objects in order to become easier for the users-visitors to search and retrieve them. This way, all citizens can have direct, easy and free access to knowledge without restrictions. DataScouting recognizes the necessity and contribution of metadata and indexing of digital items, has experienced executives and specialized partners with the right scientific qualifications for each single project.
Digital libraries, and not only in academic institutes, play a significant role in the promotion and dissemination of historic and modern sources, the long term preservation of knowledge and cultural heritage but also to the projection of local characteristics to a global audience with multiple benefits.
The article was published in NetWeek, 31 August-13 September 2015, Issue 373 with special reports on Digital Libraries – opening the road to knowledge.