Selection Criteria for materials to be digitized
Consider the Project Mission:
Consider the Mission Statement and Collection Focus of your organization.
Brainstorm. Get input from stakeholders: staff, trustees, donors, users, and community members. Use staff knowledge, indexes, finding aids and research to identify materials that address the project and organizational goals. Besides your most popular materials and collections of historical importance, think about underrepresented communities and hidden gems that are currently underused.
Consider these issues for each set of materials:
Quality: Using originals rather than copies is usually the best choice. Always use your best quality object; remember you are duplicating the item in digital form: if it is poor quality in 'real life,' it will be poor quality in 'virtual life.' Similarly, some materials cannot be adequately captured in digital form and should not be digitized. Having digital copies for public viewing will help preserve originals that are valuable or too fragile to be frequently handled.
Value: What will the image contribute in information, importance, authority, uniqueness, timeliness, originality, accuracy, ephemeral v. long-term value, or appropriateness? What is the significance to the overall collections? Can you identify people, places, and dates? Is the material in a coherent, logically structured order? What will it take to organize it? Is there a bibliographic record or a detailed finding aid? Eliminate redundancy—would one well-selected image be better than 10 similar example
Legalities: Copyrights, privacy rights, donor rights and restrictions. Choose material that your organization controls the copyright and permissions for or that is in the public domain. Do not choose prints to digitize when another organization holds the originals.
Social Issues: Some thought should be given to culturally sensitive material before it is made available in a public collection. Give careful consideration to material that could be embarrassing or unfavorable to groups or individuals or that is intended for use within a particular group.
Use: Current usage patterns can provide pointers, so identify high use materials requested frequently. It can be hard to predict future use, but base your selections on reference use, visitor statistics, and your familiarity with collections and audience. Think about how your organization will support more requests for the original and digital images.
Establish Priorities. Rank your remaining candidates for digitization. Give priority to materials that have extensive, high-quality documentation. Choose your most significant and useful collections.
QUOTAS: There may be quotas for individual donors or organizations. This is a finite project, but more images may be added to the digital collections beyond the two-year project.
REMEMBER: Pick your best Stuff!!