The National Archives asking volunteer transcribers at Wikisource to turn paper and ink historical manuscripts into simple, searchable Web text.
- National Archives’ first Wikipedian in residence to bring more holdings to the public, by Joseph Marks, NextGov (07/11/2011).
An interesting part of this story is the issue of the quality of scans.
A major barrier, McDevitt-Parks said, is the quality of the Archives’ digitized files, the most important of which were scanned in the 1990s using early technology that makes them difficult to read online.
…Unfortunately, it’s hard to [make the case to] go back and scan things that are already scanned when there are millions and millions of things that aren’t in any digitized form at all.
I think there is an important lesson here. As we develop policies for our individual libraries today and plans for the FDLP of the future, we should always remember that digitization technologies improve over time and the uses we make of digital documents evolve over time. We should avoid choices that are merely good-enough today.
We should aim for a future that will enable us to increase access and functionality in the future, not lock us into what we are technologically capable of today.
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