Library:DigInit Policy

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Digitization Strategy Vision

The University of British Columbia Library is a collaborator and leader in the creation, access and preservation of digital materials. The Library’s digital initiatives embrace new technology, methods of access, workflows and preservation strategies while building sustainable digital collections to support and enrich the educational, cultural and economic endeavors of the University, the People of British Columbia and communities beyond.


In considering materials for UBC Library digital collections some broad areas should be considered priorities: British Columbiana, materials which directly support the curriculum, Faculty and Student research output, the material record of the University, and those materials which are considered to be rare or unique.

Collection Review Criteria and Questions


1. Does the material have intrinsic value to current students, researchers or the broader community? 2. Is the material something already collected by the Library – does it deepen, broaden or enhance a current collection? Does it build on a current digital collection? 3. Does the material reside in a collection area that is weak or non-existent and does it offer potential research value for possible future programs at the University? 4. Does the material offer possibilities for funding, creating partnerships and collaborations which in themselves strengthen the Library in some way? 5. Is the material likely to be transitory in its current format? E.g. print, audio tape, video tape, cd-rom, dvd, data sets, film, etc. Would digitizing it create value for future research?


1. Does the material support the teaching and research functions of the institution? 2. Does the material support teaching and research within the province? 3. Does the material support broader teaching and research initiatives? 4. What is the likely demand for the material?


1. By reformatting (print, audio tape, video etc.) or placing material in repositories is access broadened? E.g. better metadata for subject access etc. 2. Is material that is fragile in the current format (print, audio, cd, dvd, film) likely to be used more in a digital format? 3. Does the material create a virtual collection of geographically scattered materials? 4. Does the target material duplicate resources already available digitally elsewhere? Could the Library simply point to their use?


1. Does the material help the Library to strengthen its mandate to explore, research and create using new technologies and formats? (see Digitization Strategy Vision) 2. Does the material provide opportunities for new collaborations? 3. Does the material provide an opportunity to develop and enhance mechanisms for access: metadata, new formats, new tools in scholarly communication etc.

Available Resources and Technical Feasibility

1. Are there sufficient financial and human resources to complete the entire project? 2. If the project must be done in phases is it likely that there will be resources to complete them? 3. Comparing the resources consumed by the target project to other available projects are there compelling reasons to choose this project over another - preservation, access, value to present or future researchers etc. 4. Is the project ongoing for the foreseeable future? What are the ongoing resource cost estimates for a 3-5 year window? 5. Are the technical challenges so large that the project is likely to become unwieldy or unsustainable? Is the project, as it is currently conceived, simply impossible to do because of the technical challenges? 6. Is it possible to automate much of the technical side of the project to avoid overly labour intensive workflows? 7. What resources are likely to be needed for the ongoing curation of the material? 8. Are there technical issues around curation which need to be considered?

Rights Issues

1. Does the Library hold copyright for the material to be digitized? 2. Does the Library have written documentation from the rights owner allowing it to hold a digital copy of the material? 3. Does the Library require any other permission prior to embarking on the project?


After reviewing the various questions the decision makers will weight criteria under “Value and Usefulness” as essential but the deciding factors are really under “Access and Potential” as most projects would likely stand up to the scrutiny of “Value and Usefulness”. In prioritizing projects there should be elements from all criteria present. The issue of available resources and technical feasibility must always be considered and factored into the final decision and lack of resources or technical complexity may be the final deciding factors regardless of the merit of the project.