Picture of a clock

Flickr CC image by Robbie 73

Many aspects of digitisation take a long time. If you’re starting a digitisation project or service in one month, you can’t always expect to actually begin digital capture until at least the month after.

This can be because your original materials need to be assessed by a Conservator – they will need to advise on how the objects should be digitised, place handling restrictions on them if necessary, and so on. This takes time and should be built in to the very earliest stages of the process – in some cases, the Convservator’s conclusions can influence the equipment you need to obtain. But the lessons learned can inform future projects.

Another thing  that takes time is obtaining permission to digitise. The process of identifying rights-holders in the first place, tracking down contact details, locating the individuals and organisations involved, and then sending them a document to sign and waiting for their response, takes a huge amount of active staff time and waiting around. However, as frustrating as this process can be, it can also act as a kind of advocacy for the project – the rights-holders can often be excited about material featuring them becoming more accessible in a digital format, and these rights-holders can then become champions of your project or service.