New Digitization Strategy now available

Today’s post comes from Markus Most, Director of the Digitization Division at the National Archives.

Based on your input, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has revised its digitization strategy, and we are once again asking for your feedback!

The National Archives 2014-2018 Strategic Plan puts forth a bold vision for NARA in providing unprecedented access to our records and promoting public participation to accomplish our goals. NARA’s digitization strategy must also present a clear path forward in meeting our goal of public access to NARA records in digital form.

We have reflected on areas in which NARA has succeeded in meeting its digitization challenges, as well as examined those areas in which we have opportunities for considerable growth.

The Past is Behind Us, The Future is Ahead. National Archives Identifier 541774


Our revised strategy outlines some key approaches to digitization at NARA:

  • Cultivating partnerships with institutions and organizations from a variety of fields and business models to continue and expand on the success of our current digitization partnerships.
  • Encouraging public engagement in the digitization of our records by establishing a Contributor status for donated images and actively working with researchers to gather digital images of NARA holdings.
  • Creating a “culture of digitization” within NARA by incorporating a focus on online access into our work processes.

So tell us, what are your thoughts? The revised strategy is available here:

Post your comments on this blog post, or email Please send us your comments by November 14, 2014.


One thought on “New Digitization Strategy now available

  1. One glaring omission from this guidance is a lack of Standards to provide necessary capabilities to ensure the images captured meet any of the requirements for characteristics intended for optical scanning.

    There is nothing to explain the procedures for sampling and inspection, calibration, quality control, or capture of images that meet the need for trustworthiness and reliability for long-term preservation or legal acceptance of images.

    Agencies are being told to image records with a “Permanent” retention value, but NOT being given any guidance related to what needs to be done to do this. And after these conversions and imaging projects are completed, the source materials will be destroyed. This means when a skewed or out-of-focus image is found later, there will be no possible way to recreate it.

    And given the accelerated schedules Agencies are being told to meet, much of this work will likely be contracted to third parties. How will the work be audited if there are no Standards given for the work being done?

    There are numerous ANSI/AIIM and ISO Standards, many which have been in use for over a decade to ensure when this work is done, the resultant images are EXACT copies of the source materials they are captured from. Isn’t this what NARA should want to ensure happens to preserve our history and to make it persistently accessible for future use by the public?

    There have been many reports and stories in the press in the recent past of conversion projects performed by and on behalf of Agencies and Federal Organizations that have resulted in poor quality images, or images that could not be used or found, due to a lack of standard procedures in quality control of image checking and especially in poor indexing of content stored.

    What is the value in having an electronic repository of worthless images that can’t be located because they weren’t properly indexed? Maybe the FBI can weigh in on this, or possibly the VA? These are both recent examples of conversion projects, performed with limited oversight, that lacked any guidance of the Standards to be met to result ion reliable, trustworthy and legally acceptable images.

    HELP US HELP YOU in not only meeting the metrics for work performed, but to perform the work accurately and adequately.

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