Digitised content – whether images, audio or audiovisual - can have a significant role to play in almost any teaching and learning environment, by helping to support students in comprehending and retaining information.
The current trend for digitising archived material is helping to broaden access to once unknown and un-shareable materials even further, extending their potential as learning aids.
In the UK we have a proud tradition of maintaining and supporting libraries and archives, ensuring that the nation’s collective knowledge is made available to the next generation. Unfortunately a lot of the materials currently held by institutions are often in analogue format, which can cause two major issues:
- Access to materials
Access issues relate to the physical location where the resources are held. For example, if the content you want to use is stored and owned by an organisation in a different geographical area to where you live and work, this obviously causes difficulties in actually going to the location and getting hold of materials.
Digitising analogue materials can overcome some of these barriers to access and use, however, this is not a simple process: historic materials are often extremely fragile, and the item itself sometimes suffering from significant damage and requiring sensitive handling; or they may be found in very rare or obsolete forms.
While this is particularly the case for older audiovisual materials, even formats such as cassettes and videotapes that were in prolific use until the last decade or so, are much harder to come by today. The problem is exacerbated by unusual and quite often dilapidated playback equipment, making it difficult to handle and process recordings.
A helping hand
Due to these difficulties it's good to have a helping hand, and I wanted to share with you our detailed guide, which contains guidance and advice for digitising your audiovisual collections and is split into the following areas:
- Pre-digitisation: this covers everything that you need to consider before you start an audiovisual digitisation project, from understanding what the collection contains and whether it would be better to outsource the actual digitisation to the all-important Intellectual Property Rights issues
- Media guide: includes explanations of the various audiovisual analogue formats and how to identify them correctly in order to understand the specialist requirements for handling, storage and damage prevention. Categories include optical film formats, optical video formats, magnetic audio tape, magnetic video tape, grooved disc and mechanical recordings
- Digitisation: step by step guide on the practical activities associated with audiovisual digitisation including designing an optimal workflow, quality control strategies and digital re-mastering to optimise digitised content
- Post-digitisation: exploring how to combat the long-term issues around ongoing access and use, such as guidance on inputting a digital preservation policy, and relevant standards that need to be employed in use