Image Digitization: Project Management, Quality, and Costs
Despite all the possibilities for manipulating digital images, image quality choices made when files are first created have the same "finality" that they have in conventional photography. They will have a profound effect on project cost, the value of the final project to the users, and the long-term usability of the digital images. Image quality requirements therefore have to be established carefully before a digitization project starts. In the hands of expert operators, today's best digital imaging hardware is capable of capturing all the information in photographic originals. Such a high quality standard produces the most versatile digital images but requires the storage and manipulation of huge files. A lower quality standard produces more manageable files but often limits the utility of the files for such demanding uses as publication or exhibition. Selecting the appropriate quality level will always depend on careful analysis of the desired uses of the images in the near and long term. The required investment for digital image conversion is tremendous. Therefore it requires a deep and longstanding institutional commitment to traditional preservation, the full integration of the technology into information management procedures and processes, and significant leadership in developing appropriate definitions and standards for digital preservation.