This site is a collaborative effort by federal agencies formed as a group in 2007 to define common guidelines, methods, and practices to digitize historical content in a sustainable manner. Recognizing that the effort would require specialized expertise, two separate working groups were formed with the possibility that more tightly focused groups might be necessary as the work progressed. The Federal Agencies Still Image Digitization Working Group will concentrate its efforts on image content such as books, manuscripts, maps, and photographic prints and negatives. The Federal Agencies Audio-Visual Working Group is focusing its work on sound, video, and motion picture film.
The materials and information appearing on this site have been formulated collaboratively by a group of federal agencies that began meeting in 2007 to articulate a common set of guidelines, methods, and practices for the digitization of historical content in a sustainable manner. The participating agencies share the belief that common digitization guidelines will enhance the exchange of research results and developments, encourage collaborative digitization practices and projects among federal agencies and institutions and provide the public with a product of uniform quality. They will also serve to set common benchmarks for digitization service providers and manufacturers.
The agencies involved in this initiative also share a common philosophical approach to developing technical guidelines; namely that:
- guidelines should be based on clearly articulated objectives describing the expected uses of the digitized content;
- methodologies and requirements should be based on recognized approved standards or empirical data to the extent possible;
- work must be prioritized by project forecasts, impact of guidelines that are incomplete, dated or non-existent, and estimated effort to develop a robust guideline;
- the efforts undertaken through this federal initiative be conducted in a transparent manner, sharing not only conclusions but the approach and reasoning;
- the participating members actively seek input from the public, governmental and academic institutions, as well as corporate entities and trade organizations.
Federal agency participation is voluntary and non-binding. Participants are expected to provide input, share information and resources (when possible), and provide their opinions on priorities, methodology of the initiative, and approval or disapproval of draft guidelines, and respond to external recommendations or queries. Adherence by the participating agencies to the guidelines developed under this initiative is not required, nor is it expected to be practical under all circumstances. It is expected that participating agencies make a good faith effort to translate the guidelines into standard operating procedures and performance criteria for contracted services or purchases.
All United States federal agencies and institutions involved in the digitization of a cultural, historical or archival nature are welcome to participate.
The participating agencies began their work by identifying and prioritizing the most critical areas to be addressed. Two working groups have been formed. The focus of the Federal Agencies Still Image Digitization Working Group is textual content, maps, photographic prints and negatives. The focus of the Federal Agencies Audio-Visual Digitization Working Group is sound, video, and motion picture film.
The group initially formed under the auspices of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), a program initiated by Congress in December 2000 to develop a national strategy to collect, archive and preserve digital content. See this chart for information on the initiative structure.
Last Updated: 12/10/2010