Considering that the University archive and library in Hong Kong has a number of digital and non-digital collections in book, journals, printed material, online and CD formats, a policy document could be drawn that would suggest the uses and application of the process of digitization, justifying why it should be used to preserve the archived material over time.
Digitization helps in modernization or a sort of upgrade of the format of any document, as paper document could be upgraded to technologically advance digital version. Digitization helps in preserving documents in a CD, or in other data storage hardware such as floppy disks, USB storage devices, magnetic tape, punch cards etc. This is very economical in terms of space as books take up a lot of space in a library and also in terms of time as books may get lost or tear off or become damage over the years. Although CDs and other hardware are also prone to loss or damage the space occupied being less and the fact that many large books can be easily transformed digitally in one small piece of hardware device, makes digitization the preferred method for storage. The process of digitization can also facilitate research and can help teachers and students to access research materials through computerized search rather than going through the search process manually which is time consuming.
The definition of digital preservation could be given as follows. It is usually considered as:
The series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary (as indicated and relevant for this project).
Digital preservation refers to all of the actions required to maintain access to digital materials beyond the limits of media failure or technological change (Jones & Beagrie 2001, p.10)
Thus digital preservation could be considered as that activity that could help manage digital and non-digital material through transformation to digital format for a long period of time. The important element of digitization would be content of the material, the audience for which these are preserved, the time for which materials are preserved and the techniques required for maintaining the digitization process.
The content that would be preserved for the future generation and apart from economy of time and space, and aiding faster research process, the archiving and cataloguing of digital products and items becomes far easier than non digitized printed material archived manually. However the challenges to digital preservation would be proper funding and finance, the time consuming process and the staff required for digitizing the vast amount of non-digitized and printed material, and the possibilities of computer snags, technical problems, loss of data and damage of disks and other storage hardware (Galloway, 2003; Deegan 2006). There are also sociological and management challenges and developing workable responses to the project is also a challenge in itself.
Role and Responsibility
The benefits and challenges of digital preservation of items in the archive have been given and this brings into focus the roles and responsibilities of all those who are involved in this project namely the