On Monday I went to the University of Manchester to attend a conference on digitization. The theme for the conference was “3D: digitize, deliver, discover”. Targeted at a wide audience, this event aimed to cover all aspects of digitization, both of special collections and of core texts and teaching materials.
The conference featured presentations from digitization experts from across the higher education and heritage sectors, including representatives from JISC and the University of Oxford. Topics covered included the processes involved in producing digital content, the challenges of preserving it, and the experiences of the end-users: academics and students. There was also the opportunity to learn about particular digitization projects, including the impressive heritage digitization work currently ongoing at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.
One of the key messages of the conference was that institutions need to consider the impact of their digital collections. Daniel Szechi, Professor of Early Modern History at Manchester, described the ways in which digital content can enhance learning and teaching, and called on libraries to expand their digital offerings. Michael Stocking, Managing Director of Armadillo Systems (a company which develops websites and apps for libraries), argued that user-experience is fundamental to the successful ‘surfacing’ of digital library collections.
Attending the conference was a really valuable learning experience. I came away with a much better understanding of the progress that has been made so far with digitization and the challenges which will need to be overcome in the future.
Further information about the event, including the programme and list of speakers, can be found on the John Rylands University Library website.