Digital Capture and Retention Guidelines

Why digitization standards and guidelines?

The variety and richness of the Yale Library collections (consisting of materials in all formats and from all time periods and parts of the world), combined with the growing number of initiatives undertaken to digitize them, emphasize the need for a unified set of guidelines for consistency and efficiency. Such a document, based on past experiences as well as on federal agencies’ specifications and recommendations, outlines specifications for the digital capture and retention of all major format types, as listed below.

Who should use these guidelines?

The documents available below are intended primarily for all parties involved in the planning and implementation of future projects undertaken by the Yale Library, such as

  • Yale Library staff
  • Partner institutions participating in cooperative digitization projects
  • Outsourcing vendors

Why use these guidelines?

The main purpose of these guidelines is to facilitate, not to limit and constrain, and project managers may decide to follow them in full or in part, depending on their particular needs. In providing minimum, rather than overspecific standards, they stress the fact that their adoption may require some degree of flexibility and latitude due to the partidular factors affecting each individual project. These may involve

  • External factors, such as funding agencies or donors (and their requirements); partner institutions (and their needs, etc.); vendors (and their equipment, workflow, etc.)
  • Project-specific factors. To some extent, each project is unique due to a combination of factors including: (1) The type of materials that are being digitized, their characteristics and provenance; (2) the audiences that are being targeted; (3) the intended uses and forms of presentation (e.g., online exhibition, temporary or otherwise, versus digital collection, etc.); (4) funding realities; (5) workflow issues (outsourcing, etc.)
  • Technology-specific factors. These have to do with the constant evolution of all the technological aspects and components that are involved in a digitization project, including DAM solutions as well as file formats and the software applications involved in their management and preservation.