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Criteria for Digitization Priorities

SFU Library selects and actively prioritizes materials in all formats for digitization1with the purpose of building a distinctive digital collection at SFU that supports scholarly research and teaching and enhances access to and discoverability of our collections.

  1. Does SFU Library have the right to digitize the material?
    1. In the public domain
    2. SFU has copyright
    3. Copyright owner has or is willing to confer distribution rights
  2. Non-duplication2
    1. Does a suitable digital surrogate exist?
      • It should be easily discoverable & excessive time should not be spent searching
      • Is the surrogate exactly the same (edition, printing, etc.)?
    2. Does it meet the needs envisaged?
      • For example: sufficient image quality, accurate OCR, etc.
    3. Does SFU Library have the legal/contractual rights to use it in the way envisaged?
  3. Value of content
    1. Intellectual
    2. Historic
    3. Rare or unique material
    4. Complements existing collection
  4. Preservation
    1. Unique or rare content may be lost if not preserved (i.e. sound cassettes deteriorating, paper crumbling, images fading…)
    2. Continued use is damaging the original
  5. High demand
    1. Content likely of interest to researchers unable to easily visit SFU Library, or, digitization is likely to create interest
  6. Digitization adds value
    1. Text searchable
    2. Images can be gathered together, or viewed at same time (much more difficult with physical objects)
  7. Strategic considerations
    1. Strategic significance associated with a related SFU initiative or research project for which the Library is a participant or stakeholder, e.g. Komagata Maru collection, various SSHRC-funded projects. consortial initiatives, etc.
    2. Commitment made as a condition for a donation of a large, significant collection, e.g. Force Four, Bringhurst, British Columbia Postcards, etc.
    3. Ability to leverage additional funding and/or in-kind support from another source, e.g. IKBLC’s BC History Digitization Program, SFU English Dept., etc.


1NOTE: Digitization may include some or all of the following: digitization work; preparation of descriptive metadata and enhancing discoverability; development of contextual information, landing page, website; translation work; addition or upgrading of software, tools, or, utilities that directly support these activities; e.g. Komagata Maru diary translation, Islandora enhancements.

2NOTE: Non-duplication generally applies to published material from the general collection. Unique items from Special Collections are not likely to have digital surrogates (e.g. manuscripts, recordings, photographs, scrapbooks, etc.). Published material in Special Collections may have been made unique by owners adding information to items (e.g. marginalia), or, by being included in, or made into a unique collection (e.g. postcards from one collecter).