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Digitisation involves the conversion of a physical or analogue record to a digital representation. Digitisation is one means of converting an original or source record and is usually carried out through scanning or photographing the source record.
Benefits and risks
Digitisation can provide considerable benefits for agencies, including:
improved productivity and service delivery, as records can be accessed immediately, used by multiple people and become part of monitored workflow processes
greater sharing of information and re-use of previous work
better decision-making as the full set of contextual and background information can be accessed
savings on storage, management and access costs
preservation of the organisation’s history.
However, agencies should weigh up and carefully consider the intended outcomes of any potential digitisation projects for public records. Digitisation is often an expensive and resource intensive exercise. In some cases transferring records to PROV may be a more strategic action to take on permanent value, hardcopy records.
Please follow the below steps to ensure that your agency is meeting PROV digitisation and disposal requirements.
The first step for agencies is to refer to the following:
PROS 19/07 Converted or Digitised Records Retention and Disposal Authority (RDA)
PROS 19/05 S1 Digitisation Specification.
All agencies must prepare a Digitisation Plan when the digitised copy will be used as the official record.
Original or source records which can be disposed of under different RDA classes do not necessarily need separate Digitisation Plans—this is only required if the digitisation process, technology or tools, or way the records are going to be managed is substantially different.
The Plan will help your agency:
establish an authorised framework for digitisation and business ownership over the digitisation activities
identify the types and condition of records to be digitised
ensure they have been sentenced under an existing RDA
undertake a risk analysis for the digitisation
establish the digitisation process and image technical requirements
determine how the digitised records will be managed
determine disposal actions for the original or source records.
PROV strongly recommends that agencies use the PROV Digitisation Plan Template.
Image technical requirements and output formats
PROS 19/05 S1 Digitisation Specification includes minimum digital image technical requirements for digitising documents and photographs. See also National Archives of Australia’s Preservation Digitisation Standards for technical requirements for other types of analogue records such as audiovisual formats.
PROS 19/05 S3 Long Term Sustainable Formats Specification sets out the approved long term preservation formats for permanent records. For records which are not permanent, agencies may choose the output file, however it is recommended practice to use the approved long term preservation formats.
Refer to PROS 19/05 S1 Digitisation Specification and relevant RDAs
Develop a Digitisation Plan, ideally using the Digitisation Plan Template
Determine appropriate technical requirements and output formats.