Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sometimes when I’m giving a tour of the archives and showing off an unusual image or document the visitor will say, “That’s already digitized, right?” Well, no. Digitization is not too hard to do, and we have some great staff members doing it, but, actually, most of our collections are not digitized. Why is that? Well, take for example our wonderful cold storage vault holding about three million images. Let’s say that we digitize 5,000 images a year. Five thousand is a lot (about 100 images per week, or 20 images per day; about 20 minutes per image that includes handling the original negative, adding catalog data (metadata) and post-processing the image from a negative to a positive and doing minimal sharpening), but at that rate it would take about 600 years to digitize that collection. Let’s say that we digitize about 50,000 images a year; it would still take 60 years.