Digitisation Resources

Digital format standards

There are lots of different kinds of digital format standards out there and it can be confusing to know which one to choose. We recommend digital format standards that follow these principles:

  • Quality: A good format is lossless (retains all the information captured) and creates an accurate version that is flexible for future re-use.

  • Interoperable: A good format can be used by different software and hardware platforms and migrated to different carriers over time.

  • Widely supported: A good format follows a widely supported open or industry standard.

  • Self-contained: A good format supports a unique identifier and the ability to embed metadata according to a standard metadata schema.

Continued usability in different environments and contexts is central to good practice, and all standards where possible should support this. We have identified some standards that we consider meet this test.

Download Good Practice Standards - Photographs and images (PDF/173 KB)

Resolution and file-size calculators

This helpful online calculator, from Scantips.com, is designed for scanning of negatives, slides, and prints of a variety of types and sizes: Scanning and Printing Resolution Calculator

The following digital audio calculator will calculate the bit rate for uncompressed audio and the file size for a given bit rate: Audio Bit Rate and File Size Calculators

New Zealand resources

We recommend the following New Zealand resources for more in-depth information:

Digitisation of heritage audio recordings (+ checklist for planning a digitisation project) - Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

A Guide to Recording Oral History - New Zealand History Online

Overseas resources

We recommend the following international resources for more in-depth information:

A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections 3rd Edition - National Information Standards Organization, December 2007

BCR's CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices Version 2.0 - Bibliographical Center for Research, June 2008

Digital capture and image creation: standards and equipment - National Library of Australia

Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects - IASA Technical Committee, Second Edition 2009

An Introduction to Compressed Audio with Ogg Vorbis - Graham Mitchell 2004

A Primer on Codecs for Moving Image and Sound Archives (PDF) - Chris Lacinak 2010

Short Guidelines for Video Digitisation - Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe (TAPE)

DIY Bookscanner - a web community for DIY bookscanners and software

The Text Encoding Initiative - tei-c.org

Recommended reading and viewing

Digital Preservation - Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision

The Digital Dilemma: Strategic Issues in Archiving and Accessing Digital Motion Picture Materials - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2007

The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy - International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, 2005

Sustainability of Digital Formats: Sustainability Factors - Library of Congress, March 2007