As we begin our digitisation project of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation archives, we are conscious of maintaining good practice and developing a system that keeps the users in mind. However, it has become increasingly clear that there are no national standards or guidelines for initiating such projects so we have had to start by looking at some international guidelines, such as ISAAR and Minerva. The guidelines that have been published tend to focus on certain areas of the digitisation process or certain types of collections. Take a look at this diagram created by Jenn Riley so that you can see what I’m talking about! This demonstrates that the problem is not to do with volume, but to do with choosing the recommendations that are most relevant to the project.
This lack of authoritative clear guidelines means that most institutions with digitisation projects have created their own standards which are specifically tailored to their own collection and project objectives. Whilst they are more highly specialised and allow the institution greater flexibility, they can also be disconnected from other projects and the lack of guidelines can vary in quality.
Lloyd’s Register Foundation is researching these different avenues in the hope of extracting the best parts of each and use them as a springboard for our own ideas. Furthermore, there are some good guidelines by associated groups, such as JISC and the DPC that can be used.
We would however, be really interested to hear from you.
Has your institution considered digitisation projects? Have you just finished/started one? We would love to get some conversations going so that we can help each other with our own experiences and research.
If you are a member of the public, do you think you would use the collections we are digitising? What is most important to you in these projects? Is there anything that we should avoid?
We look forward to hearing from you!
The featured image at the top of this page is an ornate Lloyd’s Register Chains, Cables and Anchors Certificate from 1851.