Digitisation: Methods, Tools and Technology

Digitisation: Methods, Tools and Technology

Jagdish Arora (INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-767-1.ch003
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This chapter provides a practical approach to digital libraries. The authors present a comprehensive picture of digitization and explains the process of digitization in a step-by-step approach. The chapter also describes different file formats and alternatives to digitization.
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Digitisation: Basics


The word “digital” describes any system based on discontinuous data or events. Computers are digital machines because at their most basic level they can distinguish between just two values, 0 and 1, or off and on. All data that a computer processes must be encoded digitally as a series of zeroes and ones.

The opposite of digital is analogue. A typical analogue device is a clock in which the hands move continuously around the face. Such a clock is capable of indicating every possible time of the day. In contrast, a digital clock is capable of representing only a finite number of times (every tenth of a second, for example).

As mentioned before, a printed book is analogue form of information. The contents of a book need to be digitised to convert it into digital form. Digitisation is the process of converting the content of physical media (e.g., periodical articles, books, manuscripts, cards, photographs, vinyl disks, etc.) to digital formats.

Digitisation refers to the process of translating a piece of information such as a book, journal articles, sound recordings, pictures, audio tapes or videos recordings, etc. into bits. Bits are the fundamental units of information in a computer system. Converting information into these binary digits is called digitisation, which can be achieved through a variety of existing technologies. A digital image, in turn, is composed of a set of pixels (picture elements), arranged according to a pre-defined ratio of columns and rows. An image file can be managed as a regular computer file and can be retrieved, printed and modified using appropriate software. Further, textual images can be OCRed so as to make its contents searchable.

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