At Stanford Libraries, we reformat all kinds of items from our collections for use in research, teaching, and exhibition. From medieval manuscripts to motion picture film, from computer tape to CDs, from 35mm slides to 78rpm records, from floppy disks to flash drives, from artists' books to antiquarian maps, from piano rolls to posters, from stone tools to scrapbooks — a wide variety of materials from the University's collections make their way through the digitization labs and eventually are presented via the Stanford Digital Repository for online access. The purpose of the Digitization Exemplars exhibit is to illustrate with real samples from our work how these various materials appear online to users.

May this exhibit serve as a reference for our Stanford collaborators and donors interested in how their content will look once digitized and online.

Our three specialized teams (or “labs”) collaborated to build this resource. We share a common purpose: to enable use of collection materials via digital technology with utmost attention to preservation quality and the long term. Yet the nature of each team’s work -- the concerns, tools, and processes -- is inherently different. Explore and you shall see.

May this site also serve as a resource for all librarians and archivists as well as our peers who specialize in the digitization of cultural heritage materials ...

In each lab's section (under the How We Work menu), we include information about some of the decisions to be made by library curators or digitization specialists in the course of reformatting. In some cases, these decisions are aesthetic choices, representing preferences for how the finished work ultimately is presented in the web interface. In other cases, they are mechanical or operational decisions, related to how the digitization itself is carried out. And in other cases, the decisions are purely technical, driven by concerns such as the quality of output or the fidelity of capture. It bears mentioning also that sometimes copyright protection, privacy concerns or donor agreements determine if and how digital content can be accessed online.

May this exhibit serve as a reference for our Stanford collaborators and donors interested in how their content will look once digitized. Similarly, may this site serve as a resource for digital librarians and archivists as well as our peers who specialize in the digitization of cultural heritage materials for online discovery and use. As we digitize more and more content, we expect it to grow, and likewise we expect our methods to be refined and updated with time as digitization standards and practices evolve. We invite your questions and feedback!