Digitisation workflow

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This digitisation workflow is designed as a practical and useable guide, containing both the steps to follow and the technical parameters for the digitisation of contemporary artworks and contextual documents. Its aim is to produce a set of guidelines that could serve as a reference for collection caretakers (in- and outside museums) when they start digitising a collection of contemporary artworks.

Digitisation does not only mean the actual conversion from analogue to digital, but refers to the whole chain of actions, from determining the initial digitisation goals and creating a digitisation plan to the actual quality control of the resulting digital files. However, some of the steps that are important to a digitisation process are only touched upon briefly since they are discussed in details in other parts of this wiki, such as metadata practices and long-term preservation of digital files.

The digitisation workflow of contemporary artworks starts with outlining the different steps in the digitisation process, which are then elaborated upon in detail.

After completing the preparatory phase, quality parameters need to be decided upon. In the section about the conversion from analogue to digital (the actual digitisation), different best practices concerning the choice of the file format, resolution, bit depth, colour profile, are listed for the various types of artworks (and contextual documents) that has been part of the DCA content selection (e.g., paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations and audio-visual works). The technical specifications are matched to practical workflows per file type so they can be put into practice easily. After the digital conversion, quality control precedes the creation of derivative or access copies. Thorough quality control is crucial since it does not only refer to the quality of the digital files that were produced, it is also important for the long-term preservation of the files. The creation of derivative or access copies of the digitised objects concludes the workflow.

One step that is particularly important in an encompassing digitisation workflow is the creation of a detailed digitisation plan, which is paramount to ensuring a good input/output ratio and high quality results. if there are several content partners involved in a digitisation project,it is also a valuable tool for both the content partners and the project leader for the accurate monitoring of time and means. A template for such a plan was issued by DCA project management board and completed by all content partners.


Determining digitisation goals
Developing a project plan
Defining the selection
Clearing copyright
Analysing the artworks and contextual documents to be digitised
Preparing the artworks to be digitised
Defining quality parameters
Digital restoration
Quality control
Creating access copies
Submitting digital files to the digital archive
Making the digital files available for online access

Further reading