Deciding the Nature of the Project
No digitization project should be started without identifying the purpose of the project. Why does it want to produce a particular resource? What questions does it hope to answer? How best would it answer these? What assumptions are being made? Some general options as to the nature of the project include what overall format it will be in, examples include:
* Database of Information Concerning the Original * Digital Image Facsimile of the Original * Marked-up Text Edition of the Original * Text / Image Digital Surrogate * Secondary Study of the Original * Amongst Many More...
In each case there are pros and cons, and the general nature of the digitization project should be chosen to best suit the questions and output desired.
Scoping the Field
Find out what other people doing similar projects have done. Contact them: Why did they choose that route? What problems have they had? Are their new developments, standards, and methods that may help your proposed project?
* Ask on mailing lists for advice * Research the technologies * Approach advisory services * Investigate methods and strategies
( There is some good information at http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/information-papers/index.htm and I might distill some of it into this page )
Funding Your Project
If you plan on applying for grant money to fund your project, you should have a good idea of what technologies you will need, what methodologies you plan to use, how long the project will take, what the end product will be and who will use it. In other words, you need to have thought your project through thoroughly before making an application. Some steps you might take before applying for funding include:
- describing your project to others (technologists, researchers who have managed similar projects) and asking them what technologies or methods they think you might use
- learning the lingo of your chosen technologies or methods by reading everything you can about them
- talking to others who have managed technology projects about how much time and funding they required
- querying members of your target audience to see if and how they might use the resource you plan to create
- doing a small, pilot project as a proof of concept (if you are working in a university environment, you may be able to apply for a small grant from your institution to fund such a limited pilot project)