Digitization for Religious Organizations
Many religious organizations house special and rare collections meant for spiritual enrichment and study, but these rare, often delicate, materials can only reach so many people. When the collection is studied routinely, the risk of damage increases with each turn of the page. Even storage, if not planned with an archival professional, can result in time and exposure damage to a cherished collection. Digitization of religious collections provides a necessary bridge between access and preservation that enhances the overall collection.
Over-handling of historic materials is a constant danger, and protection against damage often comes at the price of reduced access. Digital libraries solve the dilemma of access or preservation. Once digitized, at-risk materials may be safely stored and cared for as needed to preserve their physical copy while the digital copy can be accessed and can continue to enrich spiritual research and increase awareness.
Those who do not have local access to a physical collection regularly lose out on the opportunity to experience religious works. Through digitization, such challenges to access disappear. Individuals need only an internet connection to pull a book off the digital shelf. The influence of a digital collection can reach around the world, offering spiritual research and guidance that otherwise would be lost to many students of faith.
Not only does digitization provide access to the millions unable to travel to the collection, but it can offer a wider audience to rare and endangered materials that might be restricted only to staff trained in its handling. These rare collections can gain fresh use and exposure in a digital library.
A Word from
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by Shana Scott Gas station receipts, junk mail catalogs, and notepad doodles aren’t exactly what we imagine future researchers studying to learn about our time