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Digitisation Initiatives in South Africa
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Audit Report

This audit is the first phase of an extensive exploration of the national development needs for effective and efficient digitisation and preservation of valuable heritage and research collections in the South African system. Sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and managed by the National Research Foundation. It is driven by the impression that digitisation and preservation needs significantly exceed the available resources and that a more detailed perspective will enable a more focused application of capacity building and project funding, which will upgrade digitisation and preservation practice.

Managing Digital Collections: A Collaborative Initiative on the South African Framework

The objective of this Framework is to provide high-level principles for planning and managing the full digital collection life cycle. It aims to

  • provide an overview of some of the major components and activities involved in creating good digital collections
  • provide a sense of the landscape of digital collections management
  • identify existing resources that support the development of sound local practices
  • encourage community participation in the ongoing development of best practices for digital collection building
  • contribute to the benefits of sound data management practices, as well as the goals of data sharing and long term access
  • introduce data management and curation issues
  • assist cultural heritage organisations to create and manage complex digital collections
  • assist funding organisations who wish to encourage and support the development of good digital collections
  • advocate the use of internationally-created appropriate open community standards to ensure quality and to increase global interoperability for better exchange and re-use of data and digital content.

The framework provides principles and guidelines to assist planners, policy developers and managers of digital collections gain a sense of the digitisation landscape. It can be either a reference (to be consulted as and when required) or an overview (to be read from beginning to end). It is not a step-by-step manual of digitisation processes that will be the function of training initiatives for personnel actually doing the digitisation but it can support and supplement training by being prescribed reading for digitisation students and staff. This will assist them by providing an overall understanding of the broader perspectives and the multiple processes involved in building good digital collections.