Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Digital Curation Projects: A Study of Selected Academic and Research Repositories in the Philippines

Academic journal article LIBRES: Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Digital Curation Projects: A Study of Selected Academic and Research Repositories in the Philippines

Article excerpt


This paper provides an overview and describes digitization projects and preservation initiatives in selected academic and research libraries in the Philippines. Particularly, it describes a digitization project at the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University, to digitize its newspapers and special materials, specifically photographs. The digitization project is a case study based on firsthand experience of the first author who at the time was the director of the library. The survey of other digitization initiatives is based on reports and publications, and websites gleaned from the Internet.


Digitizing Newspapers

The digitization project was conceived in 2001 upon the request of users of the product Newspapers on Microfilm. The users were having problems maintaining the quality of the microfilms because of the expense of storing them in a room with 24 hour air-conditioning. Many of the users found that their microfilms could no longer be used after some time because they were stored in rooms where the temperature and humidity were not controlled. In the Philippines, the room temperature varies from 25 to 40 degrees Celsius, depending on the season and the location of the library. Relative humidities were also in the high 70s or 80s. There was also the high cost of microfilm readers and printers. The cost of printing microfilm images was also high compared to photocopying. They suggested digitizing the newspapers since all libraries in the Philippines have computers with DVD drives. The DVD was the preferred format because not all libraries are connected to the Internet.

There were other objectives in digitizing newspapers and photographs. One was that the handling of microfilms was unwieldy compared with the DVD. There was always a need to assist the users in loading the film and in printing the images. A second reason was ease of access. Information in digital format can be indexed and accessed randomly while those on microfilms were accessed sequentially. A third reason was the ease in saving the information to thumbdrives or sending it to one's email address. A fourth reason was the ease of duplication should the disk be damaged due to heavy use.

The Ateneo de Manila University has been microfilming newspapers since the 1980s to preserve and share its content with users all over the country (David, 2002). In a country such as the Philippines however, temperature and humidity, the natural enemies of microfilm, are difficult to control. Hence when the requests to digitize came in, the Rizal Library in cooperation with the Philippine Library Materials Project, the agency handling the distribution of the microfilms, conducted a survey with current microfilm users and potential DVD users on their preference in acquiring newspapers for research purposes. All respondents preferred to acquire newspapers in digital format.

In 2002, a team was formed to study equipment costs, administrative costs, and costs of the creation of digital objects from print, conversion to microfilm and vice versa, and what and where to acquire the equipment needed. After a thorough study of the above factors and conducting a feasibility and market study, a pilot study using four newspapers was done. Digital objects were created and stored in hard disks and DVDs. The first batches of the DVDs were sent out to users for evaluation and comment. The DVDs were also subjected to testing by users on-site. The results were collated and used to improve the product which included an index for fast retrieval. After a year, another survey was conducted to determine user satisfaction and other problems met by the users of the product. The survey revealed that the users were very satisfied with the product. The production of newspapers on DVD is now a regular function of the Rizal Library photoduplication section (Figure 1). The DVD is still the medium used to this day as not all libraries in the Philippines have access to the Internet. …

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