What is digitization?
The past few decades or so have witnessed a major overhaul with regard to access to data. Various organizational processes that were offline earlier have now become online. Therefore it is safe to say, that we are now living in a digital era. To state simply, digitization is the process of converting information into a digital format. In this format, information is organized into discrete units of data called (bits) that can be separately addressed (usually in multiple-bit groups called bytes).
This is the binary data that computers and many devices with computing capacity (such as digital camera s and digital hearing aids) can process. Digitization is also a high-speed data transmission technique and involves the conversion of any fixed or analog media (such as books, journals, articles, photos, painting, maps, microforms etc.) into electronic forms by mode of scanning, sampling or rekeying by using various technologies. With regard to organizations, the process can include essential documents, files etc. At least three types of software are necessary for conversion to electronic form.
The first is a scanning software namely the scanner. The second is an image editing software that is normally applied to the image after it has been scanned. Thirdly the batch-processing software it is useful for the generation of the thumbnails and access images converting from one file format to another or compressing files.
The relevance of digitization to an organization:-
Now that we have addressed as to what digitization is; we must look at why digitization is necessary for an organization.
- Makes organizational resources more accessible online for distance research.
- Enables Better access and ease of use for the community and beyond.
- Provides easier access to information that can used at one’s disposal
- Digitization allows organizations to extend access to fragile resources and to resources that are difficult to access
Therefore, one can assume that digitization makes operations simpler
The advantages and disadvantages of digitization
Although Digitization is necessary, it is albeit a double edged sword consisting of advantages as well as disadvantages; Digitalization is advantageous in the sense that:
- Information and content can be delivered directly to end-users and can be retrieved remotely.
- It enables flexibility as it can be accessed at the user’s convenience
- Ability to provide a large number of users’ access to unique or special collections’ material
- Online resources serve local, national and international needs.
- Increasing access by any means, specifically remotely, makes historical or literary research much easier
- Allowing for a wider audience to view digital surrogates of primary material provides a great service and increased utility to the collection
- Providing access to the primary material can help to “publicize” the material to other departments and peers, and to demonstrate the importance of the collections.
- Digitization allows for extended data recovery, enabling scholarship that was previously not possible with the analog material.
However, it also suffers the following disadvantages; namely that organizations would have to spend resources on hiring staff and training them in the required expertise. They may face challenges in the following areas:
- User Interface
The Users with an organization can face a number of challenges with regard to User Interface with regard to compatibility among differing operating systems as well as difficulties in using an operating system.
- Classification and Indexing
As opposed to carrying out tasks manually, classification and indexing in a system require expertise that can often become tricky.
- Information retrieval
Once digital information is lost, retrieval becomes difficult.This is bolstered by the fact that, one may lose data while formatting.
Despite its shortcomings, one can conclude that Digitization is the way to go for all organizations.