Digitization at the University of Alberta
The University of Alberta Library (UAL) digitizes unique, distinctive, and diverse collections, which enable access to materials which are otherwise hidden, non-circulating, or geographically contained. Our goal is to provide open and responsible access for the widest of audiences in support of research, teaching, and learning and consider digitization to be a core research service provided by the Library. We aim to support access for all users from the University of Alberta and external research communities, including members of the general public.
UAL’s digitization program supports two streams of digitization production services.
- Project-based digitization targets collections that support the principles of our digitization strategy. We select projects based on their feasibility and a determination of whether they meet our criteria. Have a project suggestion? Fill out our proposal form.
- On-demand digitization is driven by user requests and is intended for print collections of less than 10 items. These requests are intended for unique items that meet the criteria as outlined in our digitization strategy. The digitized versions are intended to be high-quality scans in their entirety, and openly accessible to the general public.
- If you just need a scan of a book chapter or print journal article that is held in the University of Alberta Library collection, please place an Inter-Library Loan Request. On-demand scanning is not intended to replace reproduction services offered by Inter-Library Loan, Bruce Peel Special Collections, or other library departments. If you have a request for on-demand digitization, email us at email@example.com.
If your projects don't fit with these services we also offer in partnership with the Digital Scholarship Centre, a bookable digitization station to scan your own photos, slides and documents with a high-quality flatbed scanner. To access specialized software for more advanced post-processing of digitized images (Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Optical Character Recognition etc.) you can book computer time at the Digital Scholarship Centre by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The library also has scanners available at various locations.
Digitization Selection and Prioritization
The University of Alberta Library (UAL) uses the UAL Digitization Strategy as a framework for selecting and prioritizing digitization projects.
Digitization projects may be initiated by the Library or partner organizations, affiliated researchers, members of the university community, or members of the general public. These projects may be funded by the Library, or may be supported by external funding sources. All digitization must align with the UAL Digitization Strategy.
While one of our digitization program principles is to provide open access to our collections for the widest of audiences, we are aware there are factors in providing responsible access to our collections. When evaluating digitization requests we consider:
- Are there any legal or ethical barriers to digitizing and making a collection accessible? Considerations include privacy, copyright, appropriate treatment of Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge protection protocols and agreements, and other rights.
- What is the physical condition and location? When accessing materials for digitization we take into consideration if materials are stable enough to be safely transported and handled for digitization to ensure a good quality copy can be made without damaging the physical materials.
Potentially Harmful Content
The University of Alberta Library digital collections include historical and primary sources from many cultures and time periods. Some content (or its descriptions) may be harmful and difficult to view. These materials may be graphic or reflect biases. We provide access to these materials to preserve, and present these as part of the historic record, but we do not endorse the attitudes, prejudices, or behaviors found within them.
What are we doing to address this? We try to:
- Add content warnings on collections with this type of content.
- Prioritize digitization of content from less privileged communities.
- Revise and enhance descriptions with more respectful, community-driven terms.
- Listen to users, research solutions, and share our results. If you would like to report harmful content or talk to us about collections, email us at email@example.com.
Harmful Language in Catalogue Records and Resource Descriptions
The University of Alberta Library recognizes that our catalogue and resource descriptions contain language that reflects the biases, norms, and perspectives of the time in which they were created. To read our complete commitment to working to address problematic descriptions please visit Statement on Harmful Language in Catalogue Records and Resource Descriptions.
Partner with us on a digitization project
We welcome digitization proposals from University of Alberta faculty, staff, students and the wider community and encourage groups to reach out to us to help enrich and create diverse digitized collections.
When digitizing materials from other institutions and organizations we add them to our digital collections in the Internet Archive or other platforms as appropriate, and commit to maintaining them as UAL digitized collections. As a part of their ongoing maintenance, we may modify or enhance the metadata or ingest and hold a preservation copy of the digitized materials. We recognize our partners by providing attribution notes that acknowledge their contributions and relationship to the project. We may ask our partners to provide metadata, secure permissions for digitizing, or gather and organize materials for shipping as part of our partnership agreement.
If you have any questions about our digitization program or any of our digitized collections contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.