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Create a digital access plan

A digital access plan sets out details such as: what will be digitised, the resources and equipment needed, and how it will be made accessible to the public.

A digital access plan does not have to be about the whole collection. If you are going to dip your toe in the water with collections digitisation, choose a small section of the collection to highlight. Alternatively, use significance to help determine which are the most significant items in the collection; these can then become the priority for digitisation and digital access.

When you are ready to write the plan, hold a team meeting and consider the following:

  • Why are you digitising your collection? Clarify why the organisation is doing this work and what you hope to gain from it.
  • What will you digitise? Will you choose a section of the collection to digitise first, such as the most significant items, or a collection such as photographs or machinery? Or break the overall collection into smaller pieces and choose one section to work on, so that the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
  • Who will be involved? Consider who will be involved and write down their role. This should include a photographer, collections manager, data entry, website coordinator, etc.
  • What equipment will you need to do the work? For the digital access plan consider scanners, cameras, lights for photography (or a photo tent set up), collections management software, an account with an online collection sharing platform, and other cataloguing equipment such as pencils, tape measure, and so on. See Equipment and software.
  • What do you already have? Do you already have a scanner, or is there one you can borrow for this project?
  • Where can you go to get the information or equipment that you need? Consider:
    • contacting your state-based support agency or GLAM organisations close to you
    • the nearest office equipment store to purchase the equipment you need – would they make a donation or discount to your organisation?
    • is there anyone at council who can help? Does council have any equipment they can lend you?
  • How will it be done? What software will you use for the collections digitisation? Will you need a grant to purchase equipment or the software you wish to use?
  • How will you provide digital access to your collection? Will the collection be shared online, on a collection sharing website, or on your own website?
  • Are you going to use the digitised collection to make social media posts? Are you going to sell digitised versions of your 2D collection, such as photographs or artworks?
  • When are you going to do this? Write down a timeline for the project that includes a start date. If this is ongoing work, which it is for most organisations, try to set goals for how much you will have done. The amount of time it takes to digitise an item will become clearer to you, once you have done a few and become familiar with the process.
  • Where will it happen? Where will the scanner and photographic space be set up? If there is data entry to be done, does this need to be done at the organisations site, or can it be done remotely by volunteers in their homes?
  • Where will you store all the digital data that will be produced by the collections digitisation process? Storing image files takes up a lot of space on your computer. It is worthwhile to plan ahead for where the data will be stored. External hard drives are a good solution to providing more space for the collection and providing a back-up.

When these have been discussed, write down who will do the tasks required. That way, everyone will know who is responsible for which part of the project. Use the template below to help you get started.

File Digital Access Plan template