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Procedure: Digitisation


To inform staff of the approach to digitisation of the University’s collections including works in the library, archives, colleges and works produced by the ANU Press.


Criteria for selection

  1. A steering Committee will determine which works are digitised.
  2. The Steering Committee will use a range of criteria to rank collections to ensure that the material which is most significant for the university is identified for digitisation. In order to identify this material input will be sought from academics, students and Scholarly Information Services staff. Criteria identified are:
  • Resources that will have a significant impact on university research, enabling researchers to easily find and access the resources, providing greater use and improving their research productivity through digital access
  • Resources that are of cultural and/or historical significance to a defined research community, either within the university or within the international research community that will enable significant developments in research
  • Resources that communicate the university’s research strengths and achievements to the nation and international research community
  • Resources that will contribute to the distinctive educational experience at the university
  • Resources that will contribute to the university’s aim to work as partners with business, government and civil society
  • Material that is a format which is deteriorating or will not be able to be used unless digitised – this will ensure that material, such as Umatic tapes or print material that is fragile, remains available to researchers
  • Collection resources that are part of a national or international special project that would support a collaboration to increase access to a research body of knowledge.


  1. The priority for digitisation is determined by the following factors:
  • Value to the research community within the university and the world
  • Value to support education within the university
  • Communication of university research to the research and wider community
  • Digitisation that will ensure access to material at risk, either ensuring that physical format material can be preserved or to replace obsolete formats
  • Alignment with the university’s strategic directions.
  1. If resources have already been digitised and are freely available, the resources would not be allocated a high priority for digitisation.
  2. If the material could be damaged by digitisation, the resources would not be allocated a high priority for digitisation.
  3. Material will be made available consistent with the Copyright Act 1968. Some resources may be able to be digitised but not made openly accessible for copyright or other reasons. This will not be used as a factor for prioritisation.


  1. Scholarly Information Services (SIS) will actively seek funding for specific projects, depending upon the nature of the resources to be digitised, from sources internal and external to the division. The need for funding is likely to exceed the funds available in any one year. Digitisation is a long tem activity.
  2. SIS will aim to fund some digitisation of library and archive collections within their annual budget.
  3. Funding of research resources held elsewhere in the university may be sought from internal or external sources, either in collaboration with the area that holds the resources or by SIS.

Digitisation management

  1. Digitisation planning will occur through digitisation plans which include a set of priorities for a set timeframe.
  2. Projects will generally be managed by allocated digitisation manager/s, with responsibilities to :
  • Establish stakeholders (internal and external) for consultation
  • Prepare information for the steering committee to define resources to be digitised and any special processes or equipment needs
  • Reporting on the progress of each project.
  1. A SIS digitisation coordinator/s will:
  • Evaluate workflows and adapt as required to deal with specific material, ensuring to address any issues of fragility or special handling.
  • Identify the most appropriate digitisation models and tools including in-house digitisation programs, collaboration with other institutions and outsourcing.
  • Ensuring that resources are digitised to the standards required
  • Identify any equipment needs.

Standards and metadata

  1. A ‘digitise and describe once for many purposes’ practice will be implemented to ensure efficient and effective practices.
  2. All Digitisation standards adopted must be consistent with Australian and International good practice.
  3. Metadata created for the digitised collections and digitised individual items must be appropriate to the particular collection and be able to be mapped to Dublin Core standards.
  4. Details of all standards can be found in local protocols.

Access management

  1. Digitised resources are stored in the Open Research Repository. The Open Research digital collection includes scholarly works and digitised research output from the University.
  2. Access is made available to resources in the repository through:
  • the Open research website
  • the Library’s single search system
  • where the material is digitised from the library collection the digital copy will be recorded in the catalogue
  • where the material is digitised from the archives collection the digital copy will be recorded in the archive metadata system
  • metadata will be contributed to relevant national and international resource discovery services, such as WorldCat and Trove, where this is possible.
  1. Some digitised material may not be made open access due to cultural sensitivity, commercial in confidence, or for copyright reasons. Approval for restrictions for theses are recorded in the Thesis procedures and guidelines.

Communication and consultation

  1. Information including access details to digitised collections is communicated to stakeholders. The University promotes digitised content via appropriate social media channels and relevant online platforms and the digitisation newsletter.
  2. The University actively engages in consultation with the academic community and the Library Advisory Committee to ensure transparency in processes and to further identify research significance for the purposes of digitisation.

Steering Committee Members

Members of the Steering Committee are:

  • University Librarian (Director, Scholarly Information Services)
  • University Archivist
  • Associate Director, Library Services


Printable version (PDF)
Title Digitisation
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_015208
Purpose To inform staff of the approach to digitisation of the University’s collections including works in the library, archives, colleges and works produced by the ANU Press.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Information Management - Library
Effective Date 1 May 2023
Next Review Date 1 May 2028
Responsible Officer: University Librarian and Director, Scholarly Information Services
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Library, Archives and University Records
Authority: Copyright Act 1968
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.

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