Creating a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections

Timothy W. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As technologies to digitize primary source content mature and become better understood, more widely accessible, and more efficient, the volume of available digital content increases and issues of integration and aggregation become more important. Today's digitization project managers must give high priority to factors such as reusability, persistence, interoperability, verification, and documentation when planning their projects. Digitization project funding agencies, like the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), must give substantial weight to these same factors when assessing programs and evaluating project proposals. A Digital Library Forum convened by the IMLS and working in collaboration with participants from the NSF's National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library program has released a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections to serve as a resource for practitioners and funding agencies. This Framework pays particular attention to digitization collection practices that facilitate integration and aggregation of digital information resources developed by museums, libraries, and similar institutions. To protect against obsolescence and to better accommodate the wide range of digitization projects funded by the IMLS, NSF, and other granting organizations, the Framework is not wedded to any particular set of standards or best practices. Rather it articulates principles fundamental to planning, implementation, and evaluation of digitization projects and links to specific resources and exemplary models that support and illustrate good application of these principles. This paper describes the context and development of the Framework, briefly presents the major principles articulated in the Framework, and concludes with remarks regarding the immediate impacts of the work accomplished by the IMLS Digital Library Forum and a call for the continued development and maintenance of the Framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFirst Monday
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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