You mean like the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Project, which was the
subject of a very interesting presentation at GLAM-WIKI?

It's not strictly Wiki-like, but it shares many characteristics of our model
and promises to be a great resource down the track.  I've not had a great
look at the editing module itself, but changes/corrections seem to be "live"
onto the site.  The only thing that's not clear is the licence, while the
papers themselves are pretty much all public domain, I can't see anything to
confirm with certainty that the digitized text has been released as such. 


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Stephen Bain
Sent: Friday, 14 August 2009 1:04 AM
To: Wikimedia-au
Subject: [Wikimediaau-l] Bringing the wiki model to digitisation

I unfortunately couldn't get to Canberra for GLAM-Wiki, though I've
been reading the material online so far and am very much looking
forward to the videos.

One of the major discussion points coming out of it has been the ways
in which these institutions offer - and should offer - digitised
material. The costs of digitisation are a key factor driving
institutions' desire to charge for certain usage of digitised content.
The employees in the sector engaged in digitisation are a scarce
resource too, which ultimately affects what material is made available
online at all.

My own use of archival collections for research has recently got me
thinking: why don't we bring the wiki model to digitisation?

The various state public archives all have facilities for users to
purchase photocopies or scans of archival material, but some
(certainly the archives in Victoria, NSW and Queensland) also allow
users to take their own photos of material. Users are typically
limited to using such photos only for personal or academic use, with
permission for commercial use able to be requested, either from the
archives itself or from the government agency responsible for the

With a bit of organisation, I think it would be possible to set up a
'DIY digitisation' project for archival material, which would aim to
produce digital copies of material at a quality level good enough to
use for transcription at Wikisource. This would involve:

1) Identifying shortlists of material to target for digitisation.
There is a wealth of material out there that would be of high value if
made available generally to researchers but is currently a low
priority for in-house digitisation.

2) Seeking permission for commercial reuse. With shortlists of
material identified, this could be handled in bulk, reducing the
burden on individual researchers.

3) Taking the photos and transcribing at Wikisource. As far as I am
aware, all the various state archives are free to use (if you don't
use the copying services) so all participants would need would be a
camera and some spare time.

Thoughts? Such a project would be volunteer-labour-intensive, but it
would circumvent the current bottleneck in the digitisation process,
namely the limited stock of professional labour engaged in
digitisation. I also imagine there would be various groups out there,
such as historical societies, who might be interested in contributing
if it meant that records of interest to them get digitised.

Stephen Bain

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