What is digitization?

Geoff Weber, CEO
January 4, 2021

Digitization is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital format. This can include converting analog audio and video recordings into digital files, scanning physical documents and books into digital images, and even converting physical photographs into digital images. Digitization is becoming increasingly important as more and more information is stored and shared digitally, and has revolutionized the way that we store, access, and use information.

Why Digitize?

There are several reasons why digitization is becoming more important:

Preserving information: One of the primary reasons to digitize information is to preserve it for future generations. Physical documents, books, and audio and video recordings can deteriorate over time, but digital copies can be stored and accessed indefinitely.

Improving accessibility: Digitizing information makes it more accessible to a wider audience. For example, digitized scrapbooks , with audio and video can be accessed by people with visual or hearing impairments.

Saving space: Storing physical documents, books, and audio and video recordings takes up a lot of space, but digital copies can be stored on a single hard drive or in the cloud.

Improving efficiency: Digitization can also improve efficiency by making it easier to search, access, and use information. For example, digitized PDF documents can be searched for specific keywords, and digitized MP3 audio and MP4 video recordings can be edited and manipulated to create new content.

The Process of Digitization

The process of digitization varies depending on the type of information being digitized, but typically involves the following steps:

Preparation: The first step in the digitization process is to prepare the information for digitization. This may involve cleaning and repairing physical documents, preparing audio and video recordings for transfer, and creating a plan for how the information will be digitized.

Scanning or recording: The next step is to scan or record the information into a digital format. This may involve using a scanner to create digital JPEG images of physical photographs, or using a digital audio or video recorder to create digital files of audio and video recordings.

Quality control: After the information has been digitized, it's important to perform quality control checks to ensure that the digital files are of the highest quality and free of errors.

Storing and preserving: The final step in the digitization process is to store and preserve the digital files. This may involve creating backups and storing the files on a secure server, or in the cloud.

Benefits of Digitization

Digitization has numerous benefits, including:

Improved access to information: Digitization makes it easier to access information from anywhere, at any time, and on any device.

Increased efficiency: Digitization can improve efficiency by allowing information to be searched, accessed, and used more quickly and easily.

Better organization: Digitizing information makes it easier to organize and categorize information, making it easier to find what you need.

Improved preservation: Digitization helps to preserve information for future generations by creating digital copies that can be stored and accessed indefinitely.

Increased collaboration: Digitization can also increase collaboration by allowing multiple people to access and use information at the same time.

Digitizing Today

Digitization is a vital process that is transforming the way we store, access, and use information. By converting information from physical formats into digital formats, digitization is making it easier to preserve, access, and use information in new and innovative ways. Whether you're a researcher, a student, or simply someone looking to preserve your memories, digitization is an important tool that can help you achieve your goals.

It's important to be aware of the challenges associated with digitization, including the cost and time required to do-it-yourself (DIY). If you have large amounts of information, as well as the need to ensure the security and privacy of digital files, it helps to hire a professional digitizing service. Digitization is an essential process that will continue to play a critical role in the preservation and dissemination of information in the digital age.

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Lost & Found

Memories from thrift stores, flea, markets, and abonded storage lockers.

Older couple in front of mountain viewing spot looking at each other

Yosemite Valley, ~1960s

We found this picture of a beautiful couple standing in front of Half Dome, one of Yosemite Valley’s most recognizable landmarks. Yosemite Valley in California sees millions of visitors each year (a record 5 million people visited in 2016!). Even though the park sees so many people, each person typically only sees it once…and it’s always a special memory. This picture was nestled in a collection of photos from all over the world – from California to New Orleans to Paris, Germany, Africa, and more. But despite the awe-inspiring view behind them, the couple seems more entranced with each other than anything around them.

An image of highschoolers about to attend prom with their dates

Prom, 1966

The charm and beauty of prom captures the hearts of young men and women across the country every year. For many, it’s their first formal affair, their first step into a glamorous world built only for them. But perhaps more memorable are the days and moments leading up to the ceremony. Before the first song ever plays, ladies are shopping with friends to find the perfect dress, gentlemen are building up the courage to ask for a date, and both are speechless at the first sight of each other. The laughter and smiles found in these moments often planted roots for love to blossom.

Mother showing toddler in a crib their reflection in a mirror

Love unbound, circa 1966

Every generation faces unique challenges. To meet them, we stand on the shoulders of our loved ones and become more than they ever could. In time, we do the same for our children, lifting them higher still to achieve what we could only dream of. While we were busying admiring those who guided us, candid memories like this remind us of the care they took to show us the world we live in. Hairstyles and fashion choices come and go. Pop culture changes with the wind. But the excitement that comes from these experiences – whether learning them for the first time or passing them along to the next generation – creates unforgettable feelings that deserve to last forever.

2 men holding animals a chihuahua and a donkey side by side

Sharing laughs, circa 1965

Some of our memories are defined by the times. We proudly showed off our bellbottom pants and 8-track tapes, wore loud clothes and big hair, and proved that grunge wasn’t just music, it was a way of life. These were the times of our self-expression. But our most important memories weren’t shaped by self-expression, they were shaped by mutual expression, by the friends who stood beside us. Friends have a way of bringing out the best in us. They help define who we are through the experiences we share. The smiles, the laughs, and even the tears create a bond stronger than time.

Children on a swing set looking at the camera

Swinging, ~1965

Autumn brings about a time of great change. Like the trees that shed their leaves, we put the summer behind us, trading t-shirts for sweaters and beaches for playgrounds. And it was on the swing sets of our youth that we learned we could touch the clouds if we but yearned to fly. As Robert Frost once told us, “Nothing gold can stay.” Nearly a century later, his words remind us that true beauty lives only in the moment, and those moments are worth remembering.

Man sitting on a giraffe statue

Riding Giraffes, ~1965

Life has a way of forcing our focus on the future. We plan and schedule and organize and hope that it all helps us get to where we think we want to be. But when the meetings are over and the offices close, we escape to the places that make us forget it all. Places like the Nut Tree in Vacaville, CA, offered retreat to residents and tourists and foreign dignitaries alike. At its height, it was “the ‘go-to’ spot no matter your passions or your age. We all had a place like this, somewhere we could be ourselves among friends that always made us smile.

Image of people at a table in a home smiling at camera

Change, ~1970s

We often take pictures to capture the moment, to relive the happiness and joy we felt in years past. But when we look back on them decades later, we find that pictures are so much more powerful. They preserve the smiles, of course, but they also chronicle change. We all experience it. The laughter and tears, the wins and the losses, and at every turn we love and mourn and grow. Pictures like this show that as we grow, so too does the world.

Image of a teen boy holding a soda while 2 elementary boys make silly faces

Choices, ~1977

Just because we were there together doesn’t mean we had the same experience. We remember things differently because our priorities were different. Some of us let the experience define the memory, while others chose to define it themselves. We often rush through life, bouncing between the big moments and taking ourselves too seriously. We move from one day to the next with little regard for the small moments that fill each one. Meanwhile, those around us are having the time of their lives in every moment they can. So, we have a choice: we can wait for the memorable moments to find us, or we can create the times that are worth remembering.
When you look back at your own pictures, do you see a defining moment, or a moment defined?

Image of a boy wearing a blue power ranger costume

Transformations, 1994

As we get older, holidays tend to take on new meanings for us. New Year’s Eve becomes less about the party and more about spending another year with friends, Christmas less about getting gifts and more about giving them, and we understand the things we’re thankful for during Thanksgiving more than ever. But no matter how old we are, the excitement of putting on a costume for Halloween never changes. Whether we’re giving the candy or getting it, Halloween allows us to transform into whatever we want. We can be spooky ghosts wrapped in sheets or wear plastic teeth and threaten to suck the blood from our friend’s necks.

Image of an older man showing his fish catches of the day

Showing off, 1996

We all have our own hobbies. Some of us like golfing with friends, or painting a comforting picture surrounded by idyllic scenery. Others enjoy playing music, writing stories, or woodworking. But almost everyone has spent at least a day on the water with nothing but a fishing pole and the hope of catching the big one. Whether you’re bragging about your amazing hole-in-one or that giant fish that got away, we all love sharing our adventures. That’s why memories like this are so important. Our friends won’t always believe us when we tell them how big that fish really was, but they can’t argue when we show them the picture.

Black and white image of US Navy Sailors

Camaraderie, 1954

When we remember significant events in our lives, we remember the friends who supported us the most. As we get older, these memories become more caricatures than factual, and many of the people we enjoyed being with are lost in the fog of our minds. Military members meet a significant amount of people all the time. Whether through the constant rotation of personnel through a unit or the many classes that provide networking opportunities, service-members often remember events more often than names or faces. But when we look back on pictures like this, a flood of memories comes rushing through. Suddenly, we’re a part of the conversations all over again. We see the faces and hear the laughter and we remember the smiles that carried us through those important times.

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