Reading: The race to digitize: are we forfeiting quality?


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The race to digitize: are we forfeiting quality?


Alice Keller


The article describes the errors and deficiencies found in digitized journal back issues. The results are not based on systematic or comprehensive research, but provide a snapshot of the sort of problems librarians and readers can experience when accessing digitized journals.

Errors and deficiencies are classified in the following categories: failed access, inaccurate journal titles, missing elements, insufficient quality of full text images, poor accuracy of OCR and inaccurate metadata.

Observations of the author indicate that digitized back issues of journals vary greatly in their quality. The conclusion contains a general recommendation that all publishers who have entered the 'race for digitization' should carefully review their quality control procedures and make sure that their products are an accurate reflection of their publishing history and not fraught with errors. The author suggests that publishers and providers should develop and adhere to strict quality standards for digitized journals. Only then can libraries really consider removing print journals from their shelves.

How to Cite: Keller, A., 2005. The race to digitize: are we forfeiting quality?. Serials, 18(3), pp.211–217. DOI:
Published on 08 Nov 2005.
Peer Reviewed


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