Beyond the pages: How digitization has helped tell the story of the International Telecommunication Union

GREY-NOBLE, Brie (2014) Beyond the pages: How digitization has helped tell the story of the International Telecommunication Union. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 201 - Government Information and Official Publications with Government Libraries. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/896
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Beyond the pages: How digitization has helped tell the story of the International Telecommunication Union

We can learn a lot about an organization and its work by studying the role of its publications and documentation. Grouping materials together by function or in relation to an event places them in context and enables the end-user to gain a better understanding of the contents. Since 2007, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Library and Archives Service has scanned over 600,000 pages of historical publications and documents produced by ITU. At first, documents were scanned to fill user requests as they were received. However, the reason for scanning became more strategic when we realized that by systematically selecting publications and documents to digitize we could provide more than just scanned pages. What began as a simple scanning project has developed into a full scale digitization programme. Today, digitized texts, as well as a selection of complementary materials, are publicly available, for free, through the History of ITU Portal web site (www.itu.int/history). With the History of ITU Portal we are taking an active role in telling the story of ITU by sharing what we have learned about its institutional history through researching and selecting documents to digitize. This has provided us with the means to bring together a variety of documents, as well as other types of content such as photographs and films, that trace the development of the Union. Making the links between these materials shows how the many pieces of ITU’s history fit together to tell the story of its growth and evolution as one of the world’s first international organizations. Furthermore, by understanding and demonstrating the value of the materials in our collections we are creating a lasting record of ITU’s history and ensuring access to its publications and documents. This paper will explore how our approach to digitization has evolved from simply scanning documents to a means of raising awareness and increasing visibility of ITU’s history by providing an engaging and meaningful online presence.

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