Digiwiki – towards Reliable Digitization
Digiwiki is a Finnish internet service that aims to present reliable information on digitization and long-term preservation of archive materials. Digiwiki focuses on three questions: what, how and where to digitize.
Who are Digiwiki?
The service was established by the Digifoorumi (i.e. “Digiforum”), a loosely organised group of people who represent various memory organizations and institutions. Digifoorumi is a community network, “collective intelligence”, which is brought together in the Digiwiki service.
Digiwiki has experts from the Music Archive JAPA, Central Art Archives of Finnish National Gallery, Finnish Museum of Photography, Research Institute for the Languages of Finland, Folklife Archives, National Archives, Finnish Literature Society, Swedish Culture in Finland, The Folk Music Institute, the National Library, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, and so on. We also have experts from the commercial world, including KAR. Digiwiki does not have paid staff.
How was Digiwiki organized?
Digiwiki was born in 2007. During the years it had become evident that Finnish memory organizations owned abundantly expertise on digitization. Yet there was no regular forum where all this knowledge could be dealt with. There was a need for a place or site where people would voluntarily exchange ideas, discuss, and provide information. A wiki-based open service appeared to be an ideal forum for such an activity.
As the word spread and the idea took on its wings, Digiwiki required more organized actions. Music Archive JAPA has now been a main administrator of the service. In addition to that, Digiwiki has a steering group of four people who meet every other month. The service has been supported by the Ministry of Education and this has enabled us to hire temporary labour and experts as well as to make the site more convincing. Digiwiki includes activities such as seminars and workshops but the development of the internet service remains the main task.
How does Digiwiki work?
Like most wiki-based services, Digiwiki is relatively simple to use. The platform has certain limits when it comes to flashy presentations and visual attractions. On the other hand, this makes participation easy for those who are more familiar with the digitization technology than with the latest software and graphic design.
At the moment, Digiwiki is mainly in Finnish. In the near future, selected sections will also be available in Swedish and English.
The site is divided in five categories: photographs, sound recordings, videos, texts and long-term preservation. Each category has a coordinator. Their task is to find experts and writers who would provide detailed descriptions of the digitization process. For example, with sound recordings these descriptions are: what are the general guidelines, how to select the digitized material and make preparations for the workflow, what is the workflow itself like, and how to deal with the problems of the preservation. These are then accompanied by specified practices and experiences of various organizations.
Reports are mainly in written form but we look forward to present some of them also as sound files and in audiovisual formats. The service includes a general chat corner and a section which provides information about seminars, workshops, conferences and other events as well as minutes and memos of the Digiwiki steering group.
Who can use Digiwiki?
Even though Digiwiki is basically an open service it is not exactly so. The service is free for everyone to see but the access to the technical features and updating is reserved for those with the so-called expert status. Userrights for the experts are conferred by the administrators of the service.