Digitisation policy

Download the Digitisation policy (PDF 102.3 KB)


State Librarian & Chief Executive Officer

Policy Statement

State Library of Queensland, collects and preserves Queensland’s documentary heritage and oral

traditions and digitises collection items to:

  • enable clients, regardless of location, to access and have a rich digital  experience of Queensland content
  • assist with the preservation of rare and fragile material by protecting the original, while providing access to digital surrogates
  • ensure long term access to content on legacy formats no longer accessible due to obsolescence e.g. audio cassettes and cellulose acetate film


The Digitisation Policy supports State Library of Queensland’s Strategic Plan 2018–2022, Content Strategy and Digital Strategy.


The Digitisation Policy applies to analogue content which is turned into digital formats, including visual works, printed and written content, audiovisual works, objects and realia, large format, 3D, audio and moving image materials.

Memory and Extraordinary Collections are in scope and are our priority.

Out of scope is format shifting of born digital collections as part of digital preservation actions and Information Collections selectively digitised for clients in response to specific requests and to meet our document delivery obligations.


1:1 digitisation Digitisation of an analogue work at 100%, with no reduction to suit a standardised file dimension.
Analogue content Material created in analogue form such as pictures, maps, music scores, books and manuscripts.
Digitisation The act of turning an analogue object into a digital object via means of digital technologies.
Digitised A digital copy of an analogue object that has been created using digital technologies (used interchangeably with Turned Digital).
Faithful representation At State Library, a faithful representation of an analogue work, is a digital surrogate that will provide a user experience of the work, with an emphasis on the content in the work.
Format obsolescence Describes a state of becoming obsolete, rather than a state of already being obsolete. For our purposes, however, we are interested in identifying file formats affected by both - obviously related - conditions:
  • those that can no longer be rendered (and are therefore obsolete); and
  • those that are likely to become unrenderable within a timeframe demanding action (and are therefore obsolescent).
Pearson & Webb, NLA 2008 Defining File Obsolescence: a risky journey
Original materials Unpublished materials such as diaries, letters and oral histories.
ReformattingAnalogue or digital capture to copy collections at risk of loss or inaccessible to a new format.
Turned DigitalA digital copy of an analogue object that has been created using digital technologies (used interchangeably with Digitised).

What we digitise

Digitisation of collections is informed by the Content Strategy using criteria of content, viability and use. Digitisation also supports the library’s exhibitions and public programs.

We will develop an annual digitisation plan for turning analogue collections to digital formats.

Memory and Extraordinary content in danger of loss through fragility or format obsolescence will be assigned high priority for digitisation or media content transfer.

Additionally, a number of specific criteria will be applied in assessing material for digitisation:

  1. potential to develop mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships, either internal or external to State Library
  2. requests where the full cost of digitisation is being borne by another agency or individual

Digitisation Principles

The following principles underpin State Library’s digitisation activities:

  • we will enhance access to Queensland’s cultural heritage by increasing the scale of our digitisation activities with a key focus on digitisation of our unique collections
  • we are committed to both the protection of creator’s rights and to providing the greatest possible access to our collections, working within the legislative framework of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and by the extensive use of the Creative Commons licenses for the content we create
  • we will observe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections Commitments when digitising material relating to this content
  • we are committed to maintaining appropriate standards for managing digitisation activities. Access, use and long-term preservation of digital items depend on the use of appropriate standards. Accordingly, State Library will adhere to established, internationally accepted standards that allow both the greatest levels of current access and flexibility in the future to exploit new technologies as they emerge. Where such standards do not exist, State Library will liaise with NSLA (National and State Libraries Australia) and other institutions to identify and adopt international best practice.
  • we will develop and maintain State Library specifications to guide digitisation and retain a register to manage exceptions and guide review of specifications
  • we are committed to ensuring preservation and access to digitised content by application of current digital preservation technologies, systems and resources to provide for this long term investment being available for generations of Queenslanders to come.
  • digital versions of material will be a faithful representation of the original. Images will not be manipulated but colour and tone matching may be carried out to be faithful to the original as detailed in State Library’s source file specifications
  • Extraordinary and highly unusual collections will be captured at 1:1 and supported with colour chart and ruler including:
    • Very small or very large collections  - eg miniature diaries/scrolls
    • Realia/Objects  - eg, necklace or globes
    • Significant artworks
    • Illuminated addresses
    • Items listed as Treasures in the Disaster Plan
    • Artist Books
  • the use and reproduction of items in the digitised collections will be in accordance with State Library’s commitment to broad access and re-use. State Library does not charge for the right to reproduce content and any fees charged will be for administrative purposes.
  • we will continue to seek opportunities to work collaboratively with other institutions, minimising duplication.
  • we will look for opportunities to support digitisation capacity in the community, to enable increased discoverability of Queensland content.
  • we will digitise significant Queensland content already turned digital by external agencies but substantially below minimum standards, that does not support digital preservation.
  • digitisation activities will be undertaken by in-house and appointed vendors ensuring the stability of collections during these operations.


This policy is supported by State Library’s:

This Policy is also supported by the following internal documents:

  • Annual Digitisation Plan
  • Handle Management 1.0
  • Exceptions Register
  • Criteria for digitisation

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