Limits of Digitization

Digitisation of an object can either make the object more or less popular for an audience.  For instance on one hand, digitisation can bring collection of data together, allowing for ease of reference and research, thus allowing an object to be widely available, creating a larger audience.  As in the case of

“page from the Frederick Weinstein Diary. Courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.”

the Frederick Weinstein Diary, Klinger suggests this wider audience sought to seek a viewing of the original object, increasing “requests to borrow” for exhibitions also requests from “researchers to see the originals.” (2016)  At the same time digitisation allows objects to be viewed in greater detail, to a wider audience for inspection and analysis, allowing an indepth inspection of an object, illuminating features that could be overlooked by the human eye, Like watermarks for instance or the ability to zoom in order to transcribe handwriting.

On the other hand, digitisation can limit the visibility of truth regarding an object, regarding the emotional state of both the landscape and timescape surrounding an object.  To hold a book for instance can endorse a sense of wonder and joy for a participant.  The outer cover, the binding, typeface, year and place of print, all could bring the pariticipant on a journey of discovery of both time and place of an object.  For instance, Davis (2012) suggests that if “The Secret Museum of Anthropology” were to be digitized, we would lose the covertness of its creation”


Davies (2012) suggests that the essence of time, place and purpose of the book would be lost through digitisation.


Davis, J. 2012

Klinger, Jane E. Exploring the Limits of Digitization, European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI)