By Dottie Hiebing (METRO Executive Director)

For more than 45 years, METRO has worked to provide opportunities for libraries to share best practice strategies to address many critical needs. In these efforts, we have often seen that the best learning comes through examples of libraries that have addressed important challenges successfully – and sometimes not so successfully. This has been especially true in efforts to support large and small digitization projects.

For more than a decade – and continuing today – digitization has been established as an essential focus for many libraries as well as for research centers, museums, and cultural and arts organizations. METRO has worked to support our members in these efforts with a range of grants, training programs and instructional materials. Digitization in the Real World represents a significant new milestone in our commitment to providing library professionals with the hands-on experience and guidance they need to plan, execute, and manage digitization projects over the long term. In many ways, the examples presented in this volume show library professionals how to maximize the value and impact of digitization efforts for their libraries and their users.

This book also represents the first self-published text METRO has ever sponsored. As we continually look for new ways to help libraries stay ahead of the curve in digitization, technology and other areas, this strategy has the clear potential to be a major focus of our work in the years ahead. We will welcome your feedback and look forward to seeing how self-published materials such as this can support our mission and your needs moving forward.

On behalf of METRO, I would like to congratulate and thank editors Kwong Bor Ng and Jason Kucsma and all of the members of the library community who supported this project and who contributed of their time and insight in the development of these outstanding digitization case studies. They have created a vital new resource to help libraries continue to advance important digitization projects, and their efforts will have a profound and lasting impact on the future of these efforts in the years ahead.