METRO Publishes Digitization in the Real World

More than 30 examples of successful efforts to digitize historically significant materials at leading libraries in North America are profiled in the new book Digitization in the Real World, published this week by METRO. The new book is the first to present case study examples of small and medium-sized digitization projects, with information developed by library professionals for library professionals.

Digitization in the Real World identifies the specific strategies used by top libraries to digitize a range of collections in recent years. Examples include recent digitization efforts at Columbia, Yale, the American Museum of Natural History and many other leading library and research centers. Case studies include examples of smaller digitization projects with very limited budgets, projects involving a range of public, specialty and university libraries and research centers, and digitization efforts that required collaboration between multiple institutions.

“Digitization continues to be a major focus of library organizations in the U.S., and in many cases practitioners proceed without a clear roadmap to success. The projects profiled in this book together represent a vital new information resource and guide for library professionals considering digitization projects in the months and years ahead,” said Kwong Bor Ng, associate professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College, CUNY, and co-editor of Digitization in the Real World.

Digitization in the Real World includes perspectives from library practitioners at small archives, public and specialty libraries, repositories of unique cultural and historical collections, and library consortia. Projects include several examples of working with open source software to build digital collections. Many case studies highlight the critical role of collaboration in the success of digitization efforts.

“One of the key findings in pulling together case studies from all across the U.S. was the fact that, while all digitization projects are different, key learnings from successful projects at one library can provide very effective guidance and support for projects at other libraries. This book also presents real-world perspectives tailored to the needs of library professionals, so the guidance is targeted and specific,” said Jason Kucsma, emerging technologies manager at METRO and co-editor of Digitization in the Real World.

Download excerpts from the book as they're released on the Digitization in the Real World website. Print and electronic versions of the book are also available at and (beginning in September). The print version is $60. The full text book is also available for electronic download for $10.