Digital cameras and other mobile capture devices are revolutionizing special collections reading rooms and the research process, but at the same time are being wrongly framed as a threat or a challenge for some repositories to remain relevant. While some librarians and archivists have resisted digital cameras, others have embraced them—and rightfully so. Researchers, repositories, and collection materials can reap undeniable benefits from using digital cameras. In addition, digital cameras can help librarians and archivists achieve their fundamental goals of improving conditions for their collections materials, facilitating greater research economically and efficiently, and resolving competing demands for resources and maximizing the productivity of their staff.
To synthesize a core of suggested practices for using digital cameras in reading rooms, members of the RLG Partnership Working Group on Streamlining Photography and Scanning surveyed policies, practices and experiences providing surrogates of original research materials, including the current policies of thirty-five repositories comprised of academic libraries, independent research libraries, historical societies, government archives, and public libraries. This report includes the most commonly shared elements for using digital cameras in reading rooms, arranged in categories for administration and handling of collection materials.
Report: "Capture and Release": Digital Cameras in the Reading Room
Streamlining Photography and Scanning Project