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Creating a Digital Smithsonian

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Citation Edit

Smithsonian Institution, Creating a Digital Smithsonian: Digitization Strategic Plan (2010) (full-text).

Overview Edit

"Creating a Digital Smithsonian" is a five-year plan to develop and implement a pan-Institutional approach to digitization of the Smithsonian Institute's collections and research holdings along with the descriptive, interpretative information that accompanies them. The plan involves three main steps:

  • Create, manage, and promote the digitized assets themselves.
  • Shape a formal, ongoing digitization program.
  • Secure resources to provide adequate funding over time and build staff capacity.

The plan is designed to enable cohesive and unified virtual access to the Institution’s collections, research, educational materials, and exhibitions through digitization. The plan does not assume everything must be digitized. Rather, it outlines strategies for digitizing those resources essential to realizing the Institution’s priorities.

Digitization is:

Integral. The Institution’s recently released strategic plan, "Inspiring Generations Through Knowledge and Discovery," cites broadening access, revitalizing education, and strengthening collections among its top priorities. Digitization is one of the single best ways to achieve these goals.
Interactive. By digitizing assets, the Institution can meet the growing demand to interact and engage as well as share and inform. Social media are changing the shape of society's largest institutions, and participatory is the new by-word for communications.
Integrative. A systematic, comprehensive plan to digitize resources and provide unified access to them greatly bolsters the efforts to become “One Smithsonian,” a view that more closely aligns with the public perception.
and finally, Imperative. With the second generation of digital natives coming to the fore, the world has moved irrevocably into the Digital Age, and the organization must move with it. It cannot fail to act promptly or give this responsibility any less than its full measure of attention. By capitalizing on the opportunities of digitization and thoughtfully addressing its challenges, the Institution can ensure Americans unfettered access to their cultural, social, and scientific heritage for generations to come.

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