The mission of Stanford University Libraries' digitization services is to further teaching, learning, and research at Stanford by using digitization to support the following library functions:

  • Collection development (through digital acquisition, digitization as a condition for donation)
  • Public services (patron requests, exhibits, items for class use)
  • Technical services (preservation, digital surrogates for high use or fragile items)
  • Research support (digitization in support of text mining)

Digitization is provided through four broad service areas:

  • Project-based digitization - digitization of a library collection and large enough to require a project manager and significant coordination (Reid Dennis Collection of California lithographs)
  • Patron and one-off internal requests - a single image or small set of items requested by SUL staff on behalf of a patron 
  • Systematic digitization - materials digitized en masse, typically for logistical or programmatic reasons (Glen McLaughlin Maps Collection -- Maps of Malta.)
  • Consulting and outsourcing management - expert advice to other campus groups or in support of digitization work performed by vendors in support of Stanford projects (Bassi-Veratti Collection)

In addition to generating high quality digital surrogates of the original item, digitized items are typically accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), making them discoverable (findable) in SearchWorks (Stanford's University Libraries' online catalog). Inclusion in the SDR ensures that these materials are available to researchers and scholars (while upholding appropriate access restrictions), now and in the future through a secure, sustainable stewardship environment. Digitized items receive a PURL (a persistent URL), which ensures that these materials are available from a single URL over the long-term, regardless of changes in file location or application technology.