Book Digitization: A Practical and Urgent Necessity for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
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More than a decade into the 21st century, life is becoming ever more digitized. A major part of this movement is the digitization of print literature. This paper examines digital libraries around the globe and discusses how current technology and methods might be applied to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), especially concerning the rare books kept at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS). This study intends to be an overview to aid in the starting of a digitization initiative at WLS. Current digital libraries are examined for reference in their various purposes, formats, and Internet presence. Commercial digitization equipment is reviewed, with a look at various methods and price ranges. The nuts and bolts of digitization are taken apart with a brief overview of file formats and metadata. Finally, the question is asked, “How might this be accomplished for WELS?” The conclusion of this research is that it is fully possible for WELS to create a digital library using limited resources. In order to best preserve the rich history of WELS and advance scholarship of theologians both at the seminary and far away, a digitization initiative should be considered an urgent necessity. This paper coincides with the building of a book scanner for the WLS library.