The successful transmediation of books and documents through digitization requires the synergetic partnership of many professional figures, that have what may sometimes appear as contrasting goals at heart. On one side, there are those who look after the physical objects and strive to preserve them for future generations, and on the other those involved in the digitization of the objects, the information that they contain, and the management of the digital data. These complementary activities are generally considered as separate and when the current literature addresses both fields, it does so strictly within technical reports and guidelines, concentrating on procedures and optimal workflow, standards, and technical metadata. In particular, more often than not, conservation is presented as ancillary to digitization, with the role of the conservator restricted to the preparation of items for scanning, with no input into the digital product, leading to misunderstanding and clashes of interests. Surveying a variety of projects and approaches to the challenging conservation-digitization balance and fostering a dialogue amongst practitioners, this book aims at demonstrating that a dialogue between apparently contrasting fields not only is possible, but it is in fact desirable and fruitful. Only through the synergetic collaboration of all people involved in the digitization process, conservators included, can cultural digital objects that represent more fully the original objects and their materiality be generated, encouraging and enabling new research and widening the horizons of scholarship.
Dr. Alberto Campagnolo (PhD, Ligatus, University of the Arts London 2015) is a trained book conservator and digital humanist. Formerly a CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation at The Library of Congress (Washington DC), he is now adjunct professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Udine, Italy.