U4.4 Points to bear in mind

When you undertake an OFC project you may find it useful to keep the following points in mind:

Break big pieces of work into small steps: Having to deal with large numbers of items (like a lifetime’s collection of photos, for example), or some other large scale task, can seem like an insurmountable mountain to climb. To overcome that feeling, decide how much you can easily do in a day or a week, and then just make sure you do that amount regularly as a minimum. It may take a long time to complete, but at least you can be confident that the work is doable and will get done.

Be prepared to refine as you go:  Having some sort of plan before you start is important; but it’s unlikely to cover all eventualities and opportunities that you might encounter on the way. So, use the plan as a way of getting started, and have no qualms about adjusting it during the journey.

Consider Exploiting as you Digitise: If you have plans to exploit a collection, it can be worth doing so while you are dealing with the files while performing digitisation or storage activities. Sometimes it will be too much of a distraction, but it’s worth considering.

Optimise the hybrid: The challenge in optimising the hybrid is a matter of deciding which of the physical items to retain after digitisation. Once thrown away, the unique properties of the physical will be lost, so some thought should be given as to what unique qualities (if any) are particularly important or interesting for the particular items you are dealing with. There may be none, of course, in which case none of the physical items need to be retained; but, if there are any, then you will be better able to select a representative sample to retain, in order to enable users of the collection to get a sense of their physical qualities.

Lean more towards completion than perfection: Spending time achieving perfection inevitably limits how much you can get done; and often the perfection being striven for is just not needed. Perfection is required in tasks like restoring paintings; but OFC projects are rather looser and more discretionary than that. Of course, only the individual starting an OFC project can make the judgement as to what quality of work is required; however, in my experience of such projects, greater satisfaction is experienced, and more results are achieved, by placing more emphasis on completing the work than on achieving perfect results.

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