'Imaging' or 'digitization' are terms which refer to the process of creating digital images of items such as paper records or photographs, and storing them on electronic media such as optical disk. Imaging systems can consist of components such as:

  • Equipment for scanning items (flatbed scanners are an example of these) or photographing them (such as digital cameras)
  • Software for scanning items, defining aspects like resolution, enhancement, file format and compression algorithms
  • Storage media, such as magnetic or optical disks
  • Programmes which convert images into text-searchable files such as optical character recognition (OCR) programs
  • Indexing software, for making images more accessible, and
  • Storage devices, such as CD jukeboxes or hierarchical storage management (HSM) systems.

The use of imaging technologies has grown rapidly in recent years as organizations take advantage of emerging technologies and aim to improve efficiencies in the processing of routine tasks. At the same time, scanning and digitization present some challenges that need to be considered in planning a scanning or digitization project.
The conversion of analog material into a digital format through digital photography or scanning. For example scanning a paper document to create a digital copy.