The History of Digitization
The History of Digitization
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The History of Digitization

By Elaine Elliott

In the digital world we deal with computerized data everyday. From apps to hard drives, our lives are easier to manage thanks to the convenience of storing digital files and records.


Remember the days when filming, writing, and photographing all had to be done with mechanical devices? Fortunately such tasks have been streamlined with digitization. But when and where did digitization start exactly?


We’ve compiled a brief history of digitization to break down the chronology of our computerized world. 


Slowly Simplifying Information


Starting as early as the 1670s, there were pioneers storing information in binary systems. For the next 250 years, such concepts were crucial to our technological advancements, but not necessarily life-changing for the average citizen.


The Introduction to the Computer


The first computer was built in 1937. Following this electronic device, many more variations of the computer were made in the next decade mostly due to military incentives. These original devices were used for processing and had no operating system.


In the 1950s, computers started to quickly advance. They included numerous program languages, memory and operating systems, printers, and media storage in tapes and disks. By 1962, the term ‘database’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a description for storing media.


Digital Imaging Comes to Life


In 1969, the charge-coupled device (CCD) was the first piece of technology to convert light into digital signals. This influenced the emergence of digital cameras and imaging, especially for the medical industry. Six years later Steven Sasson made the first digital camera. Now a photo could be stored through computer memory without using film.


Bringing Digitization Into the Home


In 1975, the first personal computers started getting introduced to the market, making digital storage more accessible to everyone. By 1982, compact discs (CDs) were produced and surpassed the sale of vinyl records by 1988. In 1986, the JPEG format was brought to light as a way to downsize image files to more accessible and transferable bytes. Compressing data and media into digital formats started becoming a norm to the common consumer.  


Welcome to the World Wide Web


Versions of the Internet started as early as the 1960s when the military and different organizations developed internetworking. Now the advancements of digitization started to rise exponentially as people enjoyed emailing, instant messaging, blogs, websites, and forums.


In the 1980s the World Wide Web was introduced to the public. One of the first transactions was a Pizza Hut pizza in 1994. That same year banner ads started to emerge as a new form of advertising. Such milestones would completely alter modern society!


Digitization Overcomes Tangible Storage


By 2002, digital information exceeds non-digital forms. The following year more digital cameras are sold than film cameras. This quick change due to the Internet’s communication and ability to share data meant film quickly started to become less significant to the common household.


Such drastic shifts in photograph and film storage meant old prints and negatives started to collect dust on bookshelves. Storing away photos and film can be a risky business when mold, deterioration, or the risk of natural disaster can come into play.


At Legacybox, you can easily access these old forms of print and film by digitizing them with our professional services. Take advantage of social media and email by sharing your old memories with loved ones and friends! Now more than ever, it’s important to archive these keepsakes by storing them on safer and more accessible digital platforms.

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