I recently read an article entitled "Digitizing Art Collections" in PENTA DAILY. It seemed like a thinly disguised ad for the service providers mentioned. Its conclusion, though, is correct. Digitization does raise the value of a collection. The trouble is that private parties with "only" $5 million in net worth don't feel wealthy enough to fund digitization projects. Millionaires compare themselves to billionaires and, hence, feel poor! The more likely scenario, then, is that they would donate the collection at some point to a cultural heritage institution and leave it to the institution to provide archival processing and digitization. Institutions, though, have limited resources, so if collections come to them already processed, or alternatively, accompanied with funds to carry out the processing, then the collection is hugely more valuable. But that's a rare circumstance!
I have to take issue with the article's assertion that digitization from a decade ago was inferior "mostly because industry standards hadn’t yet been developed." The "NARA Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access" from 1998 were in wide use in 2004, and were the predecessors of the current FADGI guidelines. The "California Digital Library Digital Image Format Standards" were published in 2001, and the "Western States Digital Imaging Best Practices" document was published in 2003. And, let's not forget "The NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials" from 2002. (NINCH is not a Theodor Geisel invention. It stands for National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage.)
At Luna, we feel that digital image quality produced ten years ago was excellent, but a lot has changed since then. We are now in the age of "More Product, Less Process" (Greene and Meissner, 2005). Our strategy is to maintain that image quality, while improving production techniques and processes to increase efficiency. So it's "Quality Without Compromise," as they say at See's Candy, but our clients benefit in terms of lower costs, also just like See's customers. In fact, our prices are typically much lower than those mentioned in the PENTA DAILY article. Happy Valentine's Day!
Reference: Greene, Mark A.; Dennis Meissner (2005). "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Archival Processing". American Archivist 68: 208–263.