The digitisation process is long and expensive, especially for precious delicate photography. Here is a video of the digitisation process of the Costica Axinte archive of wet plate prints. Cleaning, polishing, scanning, adding meta data, uploading, backing up… It takes a long time. But many of the prints are disintegrating and require so much care to preserve them: but with thanks to the digitisation, these images are being viewed over 4000 for each on Flickr, which means that there is more of an interest in this photography and in turn there is a value to this archive: a value to preserve it longer. If the public didn’t know about it, then there won’t be an interest in it, so in turn there wouldn’t be a further interest to preserve it.
Curator at Getty Images, Sarah McDonald, suggests that if digitisation was done on mass and only cost $1 per print, it would still mount to thousands and thousands: but I ask, is it worth it? If people can see these images, we associate more value to it.