If that digital image of a newspaper or record is difficult to read, how possible is it that another image exists somewhere else? That image may be better than the one you first locate.
There are several reasons for varying image quality, but it depends on how the digital image was made in the first place. Let’s say in the 1940s, newspaper A is microfilmed. The original copy of newspaper A either deteriorates or is intentionally destroyed. There are several rolls of microfilm made. We will focus on copy 1 and copy 2. Copy 1 of that roll of microfilm gets fairly heavy use and there’s some wear on it. Constantly rolling it through the machine does that. In the early 2010s, copy 1 is digitized in order to allow greater public access and prevent any more wear and tear on the microfilm.
Copy 2 of the microfilm has sat in the library of a liberal arts college in northern Missouri. It was used by a professor for a sociological study in the early 1980s and has sat preserved in the box ever since. It has only been put on a microfilm reader once and that was it.
Any thoughts on which film copy is more legible?
This is why it matters where that digital image you got came from and how the host of the image came to obtain it. Reasons like this are why that providence and citation matter.