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To digitize is to convert the representation of an object in an analog signal into a series of discrete points or samples. This involves converting existing non-digital information or data into a digital form with the intention of storing, altering or sharing this data with electronic devices. A good example of this is scanning physical photographs to convert them into digital images that can easily be manipulated. The act of recording the music of artists and bands inside a studio into a raw digital form, again for easy manipulation and altering, is another very good example of digitization.
The information we can digitize comes in every form, from text, sounds, images and even physical phenomena like heat and pressure. Depending on the signal being digitized, a different process of digitization will be employed, but all of them are converted into binary code. For example, text and images can easily be digitized using a scanner or even a digital camera.
Because some analog signals are constantly varying, digitization in most cases is just an approximation of the true analog signal.
Digitization has two parts:
These concepts may occur simultaneously, yet remain as distinct processes. In essence, digitization is the conversion of analog signals to digital signals, a term properly known as analog-to-digital conversion, while the opposite of this is digital-to-analog conversion.