Digitisation or Digitalisation?

Recently, I came across some social media posts and articles that mentioned “digitisation”. I’m particularly used to saying/reading “digitalisation” (or autocorrecting digitalization). I’ve read a post on Linkedin where the author used “digitisation” and it didn’t appear to fit the context of the remainder of the post. 

This got me thinking — Was it a typo? Were the terms the same? Which one should be used? Have I been using “digitalisation” incorrectly?


After some quick Googling, I found the following definitions to reassure myself:


“The conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer.” (Source: Oxford Dictionaries)


“The use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” (Source: Gartner)


Upon inspection, there is a clear and important difference between the two terms. The first, “digitisation”, is a process where a physical book is converted into an electronic format. Think of your favourite book that is accessible on a Kindle or Google Books.

The second, “digitalisation”, is the adoption of digital technologies (cloud computing, internet of things, web applications etc.) to deliver a new or improved service/practice that benefits an end user.

Digitis(z)ation or Digitalis(z)ation are related to each other, in many cases but clearly have different meanings upon investigation.

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