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What Is a Digital Catalog?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A digital catalog is a computer file or website used to provide examples of a person’s work or products offered by a business in a digital format. These are often provided through a combination of graphical images, such as pictures of a product, along with text that offers descriptions and additional information. Such catalogs can be used by online retailers, allowing customers to view products online and then order those products either directly or through a sales associate. A digital catalog can also be used to provide a body of information in a digital format, such as examples of an artist’s work or shared resources within an organization.

The software used to create a digital catalog can vary quite a bit, depending on the preferences of the catalog designer. Different programs can be used to make catalogs that are more or less interactive, though the overall design of any catalog is typically aimed at making information easily accessible. Software can be used to create a digital catalog through a slideshow or as a series of virtual pages that can be “flipped” through in a manner similar to a physical catalog. Other formats can be more straightforward and present the catalog as a series of webpages that can be easily navigated.

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A digital catalog is typically used by a manufacturer or retail business to provide information about available products or services to customers. Manufacturers often use this type of catalog to allow other businesses, private individuals, and retailers to peruse their offered products without the need of a paid sales associate. Retail companies also use these catalogs for similar purposes, though the information provided with such catalogs can be presented more like an advertisement. A digital catalog for these types of businesses is often part of a website that can then be used to either directly order the products shown or to contact a sales association for further information and assistance with ordering.

There are other ways in which a digital catalog can be used for less commercial purposes. Since the intention of a catalog is typically to present information in an easily navigated manner, these catalogs can be used to demonstrate the work of an artist or other individual. While artists often use portfolios to demonstrate their work, a catalog can be used to not only show off work but also potentially sell products. Organizations and businesses can also create a digital catalog for internal use, allowing shared resources within the company to be more easily accessed and referenced.

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