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Scanning Homepage

Page history last edited by Rose Fortier 11 years, 1 month ago

Use this page for a detailed discussion on scanning and digital file processing for digitization. These guidelines discuss the first step of the digitization process and does so at a level that assumes that preservation is one of the reasons that digitization is being considered. As a result, the standards and guidelines are at a higher level than they might otherwise be for digitization for the sole purpose of providing access.


Table of Contents

Color Space

Always scan in Color in the Adobe RGB 1998 Colorspace.


File Resolutions

Photographs, medium and large format negatives, and glass lantern slides:


Bigger than 8x10: 800 dpi

8x10 and smaller: 1000 dpi


Text based materials:


Bigger than 8x10: 600 dpi

8x10 and smaller: 800 dpi


Small format negatives and slides (ex. 35mm): 2400 dpi


File Formats

Scanned Photographs and images (text, art, pamphlets etc.): Preservation: TIFF/JPEG2000   Display: TIFF, JPEG2000, JPEG 

Audio: Preservation: WAVE, AIFF, Broadcast WAVE   Display: WAVE, AIFF, Broadcast WAVE, MP3, MP4

Video: Preservation: MPEG4    Display: MPEG4

Born Digital Text (word processing documents, spreadsheets etc.): Preservation: PDF, PDF/A, Original format (ex. Word Document)

Machine Readable Texts: Preservation: XML, DTD

Born Digital Images: Preservation: TIFF, Digital Negative, JPEG2000


File Naming Conventions

Archival Collections:

Collection number_box number_file number_item number

For example: MS1_01_01_001 (add a or b for front and back if needed)


Personal Papers:

Lastname and first initial_Journal or event_citation or date

For example:

DoeJ_ALAPoster_Midwinter 2012 


Lastname and first intitial_shortened title_date





Cataloged Items:

Use call numbers in the system.



Make items square and crop close to the edge but let the entire item be in view to show that nothing has been removed.

[show a sample for each?]


Square center image for uneven cut items and crop to outer edge of the paper still.


Crop book pages to opposite side of gutter to show the entire page.


Quality Control

Review all materials to make sure they are accurate to the original and there is not any debris on the image. Check that all standards for project are met. The importance of maintaining a clean workspace for helping to ensure quality control can not be overemphasized.



Back up all files to external hard drives or other stable storage device. Do not rely on the computer's hard drive alone.



All items should be made as accessible as possible to allow access and use of the materials to the widest audience possible. It has been argued that persons with disabilities have free access to a wide range of services, therefore there is no need to make collections accessible. However, a large number of people with mild disabilities do not qualify for the free services so the extra effort on our part will enable the widening of access to everyone.


Delivery of Files

How will the digital items be delivered? Will delivery be handled only through the handling of digital files, or will printing into a physical format also be available. Policies should be created to handle all eventualities and a fee scale should be developed. In addition to pricing, consideration should be given to time frame for filling orders, sizing, and set up fees.


Supplemental Documentation

Scanning processing guide 

  • A step by step guide that maps out the entire scanning process. 

Scanning sheet

  • Document the scanning process for technical, descriptive, and preservation metadata and future conservation of the item

Local metadata style guide

  • A local metadata style guide will help in the creation of consistent metadata. The style guide should describe fields used, why they are used, and how they should be best filled in. If there is going to be any crosswalking of metadata from one schema to another, the style guide is also a good place to map fields out. See the section on Metadata for more information.

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