of material is normally for one of two purposes.
Either it is carried out as a means of Document
Management, in that it allows multiple users
to look at the same document at the same
time while removing the necessity of holding
the original on-site, or it is used as a
means of preserving documents by making
them available to researchers without exposing
the originals to wear-and-tear. Scanning/Digitising
also allows remote access to documents through
the internet or by publishing on CDROM.
Scanning/Digitisation also, like microfilm,
allows for great savings in space, and through
proper use of metadata tags, allows for
accurate searching of large quantities of
A useful acronym when
approaching a Scanning/Digitisation project
is SOAP; Scan Once for All Purposes. Scanning
is a labour intensive purpose, and can be
costly, so make sure each image produced
is of high quality, then worry about producing
different versions (e.g. compressed for
website use) later. The 'master' copy of
each file should be treated as an archival
document and kept as true to the original
as possible. Multiple copies of this file
should be kept in a number of locations,
preferably off-site, as this offers some
protection against possible data corruption/damage.
Versions of the master file for use, in
publications, websites or intranets, should
be created from the master file using Paintshop
Pro, Adobe Photoshop or similar graphics
manipulation software, and stored as entirely
seperate files from the master.
Resolution of a Scanned/Digitised document
is expressed in DPI, or dots-per-inch.
The higher the DPI, the more accurate the
image, but the greater the size of the file
being created. Basic considerations for
choosing DPI are the size of the original
and the amount of fine detail on the original.
For a useful chart to help choosing DPI
for different document types see the Library of Congress standards. Bit Depth refers to the amount of
colour captured in the image. In general
terms a 1-bit image will be black and white,
an 8-bit image will have 256 shades of grey
or colour, and a 24-bit image has many millions
of shades of colour.
Martin Bradley has wide-ranging experience of scoping, staffing and delivering digitisation projects from small, bespoke collections of a few hundred images to wide ranging capture of millions of individual items including audio, video, documents of all shapes and sizes, maps, plans, photographs, negatives, microfilm, and microfiche. Contact him below to get your project started.
Records Management Consultants Archives Management Scanning FOI E-Records