Digitization Guide

This Digitization Guide was created for the purposes of establishing standards at the Rockefeller Archive Center for all digitization activities undertaken by RAC staff and by external digitization vendors. The development of this Digitization Guide was prompted by the organizational decision to scan archival materials at an aggregate level, e.g., the folder level, rather than scan individual items. The intent is to leverage the RAC’s already existing archival description to serve as the necessary metadata for managing the digitized materials. As a result, the original materials need only be digitized once, and the digital surrogates can easily be made available to future requestors or presented through an online discovery and display system.

Before Scanning

In order to minimize damage and wear and tear to items and to utilize digitized materials at a later date, everything in a folder, whether textual or photographic, should be scanned.

Currently, there are three possible scanners that can be used:

  • Zeutschel Zeta for standard sized items (8x11, 11x14)
  • Zeutschel 1200 for oversized materials (can also be used for standard sized materials)
  • Epson Flatbed for photographs

A target from the Print Request option on Aeon should be created. This will be used as a citation sheet and should include Collection Name/Title, Record Group, Finding Aid number, Series, Box Number, Folder number and title, and date if available. Be sure to check that the folder number/title on the citation sheet corresponds to the folder being scanned.

For PDF or TIFF/JPEG requests, scans should be saved into a folder titled with the researcher/donor’s name and transaction number on the X drive (X:\Projects\Reference Digitization). Within this folder, three sub-folders should be created: Master, Master Edited, and Service Edited. These three folders should be created for each folder scanned:

Master: Uncompressed, high-resolution, original master files in TIFF format. Master files should not be edited or changed.

Master Edited: Uncompressed, high-resolution, edited copies of master files in which any cropping, color correction, or deskewing has been performed. This file should have the same resolution and file format as the Master file.

Service Edited: Compressed, web-accessible, service file derived from the master edited file. For textual materials, service edited files should be in PDF format and for photographic materials, these files should be in JPEG format.

The scan resolution should be set to one of the following recommendations:
Textual materials: 300-400 dpi
Photographic materials: 400-600 dpi

After Scanning

Naming Files

Begin with the folder’s ref ID as a prefix. You can find this in the ArchivesSpace application or on the Aeon request (if there is a Ref ID on Aeon be sure to double check that it is the correct Ref ID for the folder being scanned). Each object in a folder should have the Ref ID, followed by an underscore, and then an escalating three-digit number for each scan in the folder.

  • Example: d47b6d80713746a4a91a2f0afee6fdea_001, d47b6d80713746a4a91a2f0afee6fdea_002

Photographs with information on the reverse side should include reference to Verso or Recto in the filename. Recto is the front of the photograph, and verso is the back. Include “r” or “v” in the filename to designate what side we are viewing. If there is a recto, there has to be a file with a verso.

  • Example: c148d90fdb4dd3a2a3f6a891229d2720_001r c148d90fdb4dd3a2a3f6a891229d2720_001v

Master edited and access should include “_me” for Master Edited or “_se” for Service Edited at the end of the file.

Textual materials

Master: 09bd143b788b4608b7fad28ac179922e_001.tif Master Edited: 09bd143b788b4608b7fad28ac179922e_001_me.tif
Service Edited: 09bd143b788b4608b7fad28ac179922e_se.pdf

Photographic materials

Master: b13ae3ee770c983cf869d77b17120689_001r.tif
Master Edited: b13ae3ee770c983cf869d77b17120689_001r_me.tif
Service Edited: b13ae3ee770c983cf869d77b17120689_001r_se.jpg

Quality Check and Creating Derivatives

After scanning, copies of Master files should be inserted into the Master Edited folder (Master files should not be edited) and a quality check should be performed. This ensures that the digitized items accurately represent the original materials. When completing a quality check, you should make sure that:

  • Files are saved in the correct format
  • Files are saved in the correct location
  • The image count and file names are accurate
  • The images are not skewed or illegible
  • There are not any cropping issues

Adobe Photoshop can be used to create derivative (Master Edited) files. Remember that Master Edited files should end in “_me”.

Service Edited files represent the form of the digitized TIFF files that researchers and/or donors will access. PDF and JPEG access files should always be derived from the Master Edited images. Adobe Photoshop can also be used to create JPEG access files. Adobe Acrobat DC can be used to create PDF access files. Remember that Service Edited files should end in “_se”.

Saving Files

In the case of requests for researchers and donors, after the creation of the Service Edited files, a copy of the PDF or TIFF/JPEG should be saved on the W: drive. A folder labeled with the researcher’s/donor’s name and transaction number (if applicable) should be created. A sub-folder entitled by the Aeon transaction number should then be created within this folder and the requested file placed into this folder.