• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.



Page history last edited by epfotenhauer@wils.wisc.edu 11 years, 1 month ago

Careful advance planning will help your digital project move ahead smoothly. See the WHO Overview for a summary of the steps involved in becoming a Wisconsin Heritage Online Content Provider. For good general overviews of the digitization process, see Moving Theory into Practice, a digital imaging tutorial from Cornell University and Digitization Activities: Project Planning and Management Outline from the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative.


Selecting Materials

Collections uploaded to WHO must adhere to Wisconsin Heritage Online's Selection Criteria and Collection Development Policy. Decisions about what materials to digitize should be made after careful and realistic consideration of questions such as: Is there actually demand for these materials? Will digitization eliminate wear and tear on fragile originals? How does digitizing this content serve our organization's mission?  


Read More About Selecting Materials for Digitization . . . 


Selecting Equipment

If you need to buy a new scanner, computer, or other hardware, as a general rule of thumb, purchase the best equipment that is reasonable within the confines of your budget. Older, slower, or less equipped computers can add a lot of time (and frustration!) to digitization projects. Browse online to find consumer reviews of hardware you may be considering for purchase. Sites like NewEgg.com provide good feedback on products from a "techie" perspective, while general sites such as Amazon.com offer reviews targeted at a non-specialist audience.


The following guidelines are general recommendations, not endorsements of particular items. Because technology changes quickly and every organization's needs and budget are different, WHO cannot offer recommendations for specific brands or products. 



  • Wayne Fulton, "Scanner Features and Specifications" 
    • A simple guide to features to look for when choosing a scanner for a digitization project.
  • Don Williams, "Selecting a Scanner," from Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging (Council on Library and Information Resources).


Digital Cameras



  • Purchase a computer dedicated solely to digitization initiatives.
  • Purchase as much Random Access Memory (RAM) as your budget allows. More memory allows the computer to more quickly process large amounts of image data.
  • Purchase computers with processors optimized for image manipulation.
  • Purchase computers that support high-speed data input through serial connections: USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 “Firewire” (see Wayne Fulton, "Evaluating Scanner Features and Specifications").  



When you don't have staff, space or equipment to scan your materials, you might want to consider outsourcing this aspect of your project. THe Northeast Document Conservation Center's leaflet "Outsourcing and Vendor Relations" provides an excellent overview of the pros and cons of outsourced vs. in-house digitization projects. See our list of suggested Reformatting Vendors for more information. 



Although much of WHO's services are provided at no cost, there will be other expenses involved in your digitization project, including the cost of equipment and the time spent by staff. 



  • The Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, provides funding for public libraries in Wisconsin to digitize local history resources. LSTA grant recipients work with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center, which reformats materials and hosts the projects through the State of Wisconsin Collection. Local historical societies and museums can participate in collaboration with their local public library.
  • The Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Council for Local History offer mini-grants of up to $700 for local historical societies. These grants are often used to purchase computers or other equipment, archival materials, or software. The application process takes place every spring.
  • The Wisconsin Humanities Council awards mini-grants of up to $2,000 for projects that "bring together community members and humanities experts in ways that use the knowledge and methods of the humanities to enrich individuals' lives and the civic life of communities."  


Planning Checklists

These checklists provide detailed lists of potential steps in a typical digital project.

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