Connecticut State Library with state seal

Preservation Office

Preservation Advice for Libraries, Historical Societies and Home Collections:
Digital Projects


Libraries, historical societies and other institutions considering a scanning project have many things to think about. It may be appropriate to designate a range of treatments for different kinds of materials. Sometimes, the original document requires conservation treatment before scanning and new enclosures for proper storage. Newspapers might be digitized and then, from the scans, made into microfilm. If something happens to the digital images, and the newspapers have deteriorated, you have the information preserved on microfilm.

The Library of Congress offers brief tips for managing your digital materials including organizing and saving email and computer files, including photographs, and making back up copies at Preserving Your Digital Memories

Many of these sites come from the perspective of what libraries need to get the most life out of expensive digital objects. This is complex and difficult material. Think carefully about your short and long-term goals for the digital objects before starting.

More information:

Best Practices and Publications from LYRASIS, including:

BCR's CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices, Version 2.0, from BCR, the Bibliographical Center for Research’s CDP, Collaborative Digitization Program, June 2008.

Dublin Core Metadata Best Practices, Version 2.1.1, from CDP Metadata Working Group, Sept. 2006.

Digital audio best practices, Version 2.1, from CDP Digital Audio Working Group, Oct. 2006.

Digitization guidelines is an effort to define "guidelines, methods and practices for digitizing historical content" It includes links to the work done by the Still Image and Audio-Visual working groups, from the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative.

Handbook for Digital Projects : a Management Tool for Preservation and Access Maxine Sitts, ed., 1st ed., from NEDCC, 2000.

Moving Theory into Practice : Digital Imaging Tutorial from Cornell Univ. Library, Research Dept. C2000-2003.

NARA Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access Stephen Puglia and Barry Roginski, from National Archives and Records Administration, June 2004.

NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow, and the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage, Version 1.0, c2002.

Standards for the Use of Imaging Technology for Storage, Retrieval and Disposition of Public Records from Connecticut State Public Records Administrator, Feb. 2001.

For information see:

PADI, Preserving Access to Digital Information. Standards from National Library of Australia.

Personal Archiving : How to preserve your own digital materials from the Library of Congress with tips for individuals to manage their own digital photographs, audio, video, email, records and websites.

Sustainability of digital formats, planning for Library of Congress collections links to information on whether to choose TIFF files, of PDF or a number of other file formats for the long term preservation of the digital content.

Taking Care of Optical Discs

Prepared by Connecticut State Library Preservation Office staff; last updated Nov. 2011.