APPO Resource Pack

This resource was originally created as a no-charge information pack to all members of APPO. For more information about APPO membership, visit


Table of Contents

Section 1 – The Challenge

Clients have an ever increasing number of heritage items that help to tell the stories of their past. These include a variety of item types, including photographs.

Recently, introduced the ability to upload, tag, and link their ancestors’ pictures to their Family Tree, along with their genealogies and stories beginning April 2013. In just 6 short months, thousands of users have already uploaded over 1 million photos. Ephraim Mecham was the one-millionth! Read more...

The United States National Archives and Records Administration has classified the types of heritage materials a client is most likely to have into 6 basic categories. These include;

  • Photographic materials: Photographs – slides – negatives – microfilm – microfiche
  • Paper & Parchment: Family papers
  • Books & Scrapbooks: Albums – Scrapbooks – Bound volumes
  • Digital & Electronic Media: photo – audio – video – textual – social media - data
  • Audio, Video & Motion Pictures: home movies
  • Artifacts

Learn more about the National Archives classification of archival formats.

Section 2 – What Scanning/Digitization Is / Isn't

Scanning/Digitization is the process of copying an analog (physical) item that results in the creation of a new digital entity. This process alone is not preservation.

To consider scanning/digitization as a preservation process it must meet the basic criteria establish by the United States Library of Congress and include consideration of;

  • identification
  • general care
  • proper storage
  • proper conditions of use going forward

Read more about these considerations.

In order to avoid the O.S.-O.M. Effect (pronounced 'awesome'), consider a photo organizing tool. These tools can range from a cost of free, on up to hundreds of dollars. Be sure when considering a tool for your practice it offers at least the following;

  • ease of import & export
  • provides at least basic photo-editing features
  • will always maintain the original versions when making changes to the image
  • allows for tagging, keywording & embedded metadata of items – that remains with the data object

Section 3 – Determining a Client’s Scanning Needs

Be able to offer scanning/digitization to a client means having a clear, intentional methodology to accommodating the creation of digital assets out of a project and a plan for its preservation. This role is not just you as the technician and the mechanics of scanning, but rather it you as the manager coming alongside the client to help them with not only helping them to care their digital assets.

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, overseen by the United States Library of Congress has created entitled; Why Digital Preservation is Important for You.

In this presentation, it offers you a 5-step guide to how to preserve digital possessions and keep them accessible for generations to come. No matter what type of file you want to save – audio, video, text and so on – they all require the same essential preservation strategy:

  • Identify what you have
  • Decide what is most important to you and what you want to save
  • If analog convert, If digital organize
  • Save copies in different places
  • Actively manage the collection

Guidelines & Best Practices Documents

Perspectives on Personal Archiving - National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, United States Library of  Congress, 2013

Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Preservation - UNESCO - National Library of Australia, Information Society Division United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2003

Library and Archives Canada Digital Heritage Formats - Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials: Creation of Raster Image Master Files - Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative Still Image Working Group (FADGI), 2010

When you've seen one, you've seen one!

When considering any project, it is important to remember because each client is very likely to have different philosophies and attitudes towards how they approach the scanning/digitization and preservation of their heritage materials. There are those with tendencies we have come to describe as;

  • Minimalistic
  • Selective
  • Moderates
  • Inclusive
  • All inclusive

Meanwhile, helping a client manage their digital assets may require a number of options to scan or digitize materials. These might include;

  • Working with a national scanning bureau
  • Working with a local scanning bureau
  • Working with a Personal Photo Organizer
  • Providing services to your client directly
  • Working with the client for them to do-it-themselves
  • Using professional photo scanning equipment purchased, rented, or lease

Section 4 - Metadata

Metadata a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In other words…Metadata is literally, data about data.

The 12 Metadata Myths, read about them here.

One of the very best tools for an 'Intentional Digital Steward' to learn about Metadata is Here you can find Step-by-step instructions and screencast tutorials about how to make it easy to embed and read essential metadata in your photos. This site also offers a Links & Resources Guide where you can immerse yourself in recommended readings, introductory basics, utilities, standards-specifications-schemas, guidelines forums, articles, blogs, and tools.

Learn about how Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog (CVKC) ensures consistency in the selection and spelling of specific keyword terms and helps guide the keyword to appropriate synonyms at

 Section 5 – Digital Asset Management & Risks

The best way to minimize risk is to;

  • Plan ahead, then work your plan.
  • Be sure to Know ‘Best Practices’, know why they are best and then stick to them! 
  • Use the guidelines provided in this presentation as support for best practices, whenever possible.
  • Be ready to change
  • Keep on top of copyright issues

PMA the Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations offers a brochure to give to clients who have questions about copyrights. This document also has a Declaration that an individual can attest to, which helps to legitimize the process should a question ever come up. 

Section 6 – Tools of the Trade

In this last section, we have provided you an instrument to put in your toolbox that can help examine more closely the tools of the trade. By using the Intentional Digital Steward's Checklist, you should be able to determine what client’s materials are going to to be scanned/digitized, then have a basis upon which to form a solid plan for doing so, using the most appropriate type of service and equipment that meet guidelines/best practices.

Section 7 - Photo Scanning Help Guides (Made available courtesy APPO Business Affiliate FotoBridge)

The Ultimate Guide to Slide, Negative, Film & Video Formats

Memories can be displayed in many different forms. These include slides, negatives, film, and video. This guide will help you through the initial process of identifying the kind of analog formats a client may have in their collections.There are also plenty of tips for converting slides & negatives, movie film, and  video. Download this guide...

How to Select a Photo Scanning Service

in recent years, many photo scanning services have emerged offering a variety of services, options, and pricing methods designed to meet the preservation needs of consumers and professionals alike. Today, we believe the photo scanning companies you are most likely to find online are probably among a group of established, professional services using dedicated professionals and top notch equipment. Several have established reputations for safe, high-quality service that deliver consistent value to the marketplace. This guide provides a brief, and hopefully useful, set of insights and criteria aimed at helping you select the photo scanning service provider that’s best for you. Download this guide...

How to Choose the Right Slide or Negative Scanning Package

Scanning photos is one thing, while digitizing slides or negatives a completely other challenge. Understanding and planning for the maximum potential print size a client may wish to create using a slide or negative will help you choose which scan resolution is right for you. Typically, slides and negatives are scanned at 3000 dpi, or higher to assure proper quality, as opposed to the 300-600 dpi used in photo scanning. Download this guide...

25 Ways to Share Your Digital Photos

People are sharing digital photos with friends and family in hundreds of different ways online - sometimes with just a single click. 1 billion people are using Facebook, 100 million are using Instagram and there are countless websites that host photos and allow you to paste your face on almost anything. It’s no wonder then that the photo albums in your attic have become true visions of past tradition. This guide shares 25 favorite ways to share digital photos and offers ideas to your clients might enjoy. A great conversation resource as you work together with clients in organizing their photos! Download this guide...

Additional Resources

3-2-1 Rule Explained - The  American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) using its 3-2-1 program (a primary and two backups).

Basic Care and Preservation of Photographs, Artifacts, and Documents (Appendix B) - Tips offered on

CMOS vs. CCD - While there a lot of very important features that come together to make a good device, at the heart of everyone is the imaging sensor. There are 2 kinds. They are CMOS and CCD. This link helps to explain the difference.

DPI vs. PPI - Explanation of dot per inch vs. pixels per inch.

DPI/PPI (How Much is Too Much) - Link to a post by Mike Ashenfelder on the Library of Congress' The Signal  - Digital Preservation Blog discussing the technical realities of how much dpi/ppi is required in this new digital age.

Handling Photographs w/Gloves - Most damage (especially to more fragile supports such as glass and paper) has occurred through human negligence or ignorance. Here is information about the differences of handling paper vs. photographs.

Jeffery's Exif Viewer - Jeffery Friedl has developed a web-based utility for reading Exif, XMP, IPTC, ICC, etc., data in most file types (including JPEG, TIFF, PSD, RAW, NEF, CR2, MP3, WMV, etc.) whether remote or local.  Includes a button that can be dragged and dropped into one's local browser button bar (Compatible with recent versions of the Firefox and Safari browsers).  The most flexible image metadata web-based viewer now available.

Paper A Size Converter - This converter provides the dimensions of the A series paper sizes, as defined by ISO 216, are given in the table below in both millimeters and inches (cm measurements can be obtained by dividing mm value by 10).

Paper Weights Explained - From the lightest to heaviest, this paper weights/thickness chart demystifies the topic.

Photo Restoration KwikGuide - brings you a step-by-step guide for restoring photographs – old or new. Designed for anyone that wants to repair damage to treasured images.

Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories Course - This is a free, online course available from the U.S. Library of Congress explaining some simple, practical tips and tools to help you keep your digital memories safe.

Social Media Networks Stripping Data from Your Digital Photos -  Link to a post by David Riecks, leader of the Photo Metadata Project, on the Library of Congress' The Signal  - Digital Preservation Blog discussing the realities of how metadata is being handled by cloud storage systems.

Additional Reading

Basic scanning guide: for photographers and other creative types
Rob Sheppard - Amherst Media - 2001

Digital imaging essentials: techniques and tips for genealogists and family historians
Geoffrey D.Rasmussen - Geoff Rasmussen - 2013

How to do everything with your scanner
David Huss - Jill Gilbert.Welytok - McGraw-Hill/Osborne - 2003

Mastering digital scanning: with slides, film, and transparencies, the photographer's and artist's guide to high-quality digital scanning
David D.Busch - Muska & Lipman Press - 2004

On photography
Susan Sontag - Farrar, Straus and Giroux - 1977

Organize your digital life: how to store your photographs, music, videos, & personal documents in a digital world
Aimee Baldridge - National Geographic - 2009

Preserving your family photographs: how to care for your family photographs - from daguerreotypes to digital imaging
Maureen Alice.Taylor - Picture Perfect Press - 2010

Scanners for dummies
Mark L.Chambers - Wiley - 2004

Scanning and editing your old photos
Heather Morris - Pearson Education - 2012

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers
Peter Krogh - O'Reilly Media, Incorporated - 2009

The digital shoebox: how to organize, find, and share your photos
Sarah Bay.Williams - Peachpit Press - 2010

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful


Powered by Zendesk