Digital Reformatting

Digital Imaging

Digitizing paper may be an effective strategy for saving space, increasing access, reducing retrieval time, or creating back-ups; Digital imaging can dramatically improve retrieval efficiency by enabling searching capabilities that are not possible in a paper environment;It is also ideal for records that would take up an extensive amount of space in paper form and require regular and rapid retrieval.

If you, your office, or department is considering digitizing records or other material, please contact Jessika Drmacich, Records Manager and Digital Resources Archivist.

Reformatting Basics for Departments and Offices


  • Enlargement – commonly printers perform best with input files of between 240 and 360 ppi. Using 300 ppi as a starting point: For a 5" x 7" print we would like approximately 5 x 300 = 1500 pixels on the 5" side.
  • scanning a 3 ½" x 5" print would require resolution of about 1500/3.5 = 428 ppi.
  • For an 8" x 10" print we would like approximately 2400 pixels on the 8" side=approximately 300 ppi.

  • 800 ppi for some negatives taken prior to 1940.
  • 2800 ppi or more for more recent negatives.

    Suggested Scanning Guidelines
  • Before you begin ensure that your hands are washed and dry, and that both the scanner and computer are turned on.

    Open Photoshop or Epson scanning software

  • For Photoshop go to File → Import → (pick scanning software of choice)
  • For Epson scanning software, click on Epson scanner icon
  • Make certain document type is set to "reflective" for photo or document for text.
  • Select correct resolution: For black and white 8 bit grayscale, for color 24 bit: 400 ppi
  • Press preview
  • Crop to the page/document
  • Press scan
  • Exit scanning software

  • Review file in Photoshop for quality
  • Save as a TIFF in designated TIFF project folder on the external hard drive using the file naming scheme set up for the project
  • Go to File → File Info
  • Add description (under description tab):
  • Type in a title and basic keywords taken from the digital object (Keywords or Subject are basic "tags" describing the object) Also, change copyright status to "copyrighted" and add copyright information: "contact Williams College Archives and Special Collections at" Or add copyright information, if known.
  • Save TIFF to retain changes.
  • In an Excel document add appropriate metadata for each scanned object.