Digitizing Entire Collections


This document outlines the workflow and provides guidelines for Archives of American Art (AAA) staff preparing, scanning, and reviewing fully digitized collections created specifically for the Archives’ large scale digitization program. AAA’s approach to digitizing entire collections focuses on facilitating online reproduction and access, and the primary objective is to produce digital images that are reasonable reproductions, without enhancements.

These guidelines do not address all of AAA’s digitization projects and workflows. Specifically, they do not address the digitization of our audio visual materials and only provide a summary of the workflow for item-level scanning. Although all digital content is stored in the same database, the workflows, database tables, file naming, and file directories are different.

The guidelines address only archival processing-related workflows and procedures that are directly related to AAA’s large scale digitization projects. They do not cover general AAA archival processing guidelines and procedures, nor AAA’s EAD Encoding Guidelines–these activities are covered in other AAA procedural documents and manuals.

Moreover, these guidelines are not meant to be a comprehensive and technical manual for digitizing historical archival items or collections, nor are they appropriate guidelines for preservation digital reformatting. There are many technical books, guidelines, and papers that have been written on this subject.​