Digitizing Records: Requirements for Paper and Photographs

This is the seventh in a series of posts supporting the publication of 36 CFR section 1236 subpart E – Digitizing Permanent Records. All of the posts have been collected under the 36 CFR Section 1236 category.

Digital scanning operations, Preservation Labs, Archives 2. NAID: 184341173

Today, we will consider §1236.50–Requirements for digitizing permanent paper and photographic print records. Digitizing is a process of converting physical documents into digital form. When digitizing permanent paper and photographic print records, certain requirements must be followed. 

The digitization process requires appropriate equipment and imaging methods to ensure that all the information is captured. The equipment used must be appropriate for the media type, and capable of achieving documented project objectives without damaging the source records. Certain image quality parameters must be followed based on FADGI three-star aim points and tolerance ranges. 

When producing digital images of modern textual paper records, a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch must be used. Additionally, each digital image must be sized to match the dimensions of the original paper document.

For photographic prints and paper records that have fine details, a minimum of 400 ppi sized to the source document is required, but it may be necessary to apply a higher resolution than the minimum. 

For both paper records and photographic print records, agencies must digitize in an acceptable RGB color mode if records contain color or other characteristics that are necessary to interpret the information of the source record.

By following these requirements, as detailed in §1236.50, agencies can ensure that they capture all the necessary details while maintaining the integrity of the original document.