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COVID-19: Virtual ScanDay

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Virtual ScanDay

Have you ever wanted to digitize your family collections but never really had the time? Now is your chance to make that idea a reality!

Take advantage of the extra time you may have at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic to work on your personal archive. While you’re at it, consider helping to build, share, and preserve state history by donating some of your digital items to the ND State Library for inclusion in its North Dakota Memories collection.

The North Dakota Memories collection consists of images, documents, and objects that have been digitized from the collections of institutions and private citizens throughout the state. The items in the collection are freely accessible to all researchers online via Digital Horizons and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Typically, items are contributed to the North Dakota Memories collection through ScanDay, which is an event hosted in libraries across the state where the ND State Library’s Digital Initiatives team brings scanning and photography equipment to a community to digitize photographs, documents, objects, etc.

But now, the ND State Library has started a new new “Virtual ScanDay." Through this program, items can be submitted to the ND State Library from anywhere by anyone (even if you do not live in the state anymore). Just make sure the items you submit have some sort of North Dakota connection.

What to Submit?

The ND State Library encourages submissions of photographs, documents, objects, oral histories, videos, etc.

  • As per the usual ScanDay guidelines, each participant should limit their number of submissions to 10-20.
  • It is highly recommended that these items be identifiable (meaning things like the people, location, and approximate time period are able to be determined).
  • It is preferred that items have some sort of a North Dakota connection.

Review the tabs in this section to learn more about the criteria for photographs (and other images), documents, objects, oral histories, and videos.

Still not sure what to submit? Here are a few suggestions and tips to give you some ideas.

  • Items can be from any time period, but more recent items (like photographs) should have been taken by participants so there are not any copyrights issues.
  • Family photographs are probably the most commonly submitted items. When it comes to family photographs, the older they are, the better.
  • If possible, submit a digital version of the original item (like photographs or documents) instead of a digital version of a copy.
  • As a general rule, do not submit anything that you would not be comfortable having displayed online.

To give you even more ideas of what to submit, you can also browse the entire North Dakota Memories collection to see what others have contributed.

Consult this handout for additional information on what should or should not be submitted:


It is preferred that photographs:

  • Be submitted as JPEGs or TIFFs
  • Have a minimum resolution (DPI/ PPI) of 600
  • Have a minimum bit depth of 24-bits for color images and 8-bits for black & white images

*Negatives and slides will likely require high resolutions. Consult the ND State Library's Digitization Standards for more information or contact Trevor in the Digital Initiatives department.


Documents can include letters, diaries, booklets or pamphlets, certificates, histories, programs, etc.

It is preferred that documents:

  • Be submitted as PDFs, TIFFs, or JPEGs
  • Have a minimum resolution (DPI/ PPI) of 300


Objects can also be submitted (paintings, badges, medals, mugs, artworks, commemorative plates, awards/ plaques, etc.). These oversized items will likely not fit on a scanner, so they will have to be photographed.

Because objects will likely be photographed, it is preferred that they be:

  • Submitted as JPEGs or TIFFs
  • Photographed from multiple angles
  • Clear (as in not blurry)

Oral Histories

It is preferred that oral histories/ audio:

  • Be submitted as WAV or MP3
  • The content of oral histories is limitless. As a result, there are too many criteria to list. If you are interested in submitting an oral history to the North Dakota Memories collection, contact Trevor in the Digital Initiatives department.


  • The content of videos is limitless. As a result, there are too many criteria to list. If you are interested in submitting a video to the North Dakota Memories collection, contact Trevor in the Digital Initiatives department.
  • Videos come in a variety of formats, and the best practices and standards for video digitization widely differ. Thankfully, there are exceptional resources available online that can assist you with your video digitization needs. For more information, consult the document below.
  • Generally, formats like AVI, MP4, MPG, and WMV will be accepted.

Submitting/ Questions

If you are interested in participating in the ND State Library’s “Virtual ScanDay" and would like to submit items, or if you have any questions, contact:

Trevor Martinson
Digital Initiatives Specialist
North Dakota State Library
(701) 328-4629

Terms & Conditions

  • All participants will be required to fill out a Release & Consent form, which grants the ND State Library permission to retain and preserve the materials for its digital collections, as well as permission to alter, copy, and reproduce the materials for research, educational use, publication, etc.  
  • Participants should be the rightful and legal owner of the materials that they submit. Participants should hold the copyright, or the materials should be in the public domain.
  • All participants should be at least 18 years or older.
  • The ND State Library reserves the right to reject content that it considers duplicative, inappropriate, or outside the scope of its digital collections. The ND State Library is not obligated to retain any submitted materials or preserve them in perpetuity.

Additional Resources

How does one know where to even begin with a digitization project? Starting can seem intimidating. However, the process does not have to be difficult. There are some key categories that may make the decision easier, and they include:

  • High use items
  • Fragile or damaged items
  • Unique items
  • Items that fit on your scanner
  • Size of the collection
  • Organized collections
  • No copyright issues

There are also a number of things that should be considered before diving in, such as:

  • Format
  • Hardware & software
  • Storage
  • Access
  • Copyright

Consult this resource for more information on starting a digitization project:

ND State Library's Epson scanning guides:

ND State Library's handouts on hardware and software related to digitization and digital projects:

ND State Library's guides on image editor and converter software: