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Digital Initiatives: Planning Your Own ScanDay

Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library


Congratulations on wanting to host your very own ScanDay! You've taken the first step in this exciting process.

This page provides information and resources for libraries and institutions that want to host a ScanDay on their own (separate from the ND State Library). For these events, your library or institution would be the host and provide the digitization equipment and staff. The ND State Library would not be directly involved.

Explore the sections below for additional information, suggestions, resources, etc. to help get your project up and running. If you need any assistance or have questions, do not hesitate to contact Digital Initiatives.

If you are looking for information about hosting a normal ScanDay in partnership with the ND State Library, visit the ScanDay page. For these events, the ND State Library provides the digitization equipment and staff, and your institution is the host.

Planning Your Own ScanDay


Planning a ScanDay event can take weeks, and even months in some cases. If you plan ahead and work out all of the logistics, your event will run smoothly. Some factors to consider include:

  • Location (and the available space within that location)
  • Availability of equipment and staff
  • Coordination with partner organizations (if applicable)
  • The time needed to create and distribute promotional materials (flyers, infographics or collages on social media, etc.)
  • It may also be worth considering having a program or guest speaker (to talk about digitization, genealogy, etc.) in conjunction with your ScanDay event. This may help boost attendance.

Additionally, during the planning process, the hosting institution (and any partners) should determine the answers to these questions:

  • What is the purpose of the event?
  • How will the metadata be captured and saved?
  • Will the hosting institution retain digital copies of the items?
  • Will participants be given digital copies of their scans? How will they be given copies? (giving each participant a flash drive containing digital copies of their items can be a great incentive)
  • Will participants need to signup, or make appointments, in advance?
  • Will there be a minimum number of participants needed to signup ahead of time?


Select a location that is visible within the community, easily accessible, and has plenty of parking. The location should have ample electric outlets that are accessible, and it should also have room for multiple workstations (tables, chairs, etc.). Additional areas may be needed at the location for activities, guest speakers, handouts, etc.

Hardware & Software

In order for the ScanDay to run smoothly, you are going to need the proper equipment (hardware) and software. There are many options available, and the best options really depend on your institution's needs and budget. However, to provide an idea of what you may need, a list of the hardware and software that the ND State Library uses on its ScanDay events is available in this PDF:


Typically, about 5 staff members are needed to keep the event running smoothly. However, the number of staff members needed may depend on how many people are expected to attend the event. Ideally, there should be:

  • 1 person to serve as the greeter and welcome staff. This person can also serve as the photographer of the event.
  • 2 people to scan
  • 2 people to record the metadata


The structure of the event and the type of materials that are brought in will likely determine what kind of form will be needed. Consult the "ScanDay Forms" tab on this page for more information.


Partnerships for events like this are always encouraged (but not required). Collaborating with other community organizations or individuals may help the event succeed. Potential community partners can include:

  • Colleges & universities
  • Genealogical societies
  • Historical societies
  • Libraries (public, school, academic, etc,)
  • Museums
  • Schools
  • Senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc.
ScanDay Forms

The following is a list of essential ScanDay documents.

The following is a list of forms used by the ND State Library for ScanDay events. The forms serve various purposes, but they are incredibly useful. The forms are all available as Word Docx so they can easily be downloaded and altered to meet your needs. Feel free to use and/or adapt these forms, or create your own.

Social Media & ScanDay

It is important to market your ScanDay event. Flyers and articles in the local paper are popular options. The easiest way to market your event is through social media.

Posting an image along with your text can be very eye-catching. Explore the information and resources for guidance on where to find images and how to use them.

Using Digital Horizons Images

Images from the online archive Digital Horizons can also be used for marketing purposes (Digital Horizons is a consortium that the ND State Library is a member of).

However, not all items on Digital Horizons are marked as "no copyright" or in the public domain. Pay close attention to the "Rights Statement" field. This metadata field for each item on Digital Horizons will explain the copyright status.

Many of the items in the ND State Library's collections on Digital Horizons are either in the public domain or do not have copyright. Instead of searching through the thousands of items, the ND State Library has created several image collage templates that can be used on social media for the purposes of marketing a ScanDay. Click on the link below to be redirected to access and download the images and template text.


Using Public Domain Images

Finding the perfect image for your marketing your event on social media can be tricky. It gets even more difficult if you’re making sure your images are legal to use. That’s right, legally, you can’t use any image you find on Google. Using these images opens your library or institution up to possible lawsuits for copyright infringement. Instead, look for images that fall into public domain. Visit the Free and Legal Stock Images page for more information.

Browse the list/ links below for public domain images from the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Smithsonian, and Wikimedia Commons that are free to use and reuse. Feel free to use any of these images for marketing purposes, or just for fun.

Additional Resources

IMLS logo

Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.