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Digital Initiatives: ScanDay

Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library


There are many different aspects of ScanDay, and as a result, some information has been separated and given its own page. Browse the links listed below to stay on this page or be redirected.

  • ScanDay
    • If you're looking for information about ScanDay (an event held in libraries across the state), then you're in the right place! Explore the page below for additional information.
  • ScanDay FAQ
    • A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about ScanDay.
  • Planning Your Own ScanDay
    • This page contains information and resources for libraries and other organizations that want to plan and host a ScanDay event on their own.
  • Virtual ScanDay
    • This is a spinoff program of ScanDay. It was started during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for citizens and organizations to contribute copies of their items to the North Dakota Memories collection. It has since been made into an ongoing program/ service.
    • The only caveat (and this is the biggest difference from a traditional ScanDay) is that your items must be digitized already. Digital Initiatives will not travel to a local library and scan the items for you.
  • ScanDay for State Employees
    • Digital Initiatives also offers a ScanDay specifically for state employees and those affiliated with North Dakota government.
    • This is an ongoing service and not a one-and-done event like a typical ScanDay.

What is ScanDay?


ScanDay is an event hosted with or in libraries (public, academic, school, special, etc.) across the state, in which Digital Initiatives staff from the ND State Library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize photographs, documents, objects, etc. from the collections of local institutions and private citizens. After digitization, the items are returned and each participant is given a flash drive containing digital copies of their items.

This project was started to help communities engage in building local and state history by submitting items of historical value to be converted into digital files and then displayed online on Digital Horizons via the North Dakota Memories collection. There, they can be accessed anytime for free by researchers, genealogists, teachers, students, members of the general public, etc.

If your library is interested in hosting or participating in a ScanDay, contact Digital Initiatives.

To learn even more, visit the ScanDay FAQ page.

If you (private citizen, institution, etc.) are unable to attend a ScanDay but would still like to contribute materials to the ND State Library's online archive, contact Digital Initiatives to discuss options.

What to Bring to ScanDay?

Digital Initiatives wants to avoid limiting what attendees bring to ScanDay events. However, submissions of photographs, postcards. letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. are encouraged.

  • Due to limited staff and equipment and the processing time required, each ScanDay participant is limited to 10-15 items during their time slot.
  • Oversize items and objects are acceptable. They will not fit on the scanners, but they can be photographed with a high quality digital camera.
  • 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.

Still not sure what to bring? 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, bring the original version of an item (like photographs or documents) instead of a a copy. Scans of the originals tend to produce better quality digital files versus scans of copies.
  • 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 consult the handout below (PDF) or the "What to Bring? Examples from the ND Memories collection" slideshow box available on this page.

ScanDay Resources & Handouts

What to Bring? Examples from the ND Memories Collection

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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.