Skip to Main Content

Digital Initiatives: ScanDay for State Employees

Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library

ScanDay for State Employees

ScanDay for State Employees


The Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library offers a ScanDay specifically for state employees and those affiliated with North Dakota government.

For a normal ScanDay, Digital Initiatives staff hits the road for the event and brings scanning equipment to a library in the state. Community members and local organizations sign up for time slots ahead of time, and then bring in photographs, documents, objects, etc. from their personal collections for digitization. The ND State Library retains digital copies of the items for inclusion in the online archive Digital Horizons (via the North Dakota Memories collection).

ScanDay for State Employees is similar, except Digital Initiatives does not travel to a community for the event and participants are limited to employees of the state of North Dakota. If you are interested in learning more about ScanDay for State Employees, contact Digital Initiatives.


  • Unlike a typical ScanDay which is a one-and-done event, ScanDay for State Employees is ongoing.
    • State employees can drop items off at the ND State Library anytime. Hours are 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Either ask for Digital Initiatives or tell staff at the front desk that you are dropping items off for the Digital Initiatives department.
    • Digital Initiatives staff can also come to you to pick your items up, if that would is preferable.
  • As per the usual ScanDay guidelines, each participant should limit their number of submissions to 10-20.
    • Exceptions to this rule can be made. For example, if you have a collection of diaries (like the T. E. McMillian Diaries), Digital Initiatives would want to maintain the entire collection, as it is a set.
  • When dropping items off or having them picked up, make sure to include your contact information so the items can be returned to you or in case Digital Initiatives has questions.
  • Appointments are preferred, but not required.
    • Contact Digital Initiatives to make an appointment.
  • It may take a couple of days to process, inventory, and scan the items. So, anything dropped off will be returned to you later.
    • After digitization, the items are returned and each participant is given a flash drive containing digital copies of their items.
  • The goal of any ScanDay is to collect items of historic and cultural value and add them to the digital collections of the ND State Library, where they will be publicly accessible and preserved for future generations. Most digital items obtained during any ScanDay event are added to the North Dakota Memories collection on Digital Horizons.


Bring as much information on the items as you can. If possible, prepare an inventory, description, or notes of the items beforehand. This will help save staff a lot of time. Try to answer these questions for each item brought to ScanDay: Who? What? When? Where?

Here are some examples:

  • Who
    • Who is in the photograph? Who is the subject?
    • Include full names (avoid things like “Mom” or “Grandpa”)
  • What
    • What is going on in the photograph? What is the context?
    • Why was the photograph taken?
  • When
    • Try to date the photograph
    • Even a date estimation, like “between 1925-1932” or “late 1940s” is better than nothing
  • Where
    • Where was the photograph taken?
    • Where was the photograph published?

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.

What to Bring? Examples from the ND Memories Collection

Partnering with State Agencies

If any North Dakota state agencies are interested in partnering with the ND State Library to have their historic documents (reports, publications, etc.) digitized and made available online, contact Digital Initiatives.

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.