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How to digitise slides. Recommendations and working lists for the reproduction of a very special artefact

Links to related websites

  1. Handling and preservation of historical material:


National Archives Preservation Guidelines for Vendors Handling Records and Historical Material (1998) (https://www.archives.gov/preservation/technical/vendor-training.html)

Library of Congress, Preservation Guidelines for Digitizing Library Materials (2017) (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/scan.html)


Northeast Documentation Conservation Center, Andover (MA), Preservation Leaflet. Photographs. 5.3. Care of Photographs, https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/5.-photographs/5.3-care-of-photographs.


Shingo Ishikawa, Darren Weinert, “Preserving Glass Slides” (part 2) at NFSA (2010) on cleaning slides (https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/glass-cinema-slides-2)


Charles Barten, “Restoration 10 cm wooden slide”, on the restoration of slides with a wooden frame (http://www.toverlantaarn.eu/restorations_4.html).
Charles Barten, “Creating a double slide holder”, on how to make a new slide carrier (http://www.toverlantaarn.eu/restorations_6.html).


  1. Long time data management, metadata and digital storage:


Sofie Laier Henriksen, Wiel Seuskens,Gaby Wijers, D6.1 Guidelines for a Long-term Preservation Strategy for Digital Reproductions and Metadata (2012) (http://www.dca-project.eu/images/uploads/news_activities/DCA_D61_Guidelines_Long_Term_Preservation_Strategy_20120213_V1.pdf).


Sofie Laier Henriksen, Wiel Seuskens,Gaby Wijers, D6.2 Best practices for a digital storage infrastructure for the long – term preservation of digital files (2013) (http://www.dca-project.eu/images/uploads/banners/DCA_D62_Best_practices_for_a_digital_storage_infrastructure_20130506_Version1.pdf).


“ISO 18918: Imaging materials – Processed photographic plates – Storage practices” (2000) by ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) to be acquired on their website (https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#home) by typing in “ISO 18918”.


Recommendations for metadata on photographic material: International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), IPTC Standards. Photo Metadata White Paper 2007. Document Revision 11, Windsor (Berkshire, UK) 2007: http://www.iptc.org/std/photometadata/0.0/documentation/IPTC-PhotoMetadataWhitePaper2007_11.pdf


Worldwide implemented metadata standard, published by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative in 2012:   Dublin Core Metadata Element Set – reference descriptions,: http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/


Description of existing metadata container formats for still images and their properties: Metadata Working Group (ed.), Guideline for Handling Image Metadata, version 2.0, November 2010: http://www.metadataworkinggroup.org/pdf/mwg_guidance.pdf.



  1. Digital guidelines by archives, museums, institutions, working groups (a selection, all accessed in June 2017):



Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines (UPDIG): guidelines for photographers, designers, printers, and image distributors): http://www.updig.org/index.html


UPDIG Universal Quickguide Version 0.4: http://www.updig.org/pdfs/updig_universal_quickguide_v40.pdf


UPDIG Photographers Guidelines Version 4.0:  http://www.updig.org/pdfs/updig_photographers_guidelines_v40.pdf


UPDIG Image Receivers Guidelines Version 4.0: http://www.updig.org/pdfs/updig_image_receivers_guidelines_v40.pdf


UPDIG Digital Image Submission Guidelines entitled “Fine Art Reproduction – What Museums Need” (http://www.updig.org/guidelines/ir_fine_art.html).


UPDIG list of links on colour management, metadata, software, monitor calibration, file formats, file delivery, web colour, books, blogs and forums: http://www.updig.org/guidelines/ir_appendix.html




Kathleen Brosseau, Mylène Choquette, Louise Renaud, Digitization Standards for the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, version 1.1 (March 2006), p. 22 on slides




The Netherlands

“Metamorfoze Preservation Imaging Guidelines. Image Quality” (January 2012):





International Organization for Standardization (ISO): https://www.iso.org/home.html

ISO has issued several standards documents that have to be bought (here a selection):

– ISO Viewing standards:

ISO 3664:2009 Graphic technology and photography – Viewing conditions


– ISO Digital Camera standards:

ISO 12232:2006 Photography – Digital still cameras – Determination of exposure index, ISO speed ratings, standard output sensitivity, and recommended exposure index

ISO 15740:2013 Photography – Electronic still picture imaging – Picture transfer protocol (PTP) for digital still photography devices

ISO/TR 19247:2016 Photography – Guidelines for reliable testing of digital still cameras


– ISO Archiving systems:

ISO/TR 19263-1:2017 Photography – Archiving systems – Part 1: Best practices for digital image capture of cultural heritage material


– ISO image scanner:

ISO 21550:2004 Photography – Electronic scanners for photographic images – Dynamic range measurements



United Kingdom


TownsWeb Archiving Ltd, Kettering (UK), How to Digitise… Glass Plate Negatives (2015), (https://www.townswebarchiving.com/2015/01/how-to-digitise-glass-plate-negatives/)




BCR’s CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices Working Group, BCR’s CDP Digital Imaging Best Practices (2008) (http://mwdl.org/docs/digital-imaging-bp_2.0.pdf).


Consortium of Academics and research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), Guidelines for the creation of digital collections. Digitization Best Practise (2014) (https://www.carli.illinois.edu/sites/files/digital_collections/documentation/guidelines_for_text.pdf)


Digital Library of Georgia, Digital Library of Georgia Digitization Guide (2001), with a list of decision-making questions (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/guide.html#04).


Digital Library of the Caribbean, Basic Theory and Specifications (2007)



Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative Still Image Working Group (August 2010), p. 38 on slides



Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiatives: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials. Creation of Raster Image Files (September 2016), on photographic transparencies: http://www.digitizationguidelines.gov/guidelines/FADGI Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative-2016 Final_rev1.pdf (http://www.digitizationguidelines.gov/guidelines/digitize-technical.html).


Library of Congress, Recommended Formats Statement 2017-2018, II. Photographs – Digital (http://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/RFS%202017-2018.pdf).


OCLC, Guiding Digital Success (2010) (https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/contentdm/guiding_digital_success_handout.pdf).


Steven Puglia, Jeffrey Reed, Erin Rhodes, NARA Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access: Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (2004), p. 30 on slides (https://www.archives.gov/files/preservation/technical/guidelines.pdf).


Western States Digital Standards Group, Digital Imaging Working Group, Western States

Digital Imaging Best Practices (2003) (to access via link on https://www.lyrasis.org/LYRASIS%20Digital/Pages/Preservation%20Services/Resources%20and%20Publications/Digital%20Toolbox/Digitization.aspx).


Don Williams, Michael Stelmach (ed.), Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials: Creation of Raster Image Master Files (2010)



Utah State Archives, Guide to Digital Imaging (2005)




  1. Scanning projects



Shingo Ishikawa, Darren Weinert, “Preserving Glass Slides” (3 parts) at NFSA (2010) (https://nfsa.govcms.gov.au/latest/glass-cinema-slides-1; https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/glass-cinema-slides-2; https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/glass-cinema-slides-3).



Martina Massarente, “Il progetto per una fototeca del DIRAAS. Le diapositive su vetro di Giusta Nicco Fasola e gli ultimi studi su fototeche e archivi fotografici di Storia dell’Arte”, Publif@rum, no. 26: Du labyrinthe à la toile / Dal labirinto alla rete, 2016 (http://publifarum.farum.it/ezine_articles.php?publifarum=d2e9caccdcbda4eb965975792e9b4daa&art_id=347).



  1. Overview of transparent image scanners:



www.scanace.com with an overview of diapositive scanners http://www.scanace.com/app_scan.php (run by hardware producer Pacific Image Electronics, owner of the trademarks Brown and Reflecta);

www.reflecta.de (run by the producer);

http://www.braun-phototechnik.eu/en/products/list/~pcat.105/Dia-Film-Fotoscanner.html  (run by the producer);

www.canon.de/scanners/flatbed-scanners/ (run by the producer);

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/film-scanners (run by B&H (Blimie and Herman), a US electronics retailer);

http://www.normankoren.com/scanners.html#Scannertable (overview last renewed in 2013 but it still gives a rough idea what to expect).



  1. Survey of technical information on scanner parameters:

The Digital Still Image: https://web.archive.org/web/20150315203835/http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/guide/the-digital-still-image


Kit A. Peterson, What to Look for in a Scanner. Tip Sheet for Digitising Material in Cultural Institutions, Library of Congress, June 2005 (https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tp/LookForAScanner.pdf).


Don Williams, “Selecting a Scanner”, Part 2 of Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging, edited by Research Libraries Group, Council on Library and Information Resources, and Digital Library Federation, Mountain View CA, 2000 (http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide2.html).


A.G. Zheleznyak, V.G. Sidorov, “Flatbed scanner as an instrument for physical studies”, in: St. Petersburg Polytechnical University Journal: Physics and Mathematics 1, 2015 , p. 134–141 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405722315300013).



  1. Survey of parameters that should be taken into account before buying a scanner see:

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20160101153006/http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/toolkit/digitisation-equipment/buying-a-scanner (former website of the British non-profit organisation Jisc Digital Media Group);

www.jostark.de (run by Jo Stark, an amateur of photography and self-trained scanning specialist);

http://www.filmscanner.biz/Forum/ (run by Patrick Wagner, ScanDig);

http://www.filmscanner.info/en/ (run by Scandig, a scanner selling company).



  1. Information on accessories:

– IT8-targets: e.g. www.coloraid.de (run by the producer Wolf Faust);


– colorimeters: e.g. Datacolor (http://spyder.datacolor.com/de/, website run by the producer),

X-Rite  http://www.xrite.com/color-measurement-products, website run by the producer),

Golden Thread (http://www.imagescienceassociates.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ISA001&Product_Code=DL1&Category_Code=GT, run by the Image Science Associates), Universal Test Target (http://www.universaltesttarget.com/, run by Image Engineering);


– free post production software: e.g. www.irfanview.com (run by IrfanView);


– calibration: e.g. http://www.simpelfilter.de/farbmanagement/weisspunkt.html for checking the monitor for white point, black point and grey scale.


– test if computer monitor supports ICC version 4 and /or version 2 profiles: http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter.


– information on testing programs to assure the reproductions’ long-term integrity by applying an algorithm to recognize digital corruption after data migration: Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) or Message Digest Algorithm (MD5): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MD5


  1. Information on scanning

“Screening”: http://printwiki.org/Scanning


  1. Additional information on digital photography:

Robin Myers Imaging (2015) on colour charts, grey and white card for colour balancing, UV Target etc.: http://www.rmimaging.com/information/information_index.html


A technical study on digitally photographing artwork in museums: chapter 3: “Develop a Quantitative Procedure to Benchmark. Image Quality and Evaluate the Procedure at Several Institutions”, in:

Roy S. Berns, Franziska S. Frey et.al. (2005), Direct Digital Capture of Cultural Heritage – Benchmarking American Museum Practices and Defining Future Needs, Rochester, NY: Munsell Color Science Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology (http://www.art-si.org/PDFs/Benchmark_Final_Report.pdf).



  1. Additional information on specific aspects concerning digitisation:


– dyes for early colour prints and slides:

Luciano Berriatúa, “Regarding a Catalogue of the Tints Used on the Silent Screen”, in: All the Colours of the World. Colours in Early Mass Media 1900-1930, Edizioni Diabasis, Reggio Emilia 1998, p. 135-139.


Ulrich Ruedel, “An Archeometry of Colours: Pathé Metal and Mordant Toning in the Davide Turconi Collection Studied by X-Ray Fluorescence”, in: Jacques Malthête, Stéphanie Salmon (ed.), Recherches et innovations dans l’industrie du cinéma. Les Cahiers des ingénieurs Pathé (1906-1927), Fondation Jérôme Seydoux – Pathé, Paris 2017, p. 251-266.


– colour properties:

“Colour Properties / Terminology” (http://www.workwithcolor.com/color-properties-definitions-0101.htm).


– light conditions:

Standard illuminants by CIE (D50, D60): e.g. https://www.gtilite.com/pdf/Various-Light-Sources.pdf (run by GTI Graphic Technology), https://www.xritephoto.com/documents/literature/en/L10-350_UnderstandingDaylight_en.pdf (run by X-Rite).


– quality:

Guides to Quality in Visual Resources Imaging, edited by Research Libraries Group, Council on Library and Information Resources, and Digital Library Federation, Mountain View CA, 2000
July 2000, with contributions by

– Linda Serenson Colet (Planning an Imaging Project, https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide1.html);

– Don Williams (Selecting a Scanner, https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide2.html);

– Donald D’Amato (Imaging Systems: the Range of Factors Affecting Image Quality, https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide3.html);

– Franziska Frey (Measuring Quality of Digital Masters, https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide4.html, and File Formats for Digial Masters, https://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/visguides/visguide5.html).