Category Archives: Digital Initiatives

Video Digitization Resources

Best practices and standards for video digitization widely differ. However, there are exceptional resources available online that can assist you with your video digitization needs. Consult the resources listed below for additional information. Contact the Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library if you have any questions.

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Genealogy Resources – State, Regional & National

Databases (North Dakota and national)

Digital Collections (North Dakota)

Digital Collections (regional)

Digital Collections (national)

Institutions (North Dakota)

 Tips and Guidance

New Items Added to Digital Horizons (April-May 2018)

The Digital Initiatives department has been keeping busy. Many items have been uploaded onto Digital Horizons. Listed below is a highlight of new items added to the North Dakota State Library’s online collections. You can access the items featured below by clicking on them or by visiting the Digital Horizons website (where you will also find thousands of other treasures).

ND Memories

ND State Documents

ND School for the Deaf Banner

Copyright – digitization & digital projects

There are many questions to consider before undertaking a digitization project, such as:

  • What is the size and condition of the collection? What is the purpose of this project? How much will this project cost? Have the items already been digitized by someone else? What is the time frame?

Copyright is another factor that needs to be considered before starting a digital project. If fact, it is often a major factor. You do not want to be halfway through a digitization project, for example, and then discover you cannot share the scanned items due to copyright. Then all of that time and money will have been for nothing.

Just thinking about the word copyright can send cold shivers down your spine, and it may also invoke headaches and/or nightmares.

Sure, copyright can be intimidating. When it comes to digital projects, copyright is a significant concern. It can make or break a digital project, and it often determines whether a potential project is worth pursuing or not. However, being better informed about copyright can alleviate some of the burden. And in doing so, you will discover that copyright is not so frightening after all.

The best way to approach copyright is to first understand it.

What is copyright?

  • According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright “is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” (Copyright in General – U.S. Copyright Office)
  • Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that “protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.” (Copyright in General – U.S. Copyright Office)

What is public domain?

  • According to the United States Copyright Office, a “work of authorship is in the ‘public domain’ if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.” (Definitions – U.S. Copyright Office)
  • There are 4 common ways that works arrive in the public domain: copyright has expired, copyright owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules, copyright owner deliberately places it in the public domain, or copyright law does not protect this type of work. (Copyright & Fair Use – Stanford)

Once you have an understanding of copyright, then you can take what you have learned and apply it to your digitization project. Keep things couple things in mind:

  • If you have concerns or uncertainties about copyright when it comes to digitizing and digital collections, do your research. Use the resources provided here to determine the copyright status of the item(s) in question. If you have questions or need some assistance, contact Digital Initiatives.
  • If you’re not sure if an item is protected by copyright or not, get permission from the owner/ creator. Have them sign a permission form or a copyright release form. The Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library uses forms like this. So if you would like to see the forms or use them as an example, contact Digital Initiatives.
  • If the item is in the public domain, then it is no longer protected by copyright and it can be freely scanned and made accessible.

Copyright Resources

Printing & Downloading PDFs on Digital Horizons

The Digital Initiatives department often gets calls or emails asking how to print or download a copy of an item on one of the State Library’s online collections on Digital Horizons, primarily PDFs from the ND County and Town Histories and ND State Documents collections.

It’s a simple process, and here are the steps to do it.

If you would like to download a PDF copy of an item or print it, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the item on Digital Horizons
  2. Click on the greenish printer icon on the right
  3. Select the “All” option
  4. A PDF copy of the item will then load (it may take a few seconds)
  5. Click on the download icon in your browser to download a copy, or click on the print icon in your browser to print

And that’s it!

Here is another tip.

If you would like your downloaded PDF’s to print out with uniform page size, follow these steps:

  1. In Adobe Acrobat (the program you use to view PDFs), click on the “View” menu at the top
  2. Click on “Page Display”
  3. Click on “Single Page View”

Then you can print.

Of course, if you ever have any difficulties or questions, you can always contact the Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library.

ScanDay FAQ

Help engage in building, sharing, and preserving North Dakota history by participating in a ScanDay event! Browse the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below to learn more about ScanDay.

What is ScanDay?

ScanDay is an event hosted in libraries, schools, and institutions across the state, in which Digital Initiatives staff from the North Dakota State Library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize historical photographs, documents, and objects.

The purpose of this event is to get residents to engage in building local and state history by bringing in personal records, photographs, objects, etc. to be digitized and then displayed online on Digital Horizons.

Most libraries, institutions, and even members of the public do not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to handle digitization projects like this, but this is where Digital Initiatives can help.

What is the procedure of a ScanDay?

Participants will sign up for a time slot before the event takes place. The local organization hosting the ScanDay will have a signup sheet for participants. Participants can sign up for a 30 minute time slot. North Dakota State Library staff can only accommodate two participants during a 30 minute time slot, and 10-15 items per person (due to limited staff/ equipment and the processing time required). Participants should have their items selected ahead of time, before going to the ScanDay event.

If a local museum or historical society is interested in signing up as a participant, they can bring about 20-30 items and are allowed to sign up for two 30-minute time slots (one right after the other).

If you have more than 10-15 items (or certain items like scrapbooks, booklets, etc.) it may take too long for them to be digitized at the event. However, if you want to have these items digitized and added to Digital Horizons, Digital Initiatives staff may have to borrow the items for a period of time. The items would later be returned upon completion.

When arriving at their allotted time, participants will be greeted by State Library staff, who will then work with participants to review and assess the materials brought in.

Participants will be asked to fill out and sign a form, which allows the State Library to digitize the items, as well as retain and share the digital files. During the 30 minute time slots, ScanDay staff will work with participants to get contact information, digitize the items, and record the descriptive information (metadata) for each item.

The items participants bring are scanned or photographed, and then the items are returned to the participants. Flash drives will be provided to all participants, which will include digital copies of their items. Participants will also receive handouts relating to Digital Horizons, the State Library, and preservation.

The State Library will also retain digital copies of the materials, and they will be added to its digital collections. Staff will later process the digitized items and determine which to upload and display on Digital Horizons.

State Library staff will bring digitization equipment to the ScanDay event, including two flatbed scanners and a digital camera. The scanners can fit items approximately 8 ½ X 11 inches. Any materials larger than this will be photographed.

What items should be brought to ScanDay?

The Digital Initiatives department seeks to avoid limiting what attendees bring to ScanDay events. But to give some ideas, these are various things that would be acceptable to bring: photographs, letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. Each ScanDay participant is limited to 10-15 items.

Anything that celebrates or represents certain themes, including but not limited to: North Dakota history, city or county life, agriculture, structures that no longer exist, floods, pioneers, ethnicities, government, military, family history, sports, education, organizations, etc. It is preferred that items brought to an event have a North Dakota connection.

Photographs of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, but they should be clear/ not blurry. The items brought in 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.

It is preferred that items brought to an event are identifiable (meaning the people, location, and approximate time period are able to be determined).

Bring as much information on the items as you can. Preparing an inventory, description, or notes of the items before the event would 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 for photographs to give you an idea:

  • 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?

To give you some ideas of what to bring, you can browse the sampling of items brought to previous ScanDays available on the State Library’s Flickr. To give you even more ideas, you can also browse the entire North Dakota Memories collection.

Items that are generally discouraged include: newspapers or newspaper clippings, copyrighted materials (unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder), and anything that contains private information. As a general rule of thumb, do not bring anything to ScanDay that you would not be comfortable having displayed online on Digital Horizons.

What happens to the digital copies collected after a ScanDay?

The Digital Initiatives department works to sort through all the items digitized at ScanDays. Not all items scanned or photographed will be uploaded onto Digital Horizons. After processing is complete, the department works to catalog the information and upload them onto Digital Horizons. The items may also appear on the State Library’s Flickr and Historypin collections.

The North Dakota State Library will also retain and preserve the digital copies.

Where can we find the items from ScanDay on Digital Horizons?

Items from ScanDays are part of the North Dakota Memories collection.

To narrow your search to a specific ScanDay location, browse the North Dakota Memories collection, scroll down until you come across the “Repository Collection” filter on the left, and then click on the ScanDay collection to see the items from that location.

What is the responsibility of an organization hosting ScanDay?

The responsibility of the hosting organization is to provide a space for Digital Initiatives staff to set up equipment. The organization will also need to provide a table, chairs, and access to an outlet. Please contact the Digital Initiatives department prior to the ScanDay if your organization has any issues with these responsibilities.

Marketing materials (like a flyer and signup sheet) will be provided by the North Dakota State Library. The organization is responsible for distributing the marketing materials and answering patrons’ questions about the event.

Prior to the ScanDay, the State Library will create a Facebook event and make the organization a co-host; both parties will then have the ability to promote the event and invite participants.

The organization is responsible for lining up attendees. In some cases, the Digital Initiatives department may require a minimum number of attendees to be registered in order for the event to take place.

What can I do if I’m unable to attend a ScanDay but I’m interested in having my items added to Digital Horizons?

If you are unable to attend a ScanDay event but would still like to contribute your materials to Digital Horizons, contact the Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library to discuss options.

  • Digital Initiatives staff may have to borrow the items for a period of time. The items would later be returned upon completion.
  • If you are in the Bismarck area, contact Digital Initiatives about setting up an appointment for you to bring your items to the State Library for digitization.

Will values or appraisals be given for the items brought to ScanDay?

No. The Digital Initiatives department cannot provide monetary values or appraisals for materials brought to a ScanDay event.

Can my items be donated to the State Library?

The North Dakota State Library is not equipped to accept physical items like photographs, documents, and objects. The State Library is not an archive so the physical preservation of these materials falls out of its scope. Certain items like books and histories (county, town, organizational, family, etc.) may be considered for acceptance into the State Library’s collections.

If you are interested in donating your materials to an institution that can properly store and care for them, consider contacting a local museum or historical society. You may also want to consider contacting the State Historical Society of North Dakota (either the Archives or Museum division).

Who should be contacted regarding ScanDay or Digital Initiatives?

If your library or organization is interested in having a ScanDay or if you have questions relating to Digital Initiatives, please contact the department at ndsl-digital@nd.gov or 701-328-4622.

What is the Digital Initiatives department?

The Digital Initiatives department was formed in 2012 to share expertise in collecting, creating, and preserving digital copies of items relating to North Dakota’s cultural heritage and government.

The department offers services including training and consultation related to the creation, display, storage, and preservation of digital collections.

The department digitizes, shares, and preserves North Dakota-related materials, many of which are cataloged and uploaded onto Digital Horizons.

The department plans, organizes, and implements ScanDays.

What is Digital Horizons?

Digital Horizons is an online digital library consisting of thousands of images, documents, videos, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today. Digital Horizons provides a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies.

Digital Horizons was established in 2007 and has grown to include contributors such as Concordia College, North Dakota State University, Prairie Public Broadcasting, North Dakota State Library, State Historical Society of North Dakota, and more!

New Items Added to Digital Horizons (Jan.-Mar. 2018)

The Digital Initiatives department has been keeping busy in early 2018. Many items have been uploaded in January and February onto Digital Horizons. Listed below is a highlight of new items added to the North Dakota State Library’s online collections. You can access the items featured below by clicking on them or by visiting the Digital Horizons website (where you will also find thousands of other treasures).

ND Memories

ND State Documents

ND School for the Deaf Banner

Embedded Videos on Digital Horizons

Digital Horizons has taken streaming historic videos to the next level. Normally, to watch a video on Digital Horizons, you would have to click on a link that would take you elsewhere, or you would have to download the video. Not anymore! A new feature now allows for embedded videos on Digital Horizons. Now you can search and stream in one convenient location.

This feature on Digital Horizons began with the “Prairie Memories – The Vietnam War Years” collection, and will soon be expanding to other collections. The State Library has been working on adding this feature to its “North Dakota State Documents” collection. Here is an example: http://bit.ly/2CPCAch

Macaroni Menu Magic

North Dakota State Documents Collection, North Dakota State Library.

Digital Horizons is an online digital library consisting of thousands of images, documents, videos, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today. Digital Horizons provides a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies. Digital Horizons was established in 2007 and has grown to include contributors such as Concordia College, North Dakota State University, Prairie Public Broadcasting, North Dakota State Library, State Historical Society of North Dakota, and more!

You can browse the North Dakota State Library collections on Digital Horizons here: http://bit.ly/2D7VyII

Archiving in Rural Libraries: Photographs

Many of the most popular documents in a town’s past are its photographs. These photographs may have been given to the library because it is where all of the historical documents are stored or they may have been donated by a patron of the library. For whatever reason, rural libraries tend to have a large amount of photographs that document their town’s history. Archiving photographs can be as simple as putting them in acid & lignin free folders and boxes or Mylar sleeves and then storing them in a dark room. But for those who would like to display their collection of photographs they have a few options.

If creating a display with photographs from the archive do not display them in direct sunlight. The UV rays are what make documents and pictures fade over time. I would also suggest keeping them in a clear envelope of some type. Two common types are Mylar and Polyester envelopes. For the library that would like to allow their patrons to look through their photographs without having worry about them wearing gloves and damaging the photo, I would suggest scrapbooking them into albums. Though this may sound silly it is actually a very effective and efficient way to organize and display photographs. The majority of scrapbooks and their pages are acid & lignin free and the adhesives for them are also acid & lignin free. This is important because acid in tape is what turns the tape yellow in time and would therefore further damage the photographs. If the sound of sticking an old photograph to a page is slightly abhorrent I would suggest using photograph corners. With those the photo is never stuck in the scrapbook.

In a scrapbook you can also transcribe any writings that happen to be on the back of the photograph. This will make it easier for patrons to learn about the item and the transcription will prevent any future need to see the back of the photograph if it is placed directly on the page. Each page of the scrapbook should also have a Mylar sleeve. This will protect the photographs from being touched when a patron is looking at them as well as preventing dust and other damage. Scrapbooking can be a fun and innovative way to preserve a town’s photographs and display the history of the town at the same time.

Additionally, for those of you that feel like scrapbooking will be a lot of extra work but like the idea of allowing the patrons to just look through the photographs I would suggest putting them in an album. You can purchase photograph sleeves to the size of the pictures in your collection and then put them in a nice 3-ring binder. I would suggest not using a binder from Wal-Mart or Target because they are not archivally safe.

Some places to purchase archival scrapbooking supplies:

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies:
    1. They might be one of the pricer options but you know for sure everything they sell is archival quality.
    2. Scrapbook: Selection of Scrapbooks
    3. Page adhesive squares: Photo Corners
  2. Hobby Lobby:
    1. As a general craft and hobby store this one will have scrapbooks and pages but it will also have albums that will come with photograph pages.
    2. Scrapbook Supply Page
    3. Page adhesives: Clear Photo Corners
  3. Micheals:
    1. Like Hobby Lobby, Micheals is a general craft and hobby story that will cater to scrapbook needs.
    2. Scrapbook Supply Page
    3. Page adhesive squares: Clear Photo Corners
  4. Hollinger Metal Edge:
    1. Like Gaylord, this is a pricer option but it comes with the assurance that everything you purchase will be archivally safe for your photographs
    2. Scrapbook Supply Page: Scrapbook Option
    3. Page adhesives: Photo Corners

Note: Page protectors vary depending on the scrapbook decided on. Many of the refill pages will come with page protectors so check that when ordering.

Archiving in Rural Libraries: Newspapers

Does your town have a newspaper? Did it have one once? If the town or surrounding towns have or had a newspaper the library probably has every copy ever printed. Chances are that many patrons will come in and ask for the back issues of these newspapers. Therefore, storage for these materials can become difficult. When faced with storing newspapers it is very common to see them stored in stacks that can easily be searched when requested by a patron. Keeping these papers usable for the public is the challenge that many librarians and archivists face.

The easiest way to preserve newspapers is by purchasing large acid & lignin free newspaper folders. These folders are generally labeled as oversized folders that can be purchased to the sized of the newspaper. I would suggest purchasing a folder that is slightly larger than the newspaper so the item is fully covered. This will keep it completely out of damaging light and dust. The most common practice is to have one newspaper per folder so that each item stays as pristine as possible. These folders can then be put into an oversized box that can easily be looked through in order to find the item when requested. If the newspaper is particularly fragile it is suggested that it does not circulate among patrons. A fragile item will be fine in one of the folders but for extra protection I would suggest using a Mylar or Polyester sleeve. These sleeves will encase the entire newspaper in a type of plastic wrapping that will prevent moisture and air movement through the item. I suggest this for those newspapers that are starting to disintegrate from age and use. Though it will not stop the disintegration process entirely it will slow it down enough to ensure its usefulness for the future.

Depending on where the items are purchased the cost will fluctuate. The two most common archival suppliers are Gaylord Archival Supplies and Hollinger Metal Edge. The item depends on the best place to shop. The items within these two companies are comparable in quality so when ordering it is important to have a general idea of how many items are needed. When ordering take notice of the package sizes (package of 10, 25, 50, etc.) and of the minimum order amount. Because these folders and boxes are oversized they may not be available at a general office supply store like Staples.

Where to start with your newspaper archive: 

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies has a starter kit available for those archiving newspapers for the first time. It is available for order at this link.
  2. Hollinger Metal Edge also sells a newspaper kit. The page comes with the option to purchase more folders of the size that are in the kit right away. It is available at this link.