Skip to Main Content

Lifecycle of a Digital Project


  • Decide resolution (see Digitization Standards & Guidelines box below)
  • Decide on derivative size and any other special image processing necessary
  • Decide where you will keep files during production (Google Drive, local drives, Dropbox, etc.)
  • Plan for backup (keep files here, near & far)
  • Decide on file naming scheme and folder structure
  • Create a ReadMe file to document information about DPI, resolution, scanning equipment used, etc. 
  • Decide other special issues such as, procedure for photos are glued to black backing, etc. 
  • Digitize Your Material (see below)

Digitization Standards & Guidelines

Follow federal standards and best practices whenever possible.

Digitize Your Material

  • Scan in batches (easier to upload)
  • Crop, rotate, dust, color correct, sharpen, images as necessary
  • Add file name to spreadsheet
  • Create derivatives if necessary
  • Do periodic scanning QA (don't leave to end)
  • Check File naming

Digital Scholarship Commons at McHenry

File Naming & Organization

File Naming

  • Decide on a naming convention before data collection starts
  • Use descriptive file names
    • Example: ms0405_harry_mayo
    • Combine item format with an accession number and collection name
    • ms = manuscripts; 0405 = accession number; harry_mayo = collection name
  • Use underscores instead of spaces
  • Avoid special characters such as: " / \ : * ? < > [] & $ .
  • Use the dating convention: YYYY-MM-DD
  • Be consistent


  • Use a folder structure to organize for raw, modified & derivative files
  • Use spreadsheets for organizing information and sharing with project team
  • Blogs can be helpful to keep track of group projects

Bulk File Renaming Tools

What if you took a bunch of photos in an archive and came home with a lot of files with unintelligible names? Batch processing tools help easily rename those files to match a more sensible file naming strategy.