Digitizing State Historical Sites’ Nomination Applications

Thanks to Stephanie R. Altbier, MSLS, ERMp, Digital Library Technician, National Park Service, for this guest post: Digitizing State Historical Sites’ Nomination Applications.

Read on…

Emerging technologies at the end of the 20th Century made it possible for the National Park Service to develop a proposal to digitize state historical sites’ nomination applications that earned the approval for National Register status.

The main purpose of the digitization project was to provide access to digitized images for the State Historic Preservation Offices, federal agencies and the general public. Full access to the digitized images is available through the National Register’s Focus database at http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/

The funding for the digitization project was acquired through a variety of sources, and by 2000, the digitization project began. With funding in hand, one contractor was hired to perform the pre-process prep work for the scanning vendor and to perform the post-processing work of quality control when scanned records were completed. By 2006, two-part time students and a production manager were hired, because of the extensive work that was involved. Recently, two archivists were added to the digitization project for quality control oversight.

The nomination application records are digitized in batches. Dedicated Buffalo terastations are used for storing the digitized records, and terabyte USB drives are used for backup for storage offsite.


  • When planning a digitization project, always keep in mind the funding budget and be selective of what you want to digitize.
  • For pre-processing batch scanning, first create a batch list containing all pertinent information – name of file, subject, date, etc. plus batch number, number of pages and photographs.
  • Count the number of pages and photographs to be scanned and write the page and photograph quantities on the batch list.
  • Make sure all of the pages and photographs are in the right order and are facing in the right direction and remove all staples, paper clips, etc.
  • Clip the items to be scanned with a binder clip, put it in the front of the folder, place the folder in the box and move onto the next item to be scanned.
  • For post-processing batches, pull up scanned items for review and compare to batch list for the accuracy of the number of pages and photographs scanned, quality of scanned images, missing images, or need for rotating images.
  • All errors are documented on a spreadsheet with file identification. After errors are corrected, a second quality control review of scanned items occurs.

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