Skip to main content

Lamson Library

Open today:  
(full hours)

Digital Collections at Plymouth State University

Guidelines for Digitizing Two-Dimensional Physical Items


For most objects, 3,000 pixels on the longest side is required. This means scanning at a high enough resolution to get 3,000 pixels or more on the longest side.

  • Resolution is the scanner setting that determines the amount of detail the scanner will capture, expressed in pixels per inch (ppi), or dots per inch (dpi).
  • However, the resolution setting on the scanner isn't as important as the number of pixels on the longest side; the resolution will vary depending on the size of the original item being scanned.

Exception to the 3,000 pixel rule: Panoramas made up of more than one photograph taped together (often found in Brown Company collection) should ultimately be 6,000 pixels on the longest side.


  • Color images, including images with a strong sepia tone, are scanned 24-bit color.
  • Grayscale images are scanned 8-bit grayscale.


  • All scans are saved as uncompressed TIFF files. These are uploaded to OCLC’s Digital Archive™ service to ensure preservation of master digital files.
  • CONTENTdm software is used to derive a publicly-accessible JPG from the original TIFF.