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Scanning and saving scanned data

Scanning is used to digitise photographs, documents and other paper-based items.

When scanning items, aim to obtain the best digital image possible with the equipment you have or can afford. If purchasing a new scanner, talk to the sales staff and make sure it will achieve your planned outcomes.

When scanning, capture the whole image. If there is writing around the side of the image, or the item is in a frame, it is generally recommended to capture these parts of the item, as they make up the story of the item. If there is information on the reverse of the item, scan that also.

There are many variables in scanning, such as resolution, pixels per inch, dots per inch, bit depth, file type and so on. These all relate to how the item is scanned and the digital format in which it is saved. The way an item is scanned and saved effects how much digital space it takes up. 

Image capture standards vary depending on what the item is. The basic standard for scanning is to scan at:

  • Resolution 600 ppi
  • 24-bit colour
  • Save as a TIFF file.

Text-based items require less resolution and may be scanned at 300 ppi. 

More information

Technical specifications – State Records NSW