NHPRC Documenting Deomcracy

The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company Historical Records Digitization Project

Digitizing Historical Records Grant

digitization station

Winning the Grant

The Archives at Northern Michigan University was awarded the Digitizing Historical Records Grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission in early 2010. The funds from this grant were used to hire a specialized Project Archivist, Rachael Bussert, who would lead the project. Additional technology was also purchased to help accelerate the digitization progress. You can follow along with the process at Rachael's Blog.


In past digitization projects, the Archives followed the guidelines and recommendations of the Western States Digital Imaging Best Practices Version 1.0. Because of our familiarity and success with Western States, the Archives will continue to follow these standards with this project. Staff will scan master files of individual documents in TIFF (maps) and PDF (Annual Reports and Contracts) formats and stored them in a relational database on a web accessible server. As recommended by Western States, staff will scan all manuscript documents (except the maps) in grayscale at 300 dpi using lossless compression. The reports and contracts are all typed, single page and will not require duplex scanning. The maps require 24-bit color scans to capture color used to present and identify different types of information. Although this level of scanning will take up more server space, the coloring is crucial to understanding the information presented by the maps.

Northern Michigan University maintains an exceptional technical and institutional infrastructure to support this project. We have decided to conduct this project in-house rather than use an outside commercial vendor. First, no commercial vendor with the required technical capability operates in the Marquette area. Second, Northern Michigan University maintains most of the required hardware and software needed to complete the project. The project will make use of following existing equipment for the digital scanning of the documents:

The TIFF, PDF master files, and project web site reside on the following server:

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