The first step in working with Imaging Services is to obtain a proposal for your project. It’s always preferable that the objects you’d like to have digitized be brought to NEDCC for assessment. With special collections materials, the handling requirements during the digitization process can vary widely based on each object’s individual condition. An in-person inspection guarantees that the proposal and project costs are accurate from the outset.
But, we understand that you may be in the early stages of project planning, or that bringing or shipping materials may not be feasible without a better understanding of your project’s potential cost. In such cases, we can provide proposals without seeing materials and encourage you to contact us to discuss the project. We will likely ask for information about the physical condition, housing, object or page counts, and, possibly, photographs of your material to help develop a preliminary proposal, which is subject to revision once we receive the material. The more information you can supply about your project, the more accurate the preliminary proposal will be.
And whether you bring items to NEDCC in person, ship them, or request a preliminary proposal, we will always discuss your project’s goals and requirements so that the proposal accurately reflects the deliverables you’ll receive once the project concludes. Once we have all the information we need, you’ll typically receive the proposal within two weeks.
Hand-carrying your items to NEDCC is always preferable so that you have the opportunity to discuss your project and its requirements with someone from the Imaging Services department. If you elect to bring your items to NEDCC, we accept walk-ins, but it’s always helpful to notify us in advance, if possible.
Shipping is also an option, and NEDCC has extensive information and guidelines available to help you pack and ship your materials on our Packing and Shipping Paper Artifacts page.
If your items require special handling (like glass plate negatives or nitrate film), NEDCC's registrar can help you work through the logistics.
Imaging proposals are generally provided free of charge. However, large, complicated collections sometimes require a charge for the proposal, and on-site assessments may incur consulting fees as well as compensation for travel expenses. With prior approval, a charge may also be incurred for assessments of large collections brought to NEDCC due to the lengthy examination time. However, for some large collections of similar objects, a representative sample may be sufficient to produce a reliable proposal and cost estimate.
If you are planning to apply for a grant, please be sure to take note of the application deadline and contact us early to ensure we have enough time to examine your items and develop the cost estimate.
For very large projects, we strongly encourage you to consider a pilot project to develop the project scope, test workflows, and validate costs. Please contact us for additional information on pilot projects as early in the process as possible.
NEDCC does not authenticate, appraise, date, or attribute historic and artistic works. If you wish to consider the market value of your items and their contents when deciding to invest in digitization, please consult a professional appraiser. To find an appraiser, please visit the websites of either the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.
An Imaging Services Proposal serves as the document of record for your digitization project. It will not only provide a cost for the project, but also detail the requirements, workflows, and deliverables you can expect. The goal is to record this information so that we fully understand your expectations, and so that you know we understand your expectations.
An Imaging Services Proposal will generally contain the following information:
A project inventory, with descriptive information supplied by you on the objects themselves, physical dimensions, and estimated image counts. For larger projects, we’ll ask you to send an inventory in advance to help us in preparing the proposal.
We ask you to provide instructions to us regarding how we should handle blank pages or versos, as well as the overall number of images we should produce if your estimated image count is less than the actual number of images required to fully photograph the collection.
An overview of our workflow and equipment; the file specifications agreed upon for Preservation Masters and Access Derivatives; information about how images will be processed, including cropping, file naming, and technical metadata; and the delivery media required. Much of this information will be determined in advance through discussion between you and Imaging Services staff, and can be adapted to an individual project’s needs.
A detailed breakdown of all associated project costs. Our services are typically priced on a per-image basis, and we arrive at this price by projecting the time required to produce a single image given the object’s handling requirements and the project’s specifications. As a general rule, large projects benefit from efficiencies that help reduce the price per image and overall project costs.
Each proposal also serves as an authorization form for the project, and a signed proposal is required before we can begin a digitization project. Once we receive the signed proposal, the project is placed on our schedule. If you approve a project but your items are not at NEDCC, we will only schedule your project once the items arrive. If we provided the proposal without having the chance to examine the items in person, they will be examined upon receipt and you will be contacted shortly thereafter for further authorization if the project estimate increases.
We generally prioritize projects in the order in which they are authorized. Depending on the amount of approved work in our onsite queue, and the size of the project, this can range from a few weeks to a few months. Under certain circumstances we can fast-track a project for a cultural institution in order to meet exhibition, publication, grant, or fiscal deadlines.
All objects must be insured under NEDCC’s insurance policy unless proof of alternate insurance or a waiver of subrogation is provided. Five hundred dollars ($500) of insurance is provided for each project at no extra cost. Additional insurance can be purchased at a cost of $1 per $1,000 of declared value for each month an object is at NEDCC. NEDCC is not responsible for the accuracy of the value declared by the client. Please call NEDCC to address specific insurance questions and limitations of coverage.
Our queue of approved work is sometimes lengthy. If you are uncomfortable leaving your items at NEDCC, and choose to retrieve them during the waiting period, the authorization and deposit can reserve a place in the queue. However, retrieval is generally not recommended. Storage in our secure and environmentally-stable vault is complimentary for pending and scheduled projects, and eliminates the risk associated with additional shipping and handling.
A postcard will be sent to inform you that your imaging project is about to begin. Please feel free to call at any time for an update. If any problems or surprises are encountered during the project, you will be notified immediately.
NEDCC’s Associate and Senior Photographers perform a 100% inspection of all deliverables from the delivery media, and assess image quality, collation and completeness, and file-naming and folder structures.
NEDCC will notify you, in the form of a letter and final invoice, once your project is completed and ready for pickup or return shipping (if requested in advance). Payment is due upon receipt of the invoice, and for private individuals we require full payment before releasing original items and deliverables. Any other payment terms must be authorized through NEDCC’s financial office.
In order to protect your property and your privacy, we require written authorization to release information or objects to your representative. We can only submit proposals, digital files, reports, and the objects themselves to you or to your authorized agent.
About digital imaging projects and scheduling
About receipt and return of your materials