Preparation of the Material

In order to ensure that a project goes as smoothly as possible, issues concerning the preparation and handling of holdings should be clarified in as much detail as possible, especially in the case of mass digitization.  


If a catalogue entry, database or suchlike is not already available, the holdings need to be indexed with essential metadata. For smaller holdings, an Excel table may be sufficient.

Every document requires an identifier for the clear identification of a work, based upon which the scans can be assigned to the respective dataset. This might be the individual system number on the library catalogue, for instance (see also File Names).

Preparation of the material

Depending on the type of holdings, the preparation of the material may be more or less complicated.

Possible preparatory work might be:

  • Cutting-up of doublet holdings that are no longer needed (e.g. journals) by a bookbinder 
  • Document labelling
  • Removal of staples
  • Pre-sorting, formation of digitization units

Compiling the documentation for the digitization process

Detailed information on the holdings facilitates the planning of personnel and financial resources. The necessary information can be presented in a volume framework.

  • Different materials have different digitization requirements. The important parameters include the sort of paper, pages in special formats, fold-out sections, colour pages, figures, drawing etc. 
  • For valuable holdings, documentation on the state of the works may also be helpful to record any existing damage, for instance.  

Practical example – preparation

  • The documents (e.g. letters, dossiers, notebooks, sketches) are recorded in an archive database
  • Staples, folders etc. are removed
  • Documents that belong together (e.g. a letter with an envelope) are combined into units with the aid of an acid-free envelope 
  • Every unit receives a cover sheet with an identification number, which is generated from the existing database. This cover sheet contains the most important information: title, number of pages to be scanned.

Subnavigation and related Informations

Related Informations Preparation of the Material


+41 44 632 69 10

Head of team
Regina Wanger

Regina Wanger