Digitization Lab Location Tool

Editor’s note: In the spring semester of 2020, UT iSchool Masters candidate Elizabeth Buchanan focused her capstone project on surveying the digitization needs of all Texas Digital Library members. She also assessed a wide number of digitization labs in the state of Texas and beyond, thereby creating a Lab Location Tool to allow TDL’s members to locate and partner with labs that will best meet the digitization needs of their unique collections.

Learn more about Elizabeth’s project and download her full report at https://main.tdl.org/member-stories/digital-imaging-inventory-project/.

Read further to learn more about how the lab location tool works. You can view the Digitization Lab Location Tool here


Format Categories

In the search for a digitization partner, it is important to locate a lab with the proper equipment to digitize and care for the specific media formats in your collection. However, there are MANY media types – particularly in areas such as film and video. A complete listing of every format a lab is able to process can be difficult to search, and will often be incomplete as providers continue to develop their programs to stay competitive in the market, acquiring the ability to handle different media types over time. For these reasons formats in the TDL Lab Location  tool are limited to the following categories. Once you have identified a lab that works with the general format category you’re looking to have digitized, the next step is to submit a query and see if they can work with your materials.

Bound Paper Non-destructive scanning of bound paper materials, including books, magazines, pamphlets, and bound reports.
Paper Documents 20th century or newer paper documents that may be processed through a high-speed scanning system
Archival Loose Paper Loose paper materials of a fragile or unique nature (archival or special collections) which may require skilled handling.
Manuscripts Bound paper documents of a fragile or valuable nature, often handwritten, which require skilled handling and specialized equipment. Scrapbooks are included in this category.
Large Format Paper materials whose size is ISO Standard A1 (23.4 x 33.1 inches) or larger. Includes but is not limited to: posters, blueprints.
Maps A specific sub-section of large format materials that may require specific dpi or metadata formats. Given the large number of survey responses indicating a need for map digitization, it was decided that maps should be considered a separate format. Certain digitization providers also specialize in maps.
Newspapers Another specific sub-section of large format materials, periodicals printed on thin and acidic “newsprint” type paper. Certain providers specialize in newspaper digitization.
Photographs Printed photographs of all process types. 
Microfilm/Microfiche 16 or 35 mm cards designed to be read by microfilm or microfiche readers. Also includes aperture cards.
Slides/Negatives Reversal film in enclosures and film negatives.
Fine Art Painting, drawings, prints and types of that may require particularly high precision as well as extreme care in shipping and handling.
3D Objects Sculpture; archival artifacts
Film Super 8; 8mm; 16mm; 35mm
Analog Audio Vinyl; cassette; reel-to-reel; magnetic tape recording
Digital Audio CD; mp3 files
Analog Video VHS; Betamax; Mini Cassetes; U-Matic
Digital Video DVD; files such as .mov, .mpeg, .Mp4
Digital Files Hard drives; cd-roms; floppy disks; jump drives; flash drives; computers ( We expect that as members develop their programs and acquire more born-digital materials, a need will develop for this category to be expanded or another  added to better address different types born digital file types.)


There are many considerations when an institution seeks a digitization partner – the production of high quality images, cost, speed of production, and whether the size and format of the images produced fit within institutional repositories – and the balance of these factors will be different for every institution! However, several industry standards have been developed to judge the quality of digitized images. Consulting these standards can be helpful, both to articulate what ‘quality’ means for your digitization program and to evaluate the quality of a potential digitization partner. Useful standards include:

Whether you choose to adhere to a professional standard or not, we strongly suggest that institutions looking to work with an external digitization partner develop a list of institutional standards to share with providers. An excellent example of this type of document can be seen at TDL Member institution, the University of North Texas: https://library.unt.edu/digital-projects-unit/standards/


The inclusion of a digitization provider in the TDL Lab Location Tool does not constitute or imply the endorsement or recommendation of the Texas Digital Library. The information included in this page has been verified to the best of TDL’s abilities against information from provider websites.  For inquiries, to make a correction or to have your services considered for inclusion in the lab location tool, contact info@tdl.org

Learn more about Elizabeth’s project and download her full report at https://main.tdl.org/member-stories/digital-imaging-inventory-project/.

Please contact us at info@tdl.org if you have any questions or suggestions.


Texas Digital Library is a consortium of library and archives professionals that propels the Academy forward by maintaining our past and preparing for the future. Membership in TDL is open to any academic library. Find out more by visiting https://main.tdl.org/members/membership/ or email us at info@tdl.org.

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