02 – Lab workflow


  1. Lab manager assigns a set of materials, digitization settings, and handling instructions to scan technician.
  2. Scan tech uses Google Docs spreadsheet or CollectiveAccess (depending on the project) to track per scan progress.
    1. This includes recording notes that came with the item, or if anything is written on the back of a photograph. Always include where the note is physically. Eg. “On back: note” or “On envelope: note”.
    2. Date scanned and initials of scan tech
  3. Images are typically scanned as master tiffs, but this depends on the project and the scanner.
  4. When finished scanning for the day (regardless of box/folder completion) the tiffs are then uploaded to the “Masters Temp” drive until final quality control confirms an entire project has been completed.
  5. Lab supervisor will walk through box with scan tech upon completion.

Quality Control

  1. Once an entire box/oversize folder of materials is digitized and uploaded to the Masters Temp, the lab manager then goes in and checks the digital images for:
    1. Dust, specks, any foreign artifacts
    2. The entire image having been scanned, rather than being cut off
    3. Proper scan dpi/ppi and file format
    4. Naming inconsistencies
    5. Number of files in digital folder versus number of recorded images in spreadsheet
    6. Correctness of spreadsheet metadata (misspellings, misplaced data)
  2. The lab manager will highlight an images’ row in the spreadsheet if it needs to be re-scanned and assigns that task to the scan tech.
    1. Any slides rescanned on a flatbed should be noted in the spreadsheet so they can be flipped appropriately during Photoshop.
  3. Rescans are to be placed in a “Rescans” folder within the Box folder.
  4. Once an entire project has been scanned and QCed, the lab manager will replace the original Master files with the Rescans and update Trello with the progress.
  5. All re-scanned images replace the former master tiff file, and the new scan date is updated in the spreadsheet. The re-scanned image must also be Photoshopped along with the rest of the files in its batch.


  1. A scan tech processes their scanned batch of images in Photoshop. First they must copy them off of the Working storage server and onto their computer. This way any mistakes made can easily be rectified by copying the images back down (rather than messing with the Master images) and the server can get overwhelmed by multiple stations editing on it at the same time.
    1. This workflow of scanning a box and Photoshopping a box right after has been adopted to reduce the amount of backlog processing work that accumulates when working with multiple projects, and gives the scan tech a chance to quality control their own work before it goes to the lab manager.
    2. For Retro TDs, all PDFs for a batch are uploaded to Box Sync and processed from the Box Sync folder. This allows instant updating of the files to be passed onto the next step of the project.
  2. The scan tech ensures all images are Photoshopped and copied back on to the Working storage, then proceeds to their next batch of materials for scanning if they did not spot any items which might need re-scanning.