Donating Your collection

Thank you for your interest in sharing digital images of historical photographs that you have in your personal collection. Even with the extensive collection of photographs preserved at Digital Horizons contributing organizations, there are subject areas for which we lack images and are thus eager to add related images to our collections. By donating original prints or digital images you will be helping future researchers.

If possible, we encourage individuals to loan temporarily the original photographs to one of our partners from which the staff would make digital copies. A courtesy copy of the digital images will be returned to you with the original images.

When a Digital Horizons contributing organization accepts digital images created by individuals, it makes a commitment to their long-term preservation and their accessibility to the research public. As with all donations, digital images must fit within the organization's photography collecting policy. Each institution reserves the right to retain permanently only those digital images that meet collecting policy guidelines. Copyright issues also must be addressed, which may prevent accepting certain digital images.

In sharing digital images of historical photographs, you are agreeing that they are a donation to the contributing organization and they become the property of that archives. For each donation a deed of gift is prepared by the archives staff to be signed by the owner of the
original photographs. It is also understood that the contributing organization will, in turn, make these digital images available to
researchers and that digital copies may be made for a researcher if requested. Images that you donate may appear in publications, websites and other media.

Digitizing Guidelines

Digital Horions’ requirements in digitizing images likely are different than your immediate needs when scanning photographs. Thus we have developed the following guidelines outlining our required benchmarks for the type of digital copies we will accept, together with the necessary documentation and donation information.

We would encourage you to contact the appropriate organization before digitizing any images that you intend to donate. You may send an email to or contact one of the contributing organizations directly.

Benchmarks for Digital Capture:

Photographic Prints*

DPI File



Smaller than 8 x 10 in.

800 dpi


24 bit RGB

8 x 10 in. or larger

600 dpi


24 bit RGB

*If image is on a cardboard mount, apply DPI criteria to the actual image not the entire mount.

Photographic Film


File Format


35mm film & slides

5000 dpi


24 bit RGB*

Medium size film

2000 dpi


24 bit RGB*

4 x 5 in.

1000 dpi


24 bit RGB*

5 x 7 in.

800 dpi


24 bit RGB*

*For black and white film use 16 bit grayscale

The entire photogaph print image, including any cardboard mount, must be part of the scan. This provides better contextual information for the image that would be lost if not part of the scan.

Photocopy of Original Image

If any information is recorded on the back of the photograph, a photocopy of the back and front should be provided with the digital scan. If the mount is too dark or the writing is difficult to read to prevent making a legible photocopy, please transcribe all printed and handwritten information from the back to the Information Sheet. We would appreciate reference photocopies for all original photographs that are scanned.

Information Sheet

Please complete our Information Sheet for each image scanned. This includes critical information that likely is not recorded on the image, but about which you may have knowledge. This data will be preserved and made part of the description record for the image that is shared with researchers.