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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Scan for Keeps Event FAQ

What is a Scan for Keeps Event?

This is an event hosted in libraries, museums, or other organizations across the state, in which digitization staff from the South Dakota State Library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize photographs, documents, and objects. 

Most libraries, institutions, and even members of the public do not have the necessary knowledge or equipment to handle digitization projects, but this is where SD State Library digitization staff can help. Event goals are to: 1. Identify and digitize valuable information within a local community, 2. Educate the partner organization on equipment used and prices if they want to offer the service themselves, and 3. Assist local libraries or museums to raise awareness and comfort levels with preservation of local and state history. 

How do I explain the event to my patrons/community?

A "Scan for Keeps Event" is an opportunity to bring old photographs, documents, postcards etc. to the hosting organization and have an electronic copy made. This will help preserve the item in case the original gets lost or eventually disintegrates with age. It also makes it easy to share family history with other family members. Once digitized, patrons can email pictures, share them on social media, share on genealogy websites and with genealogy groups too." 

What happens at a Scan for Keeps Event?

The local organization hosting the event will register participants for a time slot. Time slots are 30-40 minutes. Participants should have their items selected ahead of time. Scrapbooks or booklets will take longer; participants may not be able to get everything they want scanned in the allotted time. 

The items brought are scanned or photographed and returned to the participants. USB drives will be provided to all participants, which will include digital copies of their items. 

State Library staff will bring digitization equipment to the event, including one or two flatbed scanners and a handheld scanner. Basic Photoshop edits can be done to photos. 

What are the responsibilities of the hosting organization?

The responsibility of the hosting organization is to provide a space for State Library staff to set up equipment. The organization will also need to provide a table, chairs, and access to an outlet. Please contact the digitization department prior to the scheduled scanning event if your organization has any issues with these responsibilities.

Marketing materials (flyer and sign-up sheet) are provided by the State Library if the host wishes to use them. The host is responsible for marketing the event and answering patrons’ questions. If possible, the host organization is also encouraged to submit an announcement to the local newspaper. Use posters, social media announcements, local chamber of commerce, newspaper, sign boards outside the building, talk to patrons one on one, church bulletins, work with school librarians and library board members to get the word out.

The host organization is responsible for lining up attendees. Minimum number of attendees is six, otherwise the event may be canceled. 

What items can patrons bring to the event?

Acceptable items: photographs, letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. Each participant is limited to 10-15 larger items. A larger number of photos may be done, but patrons should prioritize the most important ones in case staff cannot get to all of them. 

Photographs of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, but they should be clear/ not blurry. The items brought in can be from any time period, but more recent items – like photographs – should have been taken by participants so there are no copyright issues. Photos will be scanned at a minimum resolution of 400 dpi.

Items that are generally discouraged include: newspapers or newspaper clippings, copyrighted materials (unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder), and anything that contains private information. 

Donating Digitized Items:

If there are items or records that help to document the history and heritage of South Dakota, patrons may want to contact a local museum/archives, a participating institution of the Digital Library of South Dakota, or the SD State Archives

Work of the Digitization Department at the SD State Library:

SDSL is the historical repository for state government publications, some of which go back to territorial days. State library staff work to digitize and make available online many of these historical publications. Visit the online digital collections: South Dakota State Library Digital Collections



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