Welcome Backstage


Digital images open your archival collections to new dimensions of search and discovery, access, and utility. Your digital collections can make primary sources available to researchers, students, faculty, and patrons of every kind.

Backstage is an industry leader in digitizing and preservation. We have experience digitizing rare and irreplacable collections and materials. We have special handling for shipments, in-house, or on-site.

Standards are very important to us, and we know they are important to you but there's so many. You may see reference to FADGI, NDNP, NDSA or other standards. If you have questions about what they mean, we can help.

Quality is built into every stage of our process. Calibrating cameras at shift change, viewing images at capture, and reviewing files in post-processing for legibility, accuracy, and overall image quality.


Open Access to Hidden Collections

How would global access change the way your collections are used? What materials do you want to see made accessible in digital formats, and how do you get them there?


Perhaps you're just starting to build a digital repository, exploring recommendations for resolution, bit depth, and file format. Or maybe you have digitization workflows already established, but you need additional technology, staff time, or expertise to convert a particular collection.

At Backstage, we tailor our services to fit your needs. Whatever level of assistance you're looking for in a digitization partner, we can work with you to accomplish your goals.

Our start-to-finish imaging and metadata options can help you through any stage of the digitization process:

  • Project planning
  • Material preparation
  • Digital imaging
  • Metadata creation
  • Collection oreganization and upload

Work Space
Material Storage

Full Service Imaging

Backstage can create digital images from nearly any type of source materials, including:

  • Bound Items:
    • Newspaper volumes
    • Magazines
    • Theses and dissertations
    • Yearbooks
    • Scrapbooks
    • Foldouts
    • Diaries or journals
    • Minutes and logbooks
  • Loose materials:
    • Newspapers
    • Manuscripts
    • Correspondence
    • Clipping files
    • Disbound pages
  • Photographic resources:
    • Prints
    • Postcards
    • Slides
    • Negatives
    • Glass plates
    • Microfilm
    • Microfiche
  • Oversized pieces:
    • Posters
    • Maps
    • Blueprints
    • Large-format books
  • 3D objects

If you don't see your material type on the list, let us know and we can discuss the best way to digitize your materials.

Our Process

As we receive your materials we move them into secure storage and flag them with a barcode to track the chain of custody throughout their stay at the Backstage Preservation Center where our technicians are specially trained in the proper handling of archival materials. From storage to camera to return shipping.

We understand that you may have some concerns about shipping your treasured collections so we have options. We can advise your staff on how to pack materials to minimize risk during transit. For many sites, we can send our dedicated Backstage van service to pick up and deliver materials. We can also pass along recommendations for art shippers or other specialized freight carriers. In situations where a collection simply cannot travel, we can come to you with our Onsite Digitization Service.

Prior to each digital capture session our equipment is benchmarked for image quality using the GoldenThread system [DICE targets] developed by Image Science Associates. In addition to calibrating our scanners and cameras, Backstage utilizes high resolution digital monitors that are specifically designed for graphic arts applications. Monitors are calibrated to meet ISO 12646 specifications. The digital studio is designed to maintain color neutrality and light levels appropriate for archival processing work.

Our scanning is always performed to the specifications agreed upon. We are also happy to make recommendations based on your materials and FADGI guidelines.

Communication is very important to us at Backstage, so we will send you a weekly update during the length of your project. Our project manager will keep you informed of the status of your project, next steps, and due date. If you ever have any questions or concerns we also welcome you to pick up the phone and give us a call, or send us an email, we are always happy to discuss your project.

Materials at station

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is more than just a final step, we have built in quality at every stage of the process.

First and most importantly we train our technicians on the importance of quality. Quality is at the heart of the culture of Backstage.

We perform calibration tests on all our active equipment at the start of every shift. We can also include test scans in your digital file delivery.

During the capture process our Digital Technicians will note any anomalies found during the scanning process. These anomalies will be reviewed during our quality process steps. Your Project Manager is alerted to any defects or problems in your original materials and will reach out to you to consult on how to handle them.

We don't put limits on quality. We believe 100% in doing things right, we're so committed we offer a Lifetime Quality Guarantee.

All work done by Backstage Library Works is delivered with our exclusive lifetime guarantee. Backstage will correct to the client’s satisfaction, and at our expense, any non-adherence to the established agreement, no matter when such problem comes to light.

As our files are transferred to delivery media we do one final check to ensure all data has transferred without corruption or digital noise. The last thing you need is to receive invalid data!

Reviewing Quality
Transmissive station

Digital Image Metadata

Digital files without metadata are like hidden treasures in your collection without catalog records. They may be incredible, but if no one can find them, they hardly exist at all.

We have dedicated teams working at the point of image capture and in post-processing that can collect and format the metadata your system needs to make your images searchable and accessible so that you can share your treasures with the world.

Metadata options can include:

  • OCR text conversion
  • Transcription
  • Headline correction
  • Structural metadata
  • Descriptive metadata
  • TEI field encoding
  • METS/ALTO mapping and article-level segmentation
  • EAD finding aids
  • DACS compliant metadata
  • MARC records
  • Dublin Core records
  • CONTENTdm collections
  • Authority control for digital collections

If you have metadata questions, or you don't see a metadata option you need here, contact us and we can discuss your metadata needs.

FADGI and Standards

We talk a lot about FADGI, NDNP, NDSA and other digital image and metadata standards. That's because they are important to us. We know your institution has standards that are important to them as well. Our project planning stage will ensure that the standards that are important to you are a part of your project with Backstage.

Because of our longstanding contracts with US federal libraries, our studios are designed to deliver FADGI 3-star and 4-star compliance. Whether your project requires strict adherence to these guidelines or not, many of the benefits of the FADGI standards carry over in the layout of our workstations and the training of our technicians.

  • FADGI (Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative):
    • FADGI a collaborative effort by federal agencies. Formed in 2007 to articulate a common sustainable set of technical guidelines, methods, and practices for digitized and born digital content. FADGI Site (external link)
    • We recommend reading this Digitization Guideline ( Link) or this summary ( Link).
  • NDNP (National Digital Newspaper Program)
    • The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. NDNP Site (external link)
  • NDSA (National Digital Stewardship Alliance)
    • Hosted by the Digital Library Federation, is a consortium of more than 220 partnering organizations, including universities, professional associations, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, all committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. NDSA Site (external link)
Standards are important to Backstage

Lifetime Guarantee

At Backstage, we stand behind our work with a guarantee that has no expiration date. Quality is the foundation of our success, and we're confident enough in our ability to do things right the first time that we're willing to stand behind our work forever. Our promise here is very simple:

We will correct to the client’s satisfaction, and at our expense, any problem with our services, no matter when such a problem comes to light.

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