Black-and-White Printed Materials

Type of Document

Includes relatively recent documents, black on white, without annotations, without images, with clear print, with sharp contrast between the ink and the paper, and on paper that is neither yellowed nor stained.


  • Book
  • Document printed on a laser or inkjet printer


  • Keep a border around the document to allow reframing of the document as well as later modifications (e.g., removing the scale and document number).
  • Batch digitization enhances productivity, but does not offer optimal rendering of individual images.
  • For documents larger than the surface of the digital scanner, use the instructions for normal-sized artifact photography.
  • For documents with several pages, consider producing a PDF document from the originals, or from black-and-white copies.


  1. 300 ppi, with a minimum of 3,000 pixels for the longest measurement (8 x 10, or 1:1 for formats larger than 8 x 10).
  2. Refer to the general guidelines to calculate the number of ppi required for a given dimension.
    Note that it is the original document which measures 8 x 10, not the final digital file.
  3. Digitize in reflective mode.
  4. For reference purposes, digitize a colour scale (Kodak Q-14 or Q-60) before each digitization session.
    Black and white image of a paper document with typed script, also includes a grey scale with the number 0101010101
  5. Use a grey background.
  6. Digitize the document with a grey or colour scale and, depending on available space, always place it in the same location (ideally lower left).
  7. Colour-balance each image as indicated in the general guidelines. If there is no greyscale reference, balance the levels of white in the brightest zone (D-Max), then balance the black in the darkest zone (D-Min).
  8. Enlarge the frame by one inch at the bottom, and type the document number in black at the lower right (font: Arial, 40 pts.).
  9. Flatten the image (i.e., flatten layers).
  10. Convert in greyscale profile "Gray Gamma" 2.2, 8 bits.
  11. Save the image as an uncompressed TIFF, named to standards established by the Corporation's Photo Archives.
  12. Produce a JPEG version as described in the general guidelines.

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