How to Digitally Preserve Your Photographs

By Alan March
 DHS Trustee and Collections Volunteer.


Family photos and documents are treasures to be handed down from generation to generation. We can preserve and protect those treasures two ways. Protect them using archival quality storage materials, such as folders or envelopes, sleeves, and boxes (See January's post for more details). Preserve them through digitization.

Put simply, digitization is scanning photos and documents into a computer. Delhi Historical Society has been actively digitizing its collections so they can be used by researchers and visitors without exposing the originals to potential damage through handling. Delhi Historical Society scans photographs and slides at 1200 DPI using the TIFF format. Those are the standards for digital archives. The high resolution (1200 Dots Per Inch) allows higher quality enlargements. TIFF files can be opened repeatedly without losing image quality. 

Delhi Historical Society has digitized thousands of images but has only just begun digitally preserving its large collection of photographs. Many of the images are simple family photos from years ago. 

Others are more formal family or business portraits. Through the DHS' Scanning Station project, Delhi residents have shared their family photos with the historical society. Those images are now preserved for researchers and family members for generations to come.

Don't think your family photographs and documents are "not historical." Today's snapshots are tomorrow's history. Documents such as personal letters, newspaper clippings, high school yearbooks, and many other items are treasure troves to historians. Preserve them by scanning them at home. Or, contact Delhi Historical Society to arrange to have your photos and documents scanned. You will keep the originals while donating the digital images to DHS. That way you are preserving your family treasures and sharing them at the same time.

Scanning Guidelines

  • Scan the entire image. (Also scan back if it includes information relevant to the photograph)
  • For preservation [Master File]:
    • Scan as a .TIFF file
    • 1200 DPI
    • 24-bit color
  • For sharing:
    • Scan as a .JPG file
    • 300 dpi
    • 24-bit color
  • Save as: year_month_day_descriptive_title (ex: 1953_09_23_Jane_Doe_age_17.tiff)
  • Save a Master File and back it up. Preferably back up on a cloud drive or at another location.
    • DO NOT alter your master copy (adding text, color correcting, etc)

If you have photos related to Delhi Township, we would love to add them to our digital collection!

Please contact us for details.

Help us preserve Delhi's treasures.

Make a donation

For more information view our slideshow from our January 2018 lecture:

Preserve Your Photographs!

Delhi Historical Society's collections priority over the last few years has been to properly organize and preserve the Delhi Township photo collection. Photos are our most requested object from the public so we want to make sure we have them easily accessible and protected for our researchers and volunteers. We hope you made it out to our January 8th lecture, but if you could not, we are happy to share some resources and our slides with you. Enjoy!

Video by the Smithsonian Institution shows how to safely remove photos from those pesky magnetic albums!

This is a great ad for Stabilo pencils showing the dos and don'ts when writing on photographs!

Preservation Tips

Library of Congress

National Archives   

Archival Methods Blog

(This where the workspace photo on slide 2 came from)

Recommended Books

Photographs: Archival Care and Management

Archives for the Lay Person

Where to Buy Archival Supplies


University Products


If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Be sure to check back next month for scanning tips!

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8 Things to Know about the Cincinnati Flood 80 Years Ago. By Guest Author, Andi Saylor.


The worst natural disaster in the history of Cincinnati left families without homes and without basic needs such as food, water, and electricity. However, it is remembered through the way the community came together to overcome the flood and help their neighbors.

1. Funds were collected to rebuild and repair damaged homes and public structures, and volunteers teamed up to bring the city back.

2. Nearly one of every eight people in the tri-state were left homeless.

3. At least 10 gas tanks exploded and there were oil fires on the Ohio River.

"Black Sunday" Gas tanks ruptured near Mill Creek that took firefighters over 12 hours to put out. Photo provided by Phil Lind

"Black Sunday" Gas tanks ruptured near Mill Creek that took firefighters over 12 hours to put out. Photo provided by Phil Lind

4. Rainfall fell in just a 12 day period, from January 13-24, with a total of 80 inches.

5. Today, a scale marking the heights of floodwaters that have reached its walls since 1800. The flood of 1937 stands the highest at 80 feet, with the flood of 1884 coming in at a close second at 71 feet.

Riverside St. Rose Church scale shows how high the water got on the church during each major flood.

Riverside St. Rose Church scale shows how high the water got on the church during each major flood.

6. Seventy-five million dollars in damages had been caused, and that was in 1937 when one dollar was equivalent to twelve dollars now. The damages would be equal to nearly one billion dollars today.

7. The home plate at Crosley Field, home of the Cincinnati Reds, was submerged 20 feet during the Ohio River flooding.

8. When Duke Energy was going around the tristate to fix power outages and gas leaks, they consumed 3,000 sandwiches daily and 200 gallons of coffee.

Delhi Historical Society's exhibit, United by High Water: The Great Flood of 1937 opens Friday, April 28 at 7pm.

For more amazing pictures and documents relating to the 1937 flood visit one of the sources below!

Welcome to the DHS New Website!

DHS Logo 1_DHS Color.jpg

We are excited to announce that our new website got a makeover! We hope this new site gives us new ways to connect to our community and make our collections more accessible to researchers. Right now, we are focused on getting the basics together and working out design glitches, but we will continue to constantly add new things so keep checking back!

Our newest addition is an events calendar! This will allow us to post our events months in advance to assist with marketing.

Some of our future plans include:

  • Photo Galleries: Historic photographs, and present day events
  • Blog: where we will post DHS news, history articles, genealogy research tips and preservation techniques.
  • Research resources: scans of documents in our collection that can be useful to researchers.
  • Anything else we can think of!

We are open to suggestions. If you'd like to share your ideas, please email us via the form on the contact page.