Workflows and Estimated Times for Digitization

Below is a list of the component activities in digitization offered by the DSS with estimates of average times per component. All digitization complies with national standards.

See the average file sizes and project planning pages for more resources for planning projects.

See the average file sizes and project planning pages for more resources for planning projects. Estimating pages: “A cubic foot of records comprises about 2,000 pages.” (https://www.archives.gov/research/military/air-force/ufos#geninfo). The average archive box is 5 inches.

Projected Digitization Times and File Sizes.

Please note that these are only estimates and digitization times can vary widely based on material type and condition.
Material TypeUnitEquipmentFile Size in MB*Total Hours
Bound Books
(average 200 pages)
1 bookCopiBook or
ATIZ Cradle Scanner
4290 MB - 5950 MB4 - 6
Disbound books
(average 200 pages)
1 bookHigh Speed4450 MB3
Archival / Photos1 pageFlatbed or DSLR84.8 MB0.15
Large Format1 pageLarge Format103 MB0.5 - 1
Print Newspapers
(average 20 pages)
1 issueCopibook or Large Format1430 MB - 2000 MB1 - 2.5
Vended Digitization,
Newspapers on Microfilm
1 reel
(1,000 pages)
workstation onlyThese files will be split into individual issues before upload. File size is 864 MB per 10 pages.37
* File size includes the size of the archival tiffs and all derivative files, including jpegs, jp2s, OCR files, and PDFs when available.

Summary statement on calculating costs on digital projects

Because each digital conversion project involves a myriad of different aspects to consider in order to accurately calculate costs, it is best to discuss the feasibility of digital projects with the digital project committee as early in the planning stage as possible. All project proposals must go through the digital projects oversight committee for evaluation to consider a number of important criteria. Some examples of the criteria may include whether it fits within the mission of the library, the value to the public and academic community, the current workload of digital projects department, the scope of the project, costs and available funding; are among just some of the criteria.


Additionally, other variable cost determining criteria are used in calculating the feasibility of a project by the oversight committee. It is with careful consideration of the many variables that go into the planning and successful execution of a project. Some of these variables are listed below.

  • Number of items in the collection – impact on the department.
  • Condition of the collection –Impact on other departments such a Preservation or Cataloging?
  • Condition of the collection – does the collection require special treatment or handling?
  • Size of items/Type of item – impact on appropriate digitization tools.
  • Technology to be used – implementation of best practices, resolution and size; productivity time cost.
  • Metadata – impact on appropriate department
    • DSS department or Cataloging department? Currently existing metadata, or will it require original cataloging, and to what level?
  • Quality control – Impact on QC area, and the extent of TOC and chapters, as well as condition and page count.
  • Optical Character Recognition – Impact on OCR servers, for online search ability.
  • Additional costs incurred to maintain UFDC server.
  • Additional costs incurred for digital preservation and storage in perpetuity.

Estimated Times from Other Digital Library Centers
The Digital Library Federation’s Digitization Cost Calculator (online)