Historical Preservation and Digital Imaging Program


In 2004, Heritage Preservation carried out the first national survey, the Heritage Health Index, to document collections preservation needs in libraries, museums, and archives. That survey showed that roughly 1.3 billion items need treatment to reduce the risk and rate of damage. However, this doesn't even scratch the surface in addressing the overall issue since so many of our historic images are in private collections.

The NKPHTS is ahead of the curve with its Digital Imaging Program, which follows the protocol of the Institute for Museum & Library Services, but assistance from our members is still needed. We encourage you to take a look at your own collections and how they are stored to make sure that your material is safely and securely preserved. Some useful links are included at the end of this message regarding the best way to store the different materials you may have.

It's also a good time to consider the future of our member's collections with a view to the impact they will have on the history and legacy of the Nickel Plate being preserved by the NKPHTS. If you haven't already, perhaps now would be a good time to have your collection added to our Digital Archives and the Publishing Program. Having your precious NKP slides, negatives, documents, and ephemera preserved and stored in the society's Digital Archives protects them from many kinds of physical risks, but it also adds them to the thousands of images already stored for the purpose of fulfilling the society's educational and preservation objectives. This helps ensure that future generations won't be left to piece together the story of the Nickel Plate Road on their own.


Established and implemented only a few years ago, this innovative and exciting program has allowed for the digitization of more than 10,000 images relating to the Nickel Plate. The purpose of the program is to preserve delicate and inaccessible material in digital form for long-term accessibility for research purposes and use on the society's website.

All types of Nickel Plate Road material may qualify for this program, including photos, slides, maps, plans, diagrams and historical ephemera such as timetables.

Both NKPHTS members and non-members are invited to submit their material for digitization. Scheduling arrangements must be made in advance to ensure secure handling and timely return of material.

The society has also recently established an outreach program that includes access to material housed at independent libraries and museums, as well as a project in cooperation with the National Archive.

A library of CDs containing the society's digitized images has been established as a part of the Nickel Plate Road Historical Collections at the Western New York Railway Historical Society, and is open to all NKPHTS members, as well as qualified researchers, authors and historians.


To preserve, in digital format, information, data, photos, and other important images relating to the Nickel Plate Road and its constituent and affiliated railroads.


Submissions to the Digital Imaging Program may be created by NKPHTS members, or other independent parties interested in the preservation of historical material and the objectives of the Program.

Scans of original material in the form of documents, drawings, plans, maps, publications, photos, postcards, and other ephemera related to the objectives of the program that meet the program's Submission Specifications may be submitted to the Project Coordinator with prior notice.

The cost of shipping and appropriate insurance coverage shall be the responsibility of the individual making the submission.

Original material digitized by members or other independent parties may be accepted for inclusion to the Digital Imaging Program Archive if such submissions meet the program criteria. Such submissions will be reviewed and approved by the Project Coordinator(s) prior to inclusion to ensure that all policy and submission standards are met. The Publication Director, in association with the DIP Administrator, shall be the final arbiter(s) of the qualification standards of any questionable submission for inclusion in the Program.

All submissions will be accepted on a non-restricted basis only.


The following specifications are recommended to be followed for all submissions to the NKPHTS Digital Imaging Program, and must be followed by all third-party participants wishing to submit media containing scanned images for inclusion in the Digital Imaging Program Library.

  • All black & white images should be scanned in grayscale; color images should be scanned in CMYK color format.

  • Photos: 1200 dpi up to 4x6 size; 800 dpi for 5x7 and 8x10.

  • Negatives: same resolution as photos, but images must be submitted in positive format via reverse scanning process.

  • Slides: minimum 3600 dpi.

  • Postcards: minimum 600 dpi utilizing de-screening software during the scanning process.

  • Printed images: manuscripts, documents and other printed material should be scanned at a minimum of 400 dpi (screened or half-tone images must be scanned with de-screening software).

  • No modification or re-touching of images is required.

  • All scans of photos and other similar images should be saved as .tif files without compression.

  • Scans of documents, manuscripts, etc., may be saved as .pdf files if the original image is of high enough quality for good reproduction; otherwise .tif format should be used.

  • All images should burned to either a CD or DVD using open architecture software.

  • Each image should be labeled or coded for easy identification.

  • All digital media submitted to the Digital Imaging Program should have a corresponding inventory of images. Image labeling or coding should correspond with the image identification on the digital media.

  • Identification of the source of the images is required.

  • Images from copyrighted books and other publications must include titles, authors, publishers, etc.

  • The photographer's name must be submitted for all scanned photographic material, and copyright assignments and/or waivers should be included if at all possible. In the absence of an assignment or waiver of copyright, a citation must accompany the images, such as: Collection of John Smith, Photos Courtesy of John Smith Collection, etc.

For a PDF file of these specifications, please click here.


For further information or to provide notification of a proposed submission, please contact the Project Coordinator by email at imaging@nkphts.org.

Please send materials directly to the Project Coordinator at:

John T. Slater, DE
NKPHTS Collections Curator
PO Box 243
Niagara Falls, NY 14304-0243

Your materials will be scanned immediately and returned as soon as they are done.