Digitization Queue

What is the Digitization Queue?
The Digitization Queue (DQ) is designed to be a quick and easy way to keep track of who is doing what when someone needs material digitized. Besides allowing for priority setting among simultaneous digitization requests, the DQ allows us to know what’s going on at all stages of when a digitization job starts, how far along it is in the digitization process, and when it is finished.

The DQ works on a series of assignees and statuses. These statuses guide the processing from the initial request, to paging, through scanning, through upload, to final Digital Archive approval. Staff are assigned to each status (or task) along the way.


There are 7 basic types of digitization categories to choose from when initiating a job:

  • Exhibit (Scan and print)
    • Used when exhibit materials need to be both scanned and printed
  • Exhibit (Scan only)
    • Used when ehibit materials need only to be scanned
  • ILL
    • Used for all Interlibrary Loan requests, regardless of the material type
  • Photo Request
    • Used for digitization of photographs that will not be uploaded to the Digital Archive
  • Internal Project
    • Used for all internal, non-explicitely-patron-driven requests
  • Patron Request
    • Used for all patron requests
  • New Accession
    • Used for smaller items or collections (no more than 1 folder typically) that have been newly accessioned

An Item can have one of 6 primary statuses throughout the digitization process:

DQ Statuses.jpg

1.“New”When to use:
    • If you enter an item into the DQ but will not be paging the item

2. “Paged”When to use:
    • When an item has been paged and left on the Digitization Hold shelf in the second floor supply room.
    • Be sure to write the DQ job number on the call slip so that the person scanning can quickly identify the material associated with the digitization job.

3."Scanned"When to use:
    • When an item has been paged and scanned but has not been uploaded to Digital Archive.
    • When possible, upload items to the W&M Digital Archive as scans are made.

4."Submitted"When to use:
    • When an item has been paged, scanned, and submitted to the Digital Archive.
    • Always assign the job to the Digital Archivist once an item is submitted to the Digital Archive
    • Once submitted to the Digital Archive, the item must then be approved by the Metadata & Cataloging Librarian and the Digital Archivist.

5."Resolved"When to use:
    • This status is only used by the Digital Archivist to indicate that an item submitted to the Digital Archive has been approved and that a link to the item’s record in Archon has been made.
    • The staff member who originally entered the digitization job in the DQ will receive notice that the item has been approved as well as the permanent Digital Archive link.

6. "Closed"When to use:
    • For patron requests:
      • Once the staff member who originally entered the digitization job into the DQ receives the Digital Archive link to the needed item and sends the link to the patron
    • For exhibit requests:
      • Once the exhibit coordinator has received needed materials


In order to keep track of who is working on any particular part of the digitization job, staff are assigned to each status. The system essentially works like a bucket brigade, wherein, like firemen moving water in buckets from the water source to a fire, the person in one stage of the digitization process completes their task and assigns the next person to the next stage to move the job through the process chain.

For example, if staff person A submits a new digitization job, he or she will set the status to “New” and assign the task to staff person B to page the material. Once the material is paged, staff person B will unassign themselves from the job, change the status to “Paged,” and assign the next task, scanning, to staff person C. This continues throughout the process chain, with the Digital Archivist always being assigned once a job reaches the “Submitted” stage and the job originator (in this case, staff person A) being assigned at the “Resolved” stage. The job originator will always be responsible for closing the job.
DQ Status Workflow.jpg

Keep in mind that some digitization jobs don’t require a different person to handle each stage of the process. The staff person who originally submits a job may page the item, scan the item, and upload the item him or herself. In this case, the assigning duties would work exactly as outlined above. The staff person would enter a new digitization job, assign it to him or herself, conduct the digitization tasks, upload the material to the Digital Archive, change the status to “Submitted,” and then assign the job to the Digital Archivist as is prescribed.

It is also possible to leave a task unassigned and waiting in the pool for someone else to pick up. Work-study students will be instructed to look for unclaimed tasks if they have completed other work and need a project to work on, so this is only recommended for low priority digitization jobs. If a job is high or urgent priority, do not leave it unassigned.

Digitization Queue Priority Levels
There are several priority levels available for jobs in the DQ. However, only four are used in Special Collections:

  • Low
    • This priority is typically given to long term internal projects with either a deadline of more than 3 weeks or no established completion deadline at all.
  • Normal
    • This priority is given to typical patron requests and should take no more than 2 weeks to complete.
  • High
    • This priority is given to digitization jobs that should be completed in no more than 1 week if possible.
  • Urgent
    • This priority is given to digitization jobs that should be completed immediately and so should be addressed before any other jobs in the DQ.


The status orders and assignee rules pertain to only the following digitization job categories, which comprise the majority of digitization jobs that come through the DQ:

  • Internal projects
  • Patron Requests
  • New Accessions

The following categories require a different order of status or job assignment:

  • Exhibit (Scan and print)
    • After completing scan and print job, assign to exhibit coordinator and change status to "Submitted." Exhibit coordinator will close the job.
  • Exhibit (Scan only)
    • After completing scan, assign to exhibit coordinator and change status to "Submitted." Exhibit coordinator will close the job.
  • ILL
    • Most ILL requests are scanned on the Ricoh and not uploaded to the Digital Archive, so they do not typically go through the Digital Archive submission process. Once ILL requests are scanned and emailed to the ILL office, the job is changed immediately to "closed." If an ILL request is a candidate for Digital Archive inclusion, the original requestor will indicate so in the job notes, change the category to Patron Request and set the priority level to "Urgent."
  • Image Request
    • Since digitized photographs are not uploaded to the Digital Archive, once images have been scanned the job should be assigned to the original creator of the digitization job.

Describing Items:

Make sure to be thorough in your description of what you would like digitized, both to help with identifying physical location and linking the digital content to its record in Archon. Include as much of the following as possible in the description field of the DQ:

  • Collection title
  • Collection Number
  • Location information to the level being digitized (if digitizing a folder, have location information to folder level, etc.)
  • Link to the corresponding record in Archon
    • The corresponding link can be accessed one of two ways:
      • From the admin side:
        Archon link example.jpeg
        Access the material you want digitized in the Archon admin side and copy the link address from the address bar
      • From the user side:
        Archon link example user side.jpeg
        Access the material you want digitized in the Special Collections Database, right click the pencil icon next to the item, scroll down to "Copy Link Address" ("Copy Shortcut" in Internet Explorer or "Copy Link Location" in Firefox) click to copy, then simply paste in the DQ description