Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flatbeds VS Digital CopyStands

There has been a very interesting discussion on the Visual Resources Association (VRA) list serve comparing scanning stations that are flatbed scanners and those are copystands with a digital camera.  The digital copy stand seems to be the favorite among those with extensive workflows because of its consistency and speed.  However, when you are scanning printed material which has been printed using a dot pattern such as most books, brochures and programs, people seem to lean towards the flatbed.  The problem with dot patterns and half tones is moire patterning which is defined at "moiré pattern (pronounced /mwaˈreɪ/ in English, [mwaʁe] in French) is an interference pattern created, for example, when two grids are overlaid at an angle, or when they have slightly different mesh sizes."  Thus, you have pixels and you have dots of ink, which results in moire or ripples across your scan.
Many find a flatbed scanner, which was described by a digital copyststand advocate as a digital camera with a very shallow depth of field, the preferred method with this type of material, because most scanning software have a  descreening function. For those curious, at this time the Epson 10000XL appears to be the flatbed of choice.
However, if you are using the copystand with digital camera set up, some "tricks" of the trade were shared.  The basic one appears to be to rotate the original material, shoot it and then straighten it in Photoshop. The rotation is minimum, about 8 degrees and should be done by trial and error as different printers have different dot patterns.
Another trick offered by the generous VRA listees was to correct  bleed-through from the backing page, by using a sheet of matte black paper can help prevent this, and sometimes help minimize background “checkerboard.”

My thanks to the VRA List, in particular: Rebecca A. Moss, Howard Brainen, Eileen Fry, Mark Olson, Chris Strasbaugh and Ross Wolcott.
For those looking for more information about scanning stations, you can look at Califa's Digital Information Forum   where I have placed several scanning articles and images of scanning stations.

Friday, November 12, 2010

University of Chicago to use Finding Aid for large scale Digitization Initiative

Kathleen E. Arthur, Head of Digitization at the Preservation Department of the University of Chicago Library recently announced their launch of a digitization initiative on the Digipres listserv. What I found particularly interesting is their use of finding aids, but these are not your mother's finding aids. As you can see by reading her post below, their use allows them to catalog at various levels of detail, through the use of EAD tags links placed at various places in the finding aid.

But Kathleen describes the whole project so much better, Read it for yourself.

11/11/10 to Digipres from Katheen Arthur:

The University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center has a launched an initiative for the digitization of archives and manuscript collections. The digital images are being made available via the online finding aid for each collection. This will recreate for the online user the experience of a researcher encountering the original materials in the SCRC Reading Room, with documents displayed as they are housed in each folder, and with description of the contents in the form of folder headings.

Individual, high-resolution images of each page will be permanently preserved in the Library's digital repository, and can be made available for publication or other research needs. Due to provisions of copyright laws, digitization efforts are currently focused on materials in the public domain, or those for which the University of Chicago holds copyright.

Collections with digitized content now available online include:

For those of you who are interested in the production details, the Large Scale Digitization Initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Special Collections Research, the Preservation Department, and the Digital Library Development Center. The initiative has been guided by definitions of, and requirements for, mass digitization provided by funding agencies such as the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. These guidelines stress expedited scanning workflows, without sacrifice of image quality, and with close attention to preservation concerns, and the use of existing descriptive metadata, such as that provided by a finding aid.

The collections are scanned by Preservation staff. The documents are scanned in color, in the order in which they are filed in each folder, and a .TIFF file is created for each page image. A naming scheme is used for the files which can be extended to other collections scanned as part of the initiative. The TIFF images from each folder in the physical collection are combined into PDFs for delivery. PDF was chosen as a delivery format because of its simplicity, stability and ubiquity. It is expected that the vast majority of users will have PDF viewers on their computers, and will be able to use them to enlarge, decrease, rotate, print, and otherwise easily view the images. Although the images are delivered as pdfs, the tifs of each page will be stored in the digital repository, and will be available if needed for other purposes.

Links to the digital files are added to the online finding aid by SCRC staff. The Encoded Archival Description (EAD) tags chosen allow links to be created at any level of description in the finding aid, from series, to folder, to item, and for multiple links to be attached to a particular description. DLDC staff updated the style sheets to allow display of the links in the finding aids database. DLDC is also hosting the digital files, which will be retained in and delivered from the digital repository.

The procedures developed for large scale digitization of archives and manuscript collections are simple and extensible. Future plans call for the delivery of digital audio files and, eventually, of born-digital content, and for full-text searching of digitized typescript documents, which can be made keyword searchable through optical character recognition (OCR).

Large Scale Digitization Team include: Eileen A. Ielmini, Kathleen Feeney, Daniel Meyer, Kathy Arthur, Karen Dirr, Charles Blair, and the student scanners in Preservation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Did you catch the FADGI?

A new alphabet soup for you FADGI - Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative is a great resource for the latest in digital guidelines. Check it out at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is an Image?

It has been almost six months since a group of visual image information professionals launched the Image Consulting Cooperative ( and inaugurated Imagin’ – a blog ( During this time I have frequently reflected about such issues as what is an image, how are images used, are images different in the digital rather than analog format, and why do we care? What’s so important about assisting others in the use and creation of images, visual information, and associated tools? Why is the work of the Image Consulting Cooperative important?

Images have been around for a very long time. We have all encountered Pliny the Elder’s tale from Naturalis Historia of the contest between the ancient painters Zeuxis and Parrhasius to determine which of the two was the greater artist. Zeuxis revealed his painting of grapes which were so realistic that the birds flew down to peck at the fruit. Zeuxis then asked Parrhasius to pull back the curtain to reveal his painting only to discover that the curtain was the painting. Where upon Zeuxis is reported to have said, ‘I have deceived the birds, but Parrhasius has deceived Zeuxis.’

The online Oxford English Dictionary (Draft revision, June 2010; accessed, September 7, 2010) provides us with eleven definitions and many variants of the word “image” including:

· An artificial imitation or representation of something, esp. of a person or the bust of a person

· The aspect, appearance, or form of someone or something; semblance, likeness.

· A visual representation or counterpart of an object or scene, formed through the interaction of rays of light with a mirror, lens, etc., usually by reflection or refraction.

· A thing or (now esp.) person in which the aspect, form, or character of another is reproduced; an exact likeness; a counterpart, copy.

· A mental representation of something (esp. a visible object) created not by direct perception but by memory or imagination; a mental picture or impression; an idea, conception.

· A representation of something to the mind by speech or writing; a vivid or graphic description.

· With of. A thing that stands for or is taken to stand for something else; a symbol, emblem.

· Computing. An exact copy of an entire disk or (less commonly) a file or set of files, usually made for the purposes of backing up data.

W. J. T. Mitchell in his article in the New Literary History, “What is an Image,” (Mitchell 1984, 503-537) constructs a family tree by depicting primary meanings of the word “images” as branches representing different conceptual types--graphic, optical, perceptual, mental, and verbal. Each branch is representative of the type of imagery that informs the discourse of an intellectual discipline. Traditionally, visual resources professionals have concentrated on aspects of graphic or optical images and imagery; they have been specifically involved with the visual surrogate—the photograph of the painting by Zeuxis of grapes. The patrons that we serve, on the other hand, are interested in the image itself—the painting by Zeuxis.

Of course, these typologies are both fluid and change over time. The image of the work becomes a work. The image is the work. Julie F. Codell’s new article, “Second Hand Images: On Art’s Surrogate Means and Media” published in the latest issue of Visual Resources (Codell 2010, 214-225) examines the role of reproductions in the experience and understanding of art. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently exhibiting, “The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture 1839 to Today” which illustratess how the photographic image of a sculpture is essential to understanding it and how the sculpture becomes the subject of the photograph. A photographic image may be critical as documentation; however, it does much, much more.

It is this fluidity of definition, function, and purpose particularly during our current period of rapid technological change from the traditional analog to digital formats that makes working with all aspects of images and imaging most compelling.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Metadata for Digital Content (MDC), Developing institution-wide policies and standards at the Library of Congress

Metadata for Digital Content (MDC), Developing institution-wide policies and standards at the Library of Congress
From the site
Metadata for Digital Content (MDC)
Developing institution-wide policies and standards at the Library of Congress

Over the years the Library of Congress' digital projects have generated many digital objects and these objects have been given various levels and types of descriptive metadata. The Library has assembled several use cases that require a more coordinated and standardized approach to the creation and management of this descriptive metadata. A few examples of use cases are:

* Geographic navigation of Library of Congress digital content
* Temporal navigation of Library of Congress digital content
* Exchange video and audio data with external services

Metadata of varying degrees of richness is necessary to support the use cases.

As part of this effort an institution-wide working group was established and is making the following available for use by any interested institutions:

* A master metadata element list with recommendations on best practices for populating the elements to provide more consistency of new metadata creation throughout the institution, support the Library of Congress metadata use cases, and point to areas where metadata remediation of current metadata might be beneficial.

Check it out

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Impressionism - Museums and some education resources

The de Young Museum in San Francisco is presenting two consecutive special exhibitions from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The first exhibition, Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, debuts at the de Young on May 22 and runs through September 6, 2010.

The Legion of Honor is presenting a special exhibition that provides context and heightens the understanding of Birth of Impressionism. Impressionist Paris: City of Light includes over 150 prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, and illustrated books from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and several private collectors. As a printmaker I found this exhibition to be deeply engaging.

While researching websites for this list I discover that the Philadelphia Museum is presenting Late Renoir through September 6, 2010 too.

Here are a selection of online resources with a focus on museums and education materials for teachers

French museums

Musee d’Orsay

Musee Marmottan Monet

Musee de l’Orangerie

Fondation Claude Monet/Giverny

US museums and educational resources

Art Institute of Chicago

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (ArtAccess)

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (Art Explorer)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Impressionism: Art and Modernity (online resource)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Revolution of Impressionism (online gallery)

National Gallery of Art, Washington

Picturing France (lesson plan)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Renoir Landscapes (teacher resource materials)

Phillips Collection

Luncheon of the Boating Party (teaching kit)

Barnes Foundation

Expansive Impressionist collection, limited images on website

de Young: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Impressionism: Painting Collected by European Museums

A resource packet for educators by The Hight Museum of Art, The Seattle Art Museum, and The Denver Art Museum

Monday, August 9, 2010

No More Outsourcing: Digitization Now

No More Outsourcing: Digitization Now Check out this blog for some interesting information, especially about how to create digital books from PDF files ( posted 7/29/10)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


For those looking to adopt the Acrobat file type pdf PDF as their Archival or Display file type Andrew Stawowczyk Long of the National Library of Australia has recently posted the following to Imaglib listserve.

"I wrote a free image to PDF batch converter. It's a simple application but does what's intended. Have a look at

Just a word of caution - I didn't have time to test it extensively but it seems to be working quite well."

Andrew Stawowczyk Long
Digital Preservation Standards
National Library of Australia

He graciously gave me permission to repost it here as he would welcome feedback, including any further development one might wish for.

The use of PDF as a preservation file type (Archival) is still abit controversial, but many including and some of the LOC's efforts are using it. It is great for Text work.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pre-Raphaelite websites

I have switched gears... I would rather spend my time exploring image websites than writing grants.

I was recently asked to research websites for Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The Birmingham Museum site is particularly rich, allowing viewers to create on-line studies based on the collections.

Here are some great resources for this topic:


Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery

2257 images, plus resource guides


399 images

Victoria and Albert

246 images

Manchester Art Gallery

9 works

National Museums Liverpool

Lady Lever Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House

17 works

Delaware Museum of Art

78 images


Pre-Raphaelite Society

William Morris Society

Rossetti Archive

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Wikipedia article

Victorian web

Friday, July 23, 2010

Creative Commons 101

Recently I pointed out to a faculty member who wanted to post her digital images where others could have open access to them that there was something called the Creative Commons. Then yesterday I saw this link to an article on ALA TechSource, July 20, by Cindi Trainor. It is a very useful, concise overview of CC licensing. It appears that there is a new type of CC license called CC:Zero (CC:0), which differs from public domain. "Works created and declared to have a CC:Zero license may be used by anyone, in any way, and do not even require attribution of the creator."

This type of licensing, along with CC's other categories of licensing, is an attractive way for those with personal collections of digital images to dissiminate them according to their wants and wims. This site offers a useful way to tell those with whom we are consulting about image licensing in general.