Thursday, December 15, 2011

Melissa Terras' Blog: Digitisation Studio Setup

Thanks to Simon Tanner and Melissa Terras for this succinct but complete description of a digital studio set up. I think you will find it very helpful.

Friday, October 21, 2011

NARAtions » National Archives Digitization Tools Now on GitHub

Just want to alert you to a great blog from the National Archives.  This post in particular discusses some digitisation tool that they are developing and making available. Check it out: NARAtions » National Archives Digitization Tools Now on GitHub

Monday, October 10, 2011

Want to introduce a great blog and source of information.

I will let them describe their Blog

HangingTogether is a place where some of the staff atOCLC Research, particularly those of us who support the OCLC Research Library Partnership, can talk about the intersections we see happening between these different types of institutions. We visit partners, go to conferences, and take note of the interesting things we see along the way. Stop in, stay awhile, and hang out.

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. Benjamin Franklin

Check it out

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saving the Smithsonian’s Web

Saving the Smithsonian’s Web

Detailed description of how the Smithsonian is archiving its web material, especially interesting in what they are preserving.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Signal: Digital Preservation

The Signal: Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress has announced a cool new open-source web application called Recollection that allows easy creation of new interfaces for looking at cultural heritage collections in new and exciting ways. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Managing that Metadata

Many have talked about embedding data in the digital file for some time. TIFF actually stands for Tagged Image File Format. Many pieces of hardware already use that capability to embed data in the file for other hardware to use to interpret the file's visual data. Now people can also do so, with almost as much ease.  Two groups continue to work on this the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) and the VRA (Visual Reource Association).

The VRA's embedded Metadata Working Group has created a VRA metadata panel for Adobe's products, which uses the VRA core metadata structure, a similar though more complex than Dublin Core structure.

The IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group has issued a Manifesto encouraging this effort in May 2011.

Photographers, film makers, videographers, illustrators, publishers, advertisers, designers, art directors, picture editors, librarians and curators all share the same problem: struggling to track rapidly expanding collections of digital media assets such as photos and video/film clips.

With that in mind we propose five guiding principles as our "Embedded Metadata Manifesto":
    1.    Metadata is essential to describe, identify and track digital media and should be applied to all media items which are exchanged as files or by other means such as data streams.
    2.    Media file formats should provide the means to embed metadata in ways that can be read and handled by different software systems.
    3.    Metadata fields, their semantics (including labels on the user interface) and values, should not be changed across metadata formats.
    4.    Copyright management information metadata must never be removed from the files.
    5.    Other metadata should only be removed from files by agreement with their copyright holders.

Check out these two sites to learn more.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Image Metadata announcements

Image Metadata Handbook
Brand new: the CEPIC/IPTC Image Metadata Handbook with comprehensive
guidelines for metadata management.


Also see

Embedded Metadata Manifesto (2011)

How metadata should be embedded and preserved in digital media files
The Manifesto was issued by the IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group in May

Photographers, film makers, videographers, illustrators, publishers,
advertisers, designers, art directors, picture editors, librarians and
curators all share the same problem: struggling to track rapidly expanding
collections of digital media assets such as photos and video/film clips.

More at

Thanks to
Alan Newman
National Gallery of Art
for this information

Monday, April 25, 2011

A DAM great list of Sources

The Museum Computer Network has been having an interesting discussion on Digital Asset Management systems. Among the information posted was some from, Leala Abbott, who has a blog on just this topic and is permitting me to post her suggested list of "great resources" here:

If you like those check out Leala at her blog

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Digital Preservation Tools

A new free and open source package of digital preservation tools is being developed. It is called Archivematica and is a product of many collaborators.  It brings together several digital preservation tools that would normally be used separately such as JHOVE and DROID and puts them into a workflow system.  
Their description of their process is in itself interesting and while it is still in beta form, it is worth the wander to go and peruse what they say and plan for:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Copyright , the Digital Library, and More

On March 22, 2011, Google’s ambitious plan to create a universal digital library consisting of every book ever published was derailed when Judge Denny Chin of the US Second District Court in Manhattan rejected the Amended Settlement Agreement which had been hammered out with groups representing authors and publishers. This project which is widely supported within Google is integral to their corporate mission that includes a charge to organize all of the world’s information. Judge Chin citing antitrust, copyright, and other concerns ruled that the settlement was too broad and essentially granted Google a monopoly.

On March 23, 2011, Robert Darnton published an opinion article in the New York Times calling for “a Digital Library Better Than Google’s”—a noncommercial digital public library. Subsequently, on April 3, 2011, the New York Times published an article that discusses the ruling, the ruling’s implications for creating a digital public library, and plans achieving that goal. Whether the Google project will eventually succeed or whether it will be superseded by a noncommercial digital public library such as the proposed Digital Public Library of America, or whether another solution will emerge remains to be seen.

This recent development reminds me of the ongoing copyright and ownership issues pertaining to digital images. These thorny issues swirl around the right to publish and to use digital images in untold ways including in education and as the basis for the creation of new works. We are fortunate to have access to many useful and reputable sites to help navigate these concerns. A particularly useful and interesting site which includes historical as well as current links has been newly updated by Christine L. Sundt. You might want to check it out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A New Image Site - Ookaboo

Recently I was contacted  by a Paul Houle about some broken links on the site which I maintain. I guess I might as well announce here that that site is no longer being maintained and will be closed completely this summer. I am focusing my energies on this blog and the site of the ICCoop.. However, I am grateful to Paul for his reminder and would like to pass on the resource which he was attempting to post on that site. Ookaboo

His group  Ontology2, has created the Ookaboo website, which contains digital images that they claim  are either in the public domain and or under Creative Commons licensing terms. It appears to be a collection of harvested images from the web, in particular Wikimedia, where people place images that they wish to share with the world, so the free access is probably correct. 
The interesting part to me, and I think to many of you,  is how they are indexing the images , which is by means of the semantic web. 
Here is their description of what that means.
Images on Ookaboo are indexed by terms from the semantic web, the web of linked data. Although you're free to find images through the human interface, automated systems can quickly find and use images through the semantic API.
Ookaboo has two goals: (i) to dramatically improve the state of the art in image search for both humans and machines, and (ii) to construct a knowledge base about the world that people live in that can be used to help information systems better understand us.
Semantic Web, Linked Data
In the semantic web, we replace the imprecise words that we use everyday with precise terms defined by URLs. This is linked data because it creates a universal shared vocabulary.
For an example, in conventional image search, a person might use the word "jaguar" to search for
    •    the animal
    •    the automobile brand
    •    the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL team)
    •    the game console from Atari
    •    ... and nearly 30 other things that are listed in Wikipedia.
Note in the cases above, there are pages in Wikipedia about each of the topics above: it's reasonable, therefore, that we could use these URLs as a shared vocabulary for referring to these things. However, we get some benefits when we use URLs that are linked to machine-readable pages, such as, or
Pages on Ookaboo are marked up with RDFa, a standard that lets semantic web tools extract machine readable information from the same pages that people view.
Named entities
Ookaboo is oriented around named entities, particularly 'concrete' things such as places, people and creative works. With current technology, it's more practical to create a taxonomy of things like "Manhattan", "Isaac Asimov" and "The Catcher In the Rye" than it is to tackle topics like "eating", "digestion" and "love". We believe that a comprehensive exploration of named entities will open pathways to an understanding of other terms, and hope to extend Ookaboo's capabilities as technology advances.
The above information is from their About us page, which I highly recommend you check out.

Oh and yes their images are pretty good too, especially for those interested in buildings. and other "concrete" things.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ends and the Beginnings

The passing of Kodachrome film (1935-2011) definitively marks the end of an era. The news late in December, 2010, that Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons Kansas would soon process the final 35mm roll of Kodak’s Kodachrome film was both expected and poignant. Kodachrome was for many years the film of choice for professionals and amateurs alike; the collections of countless academic slide libraries were filled with Kodachrome slides acquired from professional image vendors and amateur photographers including institutional faculty, students, and alumni. Generations of college students were first exposed to major works of art and architecture when looking at Kodachrome slides projected in their Art History classes.

The first academic lantern slide collections in the United States date from the 1880’s. Seventy years later by the 1950’s, the newer 35mm film format (including Kodak’s Kodachrome) was being quickly adopted by younger faculty members while the older generation mourned the loss of the larger format. For almost fifty years technology changed quite slowly for academic image collections. Then in 2004 two significant events occurred: 1) the Andrew Mellon Foundation announced that the ARTstor image database was available for licensing by nonprofit institutions and 2) Kodak discontinued the manufacturing of its 35mm carousel projectors and carousels. As a consequence American academics—again, particularly the younger faculty—realized the urgent need to switch from the use of analog, film based slides to digital images in their teaching. Of course, slide libraries are themselves now an endangered species. Many have been shuttered or eliminated; most are no longer actively used or maintained. Licensed content along with locally produced and maintained institutional digital image repositories have taken their place; Internet resources including Flickr, Wikipedia, and Google Images as well as personally scanned or digitally photographed images are often the resource of choice for imagery used in the humanities. Digital images are downloaded and stored on computers and iPods; they are incorporated into PowerPoint presentations; they are posted on course management sites such as BlackBoard; they can be manipulated and shared at will.

Shortly after the news about the demise of Kodachrome film, came Google’s announcement about their newest foray into the world of images. The Art Project ( is a collaborative effort between Google and a number of prestigious art museums to make high resolution digital images of important and popular works of art globally available using broad array of Google technologies. The ability to zoom into and out of the images, to walk through the galleries where they are housed, to hear or read a description of each work, to be transported to the birth location of the artist, and to share them with friends and colleagues is unprecedented. Information about this project is even available via YouTube ( making it yet easier to access and use this technology. While this project currently only contains 1,000 of the most iconic images from seventeen museums, it will certainly quickly grow in all dimensions.

So, out with the old and in with the new. Kodachrome film lasted forty six years. Will ARTstor or the Google Art Project be viable for as long? What is the next innovation in store for this generation of academics, when will it come, and what are the implications?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

California Grant Opportunites

We want to make California special librarians aware of a competitive grant opportunity for all California libraries with special collections, including public, academic and ones in museums. It is named the Local History Digital Resources Project (LHDRP) and makes it easy to get a library’s cultural heritage materials online.

If your library is awarded this LSTA grant, it will receive funding to scan 200 items, as well as free training on copyright, metadata, and CONTENTdm. Your images will have great visibility when made freely available on the Online Archive of California and Calisphere. And your community will value the service they provide in collecting and preserving its history!

Share your collections and build support with LHDRP

The LHDRP application process is short and painless. Just tell us what you want to digitize and its relevance to California history.

The application materials for LHDRP 2011-12 is available on the CSL LSTA application page:

The due date is April 1st

You may find a flyer here , which we hope you will share with all who might be interested.

Thank you for your time and assistance in promoting this grant.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Embedded Metadata News

Fresh from the Visual Resource Association's (VRA) email list is this post from Greg Reser, which he has given me permission to repost here. Anyone with a Flickr account should check it out.

Embedded Metadata News

Like all of you, I spent my Holiday break reading about metadata, especially embedded metadata.  One blog post I found was from a Flickr developer in response to a complaint the social media companies "own" and "lock-in" their user's content.  The developer responded by saying that Flickr allows full access to all of the content users upload and create, including Descriptions and Tags, .  This is good news because it means that all that work you did tagging your photos is not limited to your Flickr page, you can download it to your computer or share it with other social media sites.  You enter the data once and then reuse it over and over.

Unfortunately, this data access comes via the Flickr API, meaning you have to be a programmer to get at it.  The good news is that some developers have created free or low cost applications to backup your Flickr content.  Best of all, they all have the cute missing "e" in their name.  For those of you have been looking for a way to get your metadata out of Flickr, you might try one of these apps.  The only limit I have found is that these apps do not export any custom metadata that was originally uploaded to Flickr.  So, if used a custom tool like the VRA Photoshop panel to add VRA metadata, it won't be downloaded.  It is possible to do this, just not with these apps.

Flickr Edit (Windows) - FREE (upload/download photos and EXIF and IPTC metadata metadata)

Downloadr (Windows) - FREE (download photos and metadata EXIF and IPTC metadata)

Bulkr (Windows, Mac) - FREE for basic (download photos), $24.95 for pro (download photos and metadata EXIF and IPTC metadata.  Also exports .txt file of metadata!)

You can find lots of other useful Flickr apps on the Flickr App Garden -

Besides retrieving metadata for your own photos, this ability could also be put to use for collecting images and metadata from groups.  For instance, you could have faculty and students upload and tag their own photos in Flickr, say of field work they did documenting architecture, and then you could download them and parse out the metadata into your institutional database.

Greg Reser

Arts Library
University of California, San Diego