VRA 2013 Digitizing Originals, Rieger


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Presented by Tom Rieger at the Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association, April 3rd - April 6th, 2013, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Session #7: Digitizing Originals – From Best Practice to Archival Image
ORGANIZER / MODERATOR: Beth Wodnick, Princeton University
David Dwiggins, Historic New England
Chris Edwards, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Tom Rieger, Northeast Document Conservation Center
Endorsed by the Education Committee

Everyone wants a digital image! Researchers expect to have a plethora of information at their fingertips and from anywhere with internet access. The need for digital imaging in collections has risen exponentially and we, as visual resource professionals, need to embrace the idea that imaging is no longer limited to slide scanning and copy stand photography. Many researchers now expect to have digital images of rare books, special collections, historic photographs and graphic materials, to mention a few, available to them quickly and easily. VR professionals are well versed in the ways of digitizing slide collections, but handling and photographing sometimes challenging original material may be a new frontier.

This session will discuss best practices for photographing original material and creating archival images. Presenters will also provide examples of established workflows for gathering, photographing, cataloging and archiving these materials.

Tom Rieger , Director of Imaging Services at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in Andover, Massachusetts, will provide an overview of the best practices for the care and handling of original materials and the best practices for digital imaging, as defined in the FADGI guidelines. The FADGI guidelines were developed with major imaging centers in mind, but they can be interpreted for use in smaller imaging centers and local initiatives. This discussion will address these differences. The range of medias included in the discussion will include all forms of visual media, from rare books through modern photographic media. An overview of the workflow and digital imaging process at NEDCC will also be presented.

David Dwiggins, Systems Librarian/Archivist at Historic New England, will discuss the evolution of the organization's digitization strategy. As part of its Collections Access Project, the Historic New England has placed images of more than 50,000 items from its collection online since 2010. Although original plans called for outsourcing almost all digitization, investments in equipment and training allowed the organization to produce archival quality, high-resolution images to supply its website, publication programs, and external users. The new direction has made the organization less dependent on grant funding for maintaining digitization activities, and has allowed it to develop internal expertise that reduces costs and increases efficiency. Dwiggins will discuss the challe

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  • The physical protection of the materials to be imaged is by far the most important factor to be considered in a best practices analysis. Far too often entire collections have been lost because this factor has not been given proper consideration. Locating imaging studios in basement areas is common practice, but basements can and do flood, caused either by a water line break or by flooding from natural causes. Protection from the potential of fire should be considered as well. Potentially flammable materials such as nitrate films should be stored in proper fireproof enclosures, and proper fire suppression systems should be in place.
  • An example of collections security done right.NEDCC is on the fourth floor at 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, Massachusetts. The facility is protected by a dry sprinkler system, flammable materials are stored in fireproof enclosures and we have a secure vault for storage of client materials. In addition, a full time registrar monitors the movements of client materials throughout the facility.
  • Second most important on the best practices list is environmental control. Temperature and humidity should be controlled within defined limits, and actively monitored.
  • A view into the Paper Conservation Laboratory.Note that the conservation laboratories and Imaging are within the same security zone and all are temperature and humidity controlled and monitored with PEM2 Preservation Environment Monitors. Note also the north light prized by artists and conservators. Imaging labs, however, need controlled lighting only possible with special high CRI (color rendering index) lighting.
  • Best practices for imaging are only now being defined, based on the experiences of imaging professionals over the past 25 years. While these best practices are well intentioned, they are not universally agreed on and will be evolving for many years to come.
  • The FADGI protocols (Federal Agencies Digital Imaging Guidelines) are the product of ten years collaborative work among leading digital imaging practitioners in the U.S. Until recently, FADGI was the only published imaging protocol.Metamorphoze 1.0 was just published in January of 2013, and is in many ways a refinement of FADGI, but relies on imaging science not yet fully implemented.Both scanners and cameras have their place in cultural heritage imaging, but both lave limitations. Careful system design and testing are needed to insure the right capture devices are used for the right purposes. For example, cameras are appropriate for rare document imaging, but inappropriate for the capture of most film based images. FADGI and Metamorphoze do not address the appropriate use of specific technologies, leaving that to the professionals in this rapidly evolving field.A calibrated monitor is one where a measuring device is used to create an ICC profile of the color of the monitor and the computer software used that profile to display the best possible color on that monitor.A reference monitor is certified to display the color of various ICC color spaces accurately. There can be a huge difference between the two. Cultural heritage imaging should use reference monitors for all color critical viewing.FADGI and Metamorphoze can only provide guidance. It is up to the professional imaging staff to insure the guidelines are achievable. Imatest and ISA Golden Thread are tools that provide the data needed to insure we are capturing professional quality images. Other tools are available, and organizations with the knowledge and capability can certainly create their own test procedures.
  • A look at the X-Y imaging table at NEDCC.
  • At NEDCC, the post processing of imaging is assigned the same task value as the capture of the image itself.
  • It is in post that we confirm the compliance with our imaging specifications.Was the imaging done to the appropriate resolution?Are the files in the correct color space?Are the files the correct bit depth?Are they in the right file format?It is in post that the raw files are cropped as required, derivatives created, and the client deliverables are assembled.
  • Perhaps the most important debate currently in digital imaging is archiving. Do it right, the images can last forever.Do it wrong, they can be gone in seconds.
  • Current technology does not provide a good archive solution.The LOCKSS solution is no solution. It relies on the ability to distribute huge volumes of data to multiple digital repositories and maintain these massive volumes of data forever. Economically, this will eventually collapse. Cloud archiving is the new player, but the history of data loss in the cloud is frightening. JVC has archival grade DVD media, and may soon have archival blue-ray media available in the U.S. There are substantial issues with data capacity per disk with these medias, and there is resistance to their use based on failures with earlier generation CD, DVD, and blue-ray media from a variety of manufacturers. However, non magnetic media has a significant cost advantage over magnetic media which may require more frequent data migration.The current best practice for most applications is the archiving of data to magnetic tape, specifically the LTO specification, which is currently at LTO5. The tape in inexpensive, has substantial capacity, and has a reasonable life if stored properly and with redundant copies.An on-the-horizon potential is a system being developed by Group 47 DOTS, which is non-magnetic and visually readable on metal tape media. Media obsolescence is a huge issue. Most media in common use a decade go can no longer be read by current systems, and old systems are failing or are gone completely. We can assume the rate of obsolescence will only increase going forward as technology improves.
  • VRA 2013 Digitizing Originals, Rieger

    1. 1. Best Practices forCultural Heritage ImagingTom RiegerDirector, Imaging ServicesVRA Annual Conference 2013
    2. 2. BEST PRACTICES• Security
    3. 3. BEST PRACTICES• Security• Environment
    4. 4. BEST PRACTICES• Security• Environment• Imaging
    5. 5. Imaging• FADGI Protocols• Metamorphoze• Cameras vs Scanners• Calibrated vs Reference Monitors• Certification of Compliance– ISA Golden Thread– Imatest– Your Own
    6. 6. BEST PRACTICES• Security• Environment• Imaging• Post Processing
    7. 7. Post Processing• Compliance with imaging specifications• Accuracy• Content
    8. 8. BEST PRACTICES• Security• Environment• Imaging• Post Processing• Archiving
    9. 9. Archiving• LOCKSS• Cloud Archiving• Media Obsolescence• Migration