VRA 2012, Archival Collections Case Studies, 35mm Assessment & Digitization

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Presented by Claire Dienes at the Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association, April 18th - April 21st, 2012, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Session: Archival Collections Case Studies

The digitization of historic archival collections can present a daunting array of challenges. Often archives were collected with poor documentation and little information about the creators or contributors to the collection. The processing of these archival collections sometimes requires special subject area expertise due to the content or special staffing considerations due to the sheer size of the project. This session focuses on three cases in which archival collections are being processed. Each presenter will discuss the special challenges within their own institutions’ collection and the solutions they have developed in such areas as copyright, workflow, cataloging, and assembling expert teams.

MODERATOR: Heather Lowe, California State University San Bernardino

PRESENTERS:
• Trevor Alvord, James Madison University
“Delivering oral histories”
• Claire Dienes, Metropolitan Museum of Art
“A 35mm collection assessment & digitization initiative at The Metropolitan Museum of Art”
• Shalimar Fojas White, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
“The Artamonoff Business: Using Collections Research for Outreach and Strategic Communication"

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VRA 2012, Archival Collections Case Studies, 35mm Assessment & Digitization

  1. 1. Digital Media The Metropolitan Museum of ArtSpecial Exhibition Galleries Views 1970-2004: an assessment and preservation initiative Claire Dienes Digital Media Department The Metropolitan Museum of Art VRA Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 2012
  2. 2. View with people waiting in line to enter the special exhibition "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty"(May 4-August 7, 2011). Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  3. 3. View of the special exhibition: "Liberty or Death" (opened October 15, 1976). Photographed in1976-1977. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  4. 4. View of the special exhibition: "Plant Forms in Ornament" (March 15-April 20, 1919). Photographedon March 21, 1919. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  5. 5. Project Scope and Goals• To digitize a collection of original color 35mm photography documenting Met special exhibition gallery views 1970-2004• To fully catalogue the resulting digital collection• To make digital collection available for educational purposes through the ARTstor Digital Library and other on-line platforms, including the Museum’s website• To preserve, via proper housing and storage, the original film collection
  6. 6. Project ResponsibilitiesMET•Selection of slides • establish specific selection criteria and selection of physical slides•Physical preservation of slides in preparation for scanning • clean, re-house and re-label film•Inventorying and packaging of slides for scanning • prepare slides and accompanying spreadsheet for scanner to include assignment of digital image file name to each slide•Cataloguing • apply descriptive, source and rights metadata to all digital assets and identify metadata to deliver to ARTstor•Archiving of analog collection • ensure proper storage of slides in archival binders
  7. 7. Project ResponsibilitiesThird-party, off-site•Digitization • Digitize slides in both jpeg and tiff formats and deliver on hard drive • Minimum resolution specifications for tiffs: 4,000 pixels, 48-bit RGB generating approximately 50-60 MB files•Quality control • Crop and tonally adjust each image as necessary
  8. 8. Project Parameters• Limited year span (representing a fraction of available material)• Limited to 5,000 views (representing a fraction of available material)• Representation across all 17 curatorial departments in the Museum• Equal representation across 3+ decades of 1970-2004• Exclude all gallery views that already existed in digital format
  9. 9. Selection CriteriaSOURCE OF PHOTOGRAPHY•Confirmed Met photography or photography where Museum canclaim copyright
  10. 10. Selection CriteriaEXHIBITION TITLES•Exhibitions whose titles include the name of a living or recentlydeceased artist, or artists whose estates are particularly active, orin which the name of an artist still under copyright, were excluded•Exhibitions whose titles include the names of private collections orcollectors (unless collection would later become part of the Metscollection or the collector was long deceased) were excluded.•Exhibitions that are “known” to have copyright issues (PicturesGeneration) were excluded
  11. 11. Selection CriteriaINDIVIDUAL VIEWS•Definition of gallery view • Must show the space in which the objects are installed • No close-ups/case-shots • Must contain two or more objects
  12. 12. View of the special exhibition: "Samuel Colt Presents: Three Pistols for Czar Nicholas" (opened September 11, 1979). Photographed in 1979. Image © The Metropolitan MuseumView of the special exhibition: "European Helmets, 1450-1650: Treasures of Artfrom the Reserve Collection" (January 25, 2000-December 30, 2001).Photographed in 2001. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  13. 13. Selection CriteriaINDIVIDUAL VIEWS•Definition of gallery view • Must show the space in which the objects are installed • Must contain two or more objects • No close-ups/case-shots•Duplicate/near duplicate views were excluded•Shots with recognizable people were excluded
  14. 14. Metadata
  15. 15. Metadata
  16. 16. Metadata
  17. 17. Project Timeline Sep 10 Oct 10 Nov 10 Dec 10 Jan 11 Feb 11 Mar 11 Apr 11Batch cleaned/ pre- jpegs slides/tifs catalog’ing slides1 inventoried catalog- returned to returned due refiled slides due ing Met to Met (internal (internal to scanner begins deadline) deadline)Batch cleaned/ pre- jpegs slides/tifs catalog’ing slides2 inventoried catalog- returned to returned due refiled slides due ing Met to Met (internal (internal to scanner begins deadline) deadline)Batch cleaned/ pre- jpegs slides/tifs3 inventoried catalog- returned returned slides due ing to Met to Met to scanner beginsBatch cleaned/ pre-4 inventoried catalog- slides due ing to scanner begins →etc.
  18. 18. Project Timeline Dec 11 Jan 12 Feb 12 Mar 12 Apr 12 May 12 Jun 12 Jul 12Batch slides/tifs catalog’ing slides ALL7 returned due refiled to Met (internal (internal META deadline) deadline) DATA DUEBatch pre- jpegs slides/tifs catalog’ing slides8 catalog- returned returned due refiled ing begins to Met to Met (internal (internal deadline) deadline)Batch cleaned/ pre- jpegs slides/tifs catalog’ing slides9 inventoried catalog- returned returned due refiled slides due ing to Met to Met (internal (internal to scanner begins deadline) deadline)Batch cleaned/ pre- jpegs slides/tifs catalog’10 inventoried catalog- returned returned ing due slides due ing to Met to Met (internal to scanner begins deadline
  19. 19. View of the special exhibition: "Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries" (October 10, 1990-January 13,1991) as installed in the Great Hall. Photographed in 1990. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  20. 20. View of the special exhibition: "Théâtre de la Mode" (December 8, 1990-April 14, 1991. Photographed in1991. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  21. 21. View of the special exhibition: "The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art" (February 26-June 12,1983). Photographed in 1983. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  22. 22. View of the special exhibition: "In Quest of Comfort: the Easy Chair in America" (November 24, 1971-January 30, 1972). Photographed in 1971. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  23. 23. Digital Media The Metropolitan Museum of ArtSpecial Exhibition Galleries Views 1970-2004: an assessment and preservation initiative Claire Dienes Digital Media Department The Metropolitan Museum of Art VRA Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 2012

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