Image digitisation in ICARUS


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This presentation gives a short overview on the challenges that ICARUS met with during its over 10 years of experience with digitization of historical material. It shows the tools and objects of its projects. The talk was held at EVA 2014 in Firenze by Daniel Jeller on 09th May 2014.

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Image digitisation in ICARUS

  1. 1. Image digitization in ICARUS
  2. 2. Overview What is ICARUS? What do we digitize? What tools do we use? What challenges do we face?
  3. 3. What is ICARUS?
  4. 4. ICARUS … … is a community of over 130 institutions in 26 European countries … is a way for cultural heritage institutions to face the challenges of the Digital Age together … helps with designing and implementing cross-border projects … provides its members with know how and tools to digitize their documents … operates several platforms that make digitized historical material available online … Membership and participation is free
  5. 5. Digitization in ICARUS
  6. 6. Monasterium It is an online database for medieval and early modern charters It started in the year 2002 as a regional project and grew since then It combines digital images with metadata It makes 550.000 documents with 700.000 images from 130 archives accessible over the internet It uses current web-technologies to create a collaborative editing / research environment
  7. 7. Focus: charters  Medieval and early modern documents  Legal documents that record transactions / grants of rights  An main source for historical research  Difficult to use due to their nature  One of the earliest objects for digitization
  8. 8. Main characteristics Objects of various sizes and physical conditions Single sheet documents Only accessible in situ Fragile and very valuable objects Local digitization necessary Very limited funds Acceptable compromise between speed and quality
  9. 9. Matricula Parish registers from Austria, Germany and Poland Over 4 Million digitized pages Started in 2009 Digitization outsourced
  10. 10. Parish registers  Record births, marriages and deaths in a parish  Start to appear in the 16th century  Still in use today  Often still in possession of the origin parish  Very important for historic and genealogic research
  11. 11. Main characteristics Rather uniform size and physical appearance Varying physical condition Books Most of the time no special conservation demands Can be transported
  12. 12. Manuscripts various small projects / contributions
  13. 13. Main characteristics High restrictions for digitization Books of various sizes but still similar Tightly bound, so limited opening angle No transport possible Most of the time small projects
  14. 14. Equipment
  15. 15. Book scanner + Pro: Easy to use, fixed resolution (400DPI), high speed - Con: Fixed lighting, limited size and flexibility
  16. 16. Limit: size
  17. 17. Limit: inflexible lighting Uneven surfaces can cause problems
  18. 18. Glass plate as a tool
  19. 19. DSLR with lighting and tripod + Pro: Flexible use, cheap price, highly transportable - Con: Resolution depending on size, know-how required
  20. 20. Limit: relative resolution 9 MP (20 x 20 mm) 23 MP (20 x 20 mm)
  21. 21. So: no one size fits all Even a cheap camera might already give acceptable results
  22. 22. Book stand for DSLR + Pro: Combines advantages of scanner and camera - Con: Combines disadvantages of scanner and camera
  23. 23. Semi automatic scanner + Pro: High speed, good quality - Con: Only usable for specific objects, quality management
  24. 24. Limit: outsourcing / quality control
  25. 25. Challenges to overcome
  26. 26. Challenge: dimensions Sizes mostly between DIN A7 (70 x 105 mm) and A1 (594 × 841 mm)
  27. 27. Challenge: layout Text on top and under the plica
  28. 28. Challenge: Thickness / binding Difficult to open, some parts not visible
  29. 29. Challenge: state of preservation Material damage Acidic colors
  30. 30. Challenge: Contrast The color matters
  31. 31. Conclusion: plan ahead before you digitize
  32. 32. Any questions?