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Subject: Large color image preservation grant

Large color image preservation grant

From: Andrew Hart <ash12>
Date: Monday, June 20, 1994
Large-Size Color Images:  Addressing Issues of Preservation and Access

Columbia University Libraries has received a grant from the Commission
on Preservation and Access to investigate available methods for
preserving oversize illustrations associated with printed text.   Using
digital and photographic services from several vendors, Columbia will
identify the most effective methods currently available as well as the
potential for contracting services for more comprehensive preservation

Five maps from the _New York State Museum Bulletin_, 1905 and 1906
issues, have been selected as a sample set of images.  This set has been
selected as a good example of many difficulties in preserving text and
image combinations.  The New York State Library has provided duplicates
from their extensive collection for use in this project.  Each map is a
color image, on brittle paper, larger than the associated text format
and folded to fit in a pocket.  The nature of maps demands a high
resolution to capture fine detail, but also the ability to look at broad
areas easily.  While true color is not necessarily an issue, the very
subtle gradations of color are essential to the meaning of the map.  By
addressing these issues, the project will cover the key challenges for
capture and display of illustrations for many fields, particularly those
with informational rather than aesthetic content.

Traditional microfilm for text and Ilfochrome microfiche for color
images are regarded as sound preservation media.  However the two
formats are not easily used in tandem, sacrificing original context.
This project will explore the addition of digital formats to facilitate
greater access in the future through hypertext links, indexing, and
network servers. Digital files will be produced by scanning the original
maps with a flatbed scanner and a digital camera, scanning from
full-frame Ilfochrome color microfiche produced in a previous project
(also sponsored by the Commission), and by scanning from 4x5 E-6
transparencies produced as an intermediate format by Columbia's
reprography lab.  Files will be stored on digital tape and optical disk
using a variety of compression and indexing methods.  Display will
include computer monitors of varying resolutions and outputs to large
format color printers.

The product from each vendor and each process will be compared and
evaluated in several ways.  Columbia's project staff include experts
from the Preservation Division, the Geology Library, and Academic
Information Systems.  This panel will critically review the technical
feasibility of each process and the acceptability of surrogate images
for various user groups. Scanned images will also be available for
external review using the World Wide Web and image access software such
as Mosaic.  A demonstration at the annual meeting of the Geological
Society of America will provide an opportunity for examination by users
who do not have network access.

Columbia plans to use the methodology yielded by this project as the
basis for preserving a large geoscience collection, including
deteriorating material from the U.S. Geological Survey.  This
methodology will also be generalizable to other disciplines with text
and image combinations in unusual and irregular sizes.  The results of
the project will be documented and widely distributed.

Columbia would be interested in hearing from anyone else who is
experimenting with digitization of large color images.  Questions about
this project are also welcome.  Please send email to Janet Gertz at
gertz [at] columbia__edu.

                   Conservation DistList Instance 8:3
                  Distributed: Tuesday, June 21, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-3-011
Received on Monday, 20 June, 1994

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