Images: Digitization & Preservation of Special Collections

Virtual Conference

About This Virtual Conference

This virtual conference will focus on a variety of practical concerns surrounding digitization efforts and long-term preservation of images in the digital environment. It will spotlight such initiatives as the International Image Interoperability Framework and similar initiatives in the on-going digitization of special collections (such as maps, manuscripts, etc.) for purposes of scholarship. Are we achieving the goals established 20 years ago? What has been established by the community as appropriate guidelines and/or the best practices for these activities? In addition to images, new digital output (three-dimensional renderings, virtual exhibits, etc.) are becoming more commonplace. Is the institutional repository the right place to house such scholarship or is there a new space needed for such special collections? 

Event Sessions

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction


11:10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Opening Talk: Establishing the Landscape


Edward M. Corrado

Associate University Librarian
Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School

Many Libraries, Archives, and Museums have begun or are planning digitization and digital preservation initiatives. This presentation will help establish the landscape by introducing the topics of digitization and digital preservation. Various ways that digitization and longterm digital preservation are complementary to each other and how they differ will be discussed.

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. IIIF: A Revolutionary Framework for Digital Images on the Web


Tom Cramer

Chief Technology Strategist
Stanford University Libraries

IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework, is a revolutionary approach for delivering digital images. It defines a small set of APIs (application programming interfaces) for presenting and manipulating image-based resources--such as books, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, musical scores and visual resources—via standard Web technologies. It dramatically reduces the friction of delivering images, and introduces radical new capabilities for viewing, using and interacting with images on the Web. Launched in 2011, IIIF was born out of and is backed by some of the world’s leading research and cultural heritage institutions, and now comprises hundreds of adopters worldwide, scores of compatible software systems, and hundreds of millions of interoperable images. This presentation will introduce IIIF, and demonstrate some of the ways libraries, archives and museums are leveraging it for delivering their digital resources.

12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. A look forward and a look back at digitization in Libraries, Archives, and Museums


Digitization of 2D content is nothing new at this point in time, but did our best practices developed decades ago do what we intended them to do? What’s next on the horizon for the digitization of non-traditional materials like those found in museums and smaller scientific collections? Do we have preservation standards outlined for 3D modelling and other new imagery techniques such as focal stacking, image tiling, RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imagery), and related techniques such as photogrammetry? How do we preserve an online virtual reality exhibition for the future and should we? More importantly, are the specialists in those disciplines thinking about preservation the same way libraries and archives have and if not, how do we begin to have those conversations?

12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Break for Lunch

1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Future-Proofing: Building Flexibility into Your Digitization Space


The age-old advice for building a digitization center is very focused on scanners. While they do have a place in many centers and workflows, they are burdened by being very inflexible. Digitization is so much more than scanners. I propose building flexibility into your workflow via items such as DSLR cameras, Raspberry Pi computers, copy stands, PVC pipe, creativity, and much more to build centers that can be as unique as the projects that cross your desk. While specific setups (and shopping lists) will be discussed, it is also about the questions that need to be asked to determine what you need. Is it a public or staff-only space? 2d or 3d? What type of materials and how large? How big is your space? What do you already have that can be repurposed? This practical talk will get you started towards building the perfect digitization center for you know while providing flexibility for the future.

2:15 - 2:45 What Comes After: Description, Access, and Long-Term Care of Digital Collections


A successful digitization project is not just about creating beautiful images, but also about making certain that those same images are accessible. When planning a digitization project, institutions must be sure to include adequate resources for description and long-term preservation. This presentation will draw upon Carnegie Mellon’s twenty-year experience building digital collections, and the unexpected challenges faced while managing and maintaining collections for long-term preservation. Topics discussed in this presentation will include options for metadata capture and creation, low-cost access tools, and a variety of preservation choices.

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Development of a Revolutionary Scanning Device


Libraries and archives around the world are faced with increasing pressure to digitize their special collections materials for preservation and online access. For most institutions, a major challenge to digital conversion is the amount of time required to scan large collections of often-fragile cultural heritage materials. In an effort to alleviate this problem, the Lee Library at Brigham Young University teamed up with a student Capstone team from the Ira Fulton College of Engineering. The result was a working prototype of a revolutionary scanning device designed to significantly increase throughput on scanning of many types of cultural heritage materials, including unbound manuscripts, photographs and negatives. This new scanning device uses digital backs, web cams, lasers, a giant mousepad, and spinning parts to produce FADGI 4-star compliant images at speeds similar to the conveyor belt scanning system famously in use by the Smithsonian Institution. However, this innovative system has the advantages of a smaller footprint, lower cost, the ability to scan transparent media, and can be operated by one person. Testing indicates that a variety of document types can be safely scanned at speeds eight to ten times faster than currently achieved with traditional flatbed scanners. Patents on the design are pending and the Lee Library is currently seeking industry partners to work on further development and distribution of this technology to libraries and archives everywhere.

3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. Digital Imaging and Preservation for Special Collections at the University of Oklahoma Libraries


Barbara Laufersweiler

Coordinator, Digitization Lab and Project Manager, Knowledge Services
The University of Oklahoma Libraries

Over a period of three years the University of Oklahoma Libraries brought a new digitization facility for special collections materials to full working capacity while providing substantial digitization support for a major exhibition. The more recent focus is building capacity for metadata work, digital preservation, and online access. Whether it is digital photography, metadata guidebooks, or file packaging, the key to this successful new digitization and preservation capability has been to learn, communicate, and improve quickly and iteratively.

3:50 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. Integrating Images from the History of Medicine into NLM Digital Collections


Jennifer Diffin

Head, Library Technology Services Section
National Library of Medicine (NLM)

In this case study, the National Library of Medicine will discuss its efforts to integrate its Images from the History of Medicine database into its main online portal, NLM Digital Collections. The presenters will described the impetus behind the effort, the reasons for integrating the systems, and the technical approach that was taken to accomplish the integration.

4:10 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Exploring Every Inch of Harrisonburg: The Robert J. Sullivan Papers


Grace L. Barth

MLIS, Head of Digital Collections
Libraries & Educational Technologies

Acquired by JMU Special Collections in 2014, the Robert J. Sullivan Papers include photographs and over eleven hundred slides documenting the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia during a critical period of growth during urban renewal initiatives from the mid-to-late 20th century. While digitization of the images from this collection allowed us to share it with researchers and the local community, the process of facilitating access revealed several unexpected challenges. Quick adaptability and establishing valuable partnerships were among the many factors that allowed for the successful completion of this project.

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion


Additional Information

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