Digital Image Capture Planning & Topics

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

In February 1997, as part of executing the RLG PRESERV strategic plan, we appointed the RLG Preservation Working Group on Digital Image Capture. By June 1997 the group had produced, in table-of-contents form, a "conceptual framework for creating a Web-based 'virtual' manual on digital image capture." Participants noted that some of the topics included were complex and would be "difficult and time-consuming to create." They expected an effort by RLG to assemble material over time.

This framework prompted various RLG activities from 1998 to the present, including:

  • Coordination with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and Digital Library Federation (DLF) for the jointly produced Guides to Quality in Visual Resource Imaging .
  • Publication of Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives, by Anne R. Kenney and Oya Rieger (see RLG Programs Books and Reports).
  • 1998 RLG-NPO Conference: A joint conference on guidelines for digital imaging with the UK-Ireland National Preservation Office and others.

    Please note: Web pages for RLG meetings prior to June 2006 have been archived and are available from the OCLC Corporate Library Collection in the OCLC Digital Archive.

Working group

RLG Preservation Working Group on Digital Image Capture participants were:

Stephen Chapman, (Chair)
Harvard University
Paul Conway
Yale University
David Cooper
Oxford University
David French
The British Library
Franziska Frey
Image Permanence Institute
Milan Hughston
then Amon Carter Museum
James Reilly
Image Permanence Institute
Anthony Troncale
New York Public Library
Robin Dale
RLG
Nancy Elkington
RLG
Katie Keller
then RLG

Background

Both as part of preservation reformatting and as a means of improving of access, the technology and techniques for capturing page images of library and archival materials present great opportunities and challenges to research collections in 1996. RLG's members were already engaged in various efforts, singly or in consultation with others, to capture and store page images for both long-term retention and public service.

It was clear that identifying best practices and beginning to codify and standardize approaches would support lasting value, resource sharing, and cost-effective effort. A set of practical guidelines to help librarians make decisions about such issues as image quality, presentation and display options, and storage formats would provide the same kind of value as had our work in brittle materials microfilming in the previous decade.

Charge: To develop a pragmatic and implementable plan for the creation of a series of guidelines to be issued as part of a larger body of material on the creation and preservation of digital resources. This might take the form of a nominal table of contents for a manual similar to the RLG microfilming handbooks. Alternatively, the working group could decide they were sufficiently expert to begin to develop the guidelines themselves.

Objectives:

  • Develop a content-based specification for a set of guidelines that will assist and support library and archive staff as they engage in digital imaging efforts.
  • Recommend the most effective form of dissemination: print, on the Web, "virtual manual," etc.
  • Develop a plan for the order in which guidelines can and should be developed, as well as a timetable to ensure the timely completion of the work.
  • Recommend most appropriate means for RLG to investigate best practice and developing guidelines for each item in the specification.

The Projected Manual of Digital Imaging Guidelines addressed the first two objectives; the others were not pursued in this specific project.

Projected Manual of Digital Imaging Guidelines

From the working group chair: "The Digital Imaging Capture Working Group has prepared a 'conceptual table of contents' for a manual to preservation digitization. I have attached two versions—one long, one abbreviated—for your review. Please consider this a work in progress. Comments received thus far have included: 'This draft doesn't leave much out (the appendices will probably be a 12-volume set).' I think, however, that this is a good place to begin."
—Steve Chapman, Harvard University, July 1997

1. Table of contents: long version

Introduction
Acknowledgments

Overview
Definitions of Preservation Digitizing
Scope and Content of Manual
Terminology and Specialized Vocabulary

Procedural Guidelines
Selection for Digitization
Collection Assessment
Defining the Original
Defining Pictorial Content
Establishing Quality Requirements
Preparation of Materials for Digitization
Scanning to Replace Materials
Text and Line Art
Visual Collections
Scanning to Create Preservation Surrogates
Text and Line Art
Visual Collections
Metadata Creation
Creating Derivatives
Static Images
Dynamic Images
Establishing a Quality Control Program
Technical Inspection of Images, Metadata, and Storage Media
Visual Inspection of Digital Images
Hybrid Approaches
Film First
Scan First
Archiving
Outsourcing

Technical Guidelines
File Formats and Compression
Digital Masters
Derivatives
Document Handling
Light and Heat Considerations
Document Transport Mechanisms
Characterization of Scanners
Resolution
Linearity (tone reproduction)
Color (spectral characterization)
Noise
Flare
Characterization of Storage Devices and Media
Device Cost and Scalability
Media Speed
Media Stability
Characterization of Output Devices
Display Controllers and Monitors
Printers and Print Media
Film Recorders and Film
Color Management
System Calibration

Appendices
Copyright Considerations
File Naming Strategies
Single-Operator Scanning Setup for In-House Digital Projects
Multi-Operator Scanning Setup for In-House Digital Projects
Recommended Program for Quality Control of Scanners
Quality Control Report Forms
Sample Budget Preparation Form
Sample Targets
Sample RFPs (standard scanning [text/line art], manuscripts and archives, visual materials, microfilm)
Selecting a Vendor
Scanning Logs
Approaches to Scanning: Degraded Materials, Oversize Documents
Scanning Technician Job Descriptions
Digital Cameras and Their Peculiar Characteristics
Microfilm Legacies, Pros and Cons for the Digitization Model
Operational Impact of Digital Projects on Library Units
Post-Digitization Issues for Special Collections
Scholarly Impact of Digital Projects (supply/demand, authentication)  

2. Table of contents: abbreviated version

Introduction
Acknowledgments

Overview
Definitions of Preservation Digitizing
Scope and Content of Manual
Terminology and Specialized Vocabulary

Procedural Guidelines
Selection for Digitization
Collection Assessment
Preparation of Materials for Digitization
Scanning to Replace Materials
Scanning to Create Preservation Surrogates
Metadata Creation
Creating Derivatives
Establishing a Quality Control Program
Hybrid Approaches
Archiving
Outsourcing

Technical Guidelines
File Formats and Compression
Document Handling
Characterization of Scanners
Characterization of Storage Devices and Media
Characterization of Output Devices
Color Management
System Calibration

Appendices
Copyright Considerations
File Naming Strategies
Single-Operator Scanning Setup for In-House Digital Projects
Multi-Operator Scanning Setup for In-House Digital Projects
Recommended Program for Quality Control of Scanners
Quality Control Report Forms
Sample Budget Preparation Form
Sample Targets
Sample RFPs (standard scanning [text/line art], manuscripts and archives, visual materials, microfilm)
Selecting a Vendor
Scanning Logs
Approaches to Scanning: Degraded Materials, Oversize Documents
Scanning Technician Job Descriptions
Digital Cameras and Their Peculiar Characteristics
Microfilm Legacies, Pros and Cons for the Digitization Model
Operational Impact of Digital Projects on Library Units
Post-Digitization Issues for Special Collections
Scholarly Impact of Digital Projects (supply/demand, authentication)

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