American Landscape and Architectural Design 1850-1920

Building the Digital Collection

Digitizing the Collection

The images in this collection grew out of a project to reformat 3" x 4" lantern slides. Because the lantern slides are cumbersome, and require a special projector, we wanted to reformat the slides in to a more accessible format. The slides have been reformatted into 35mm. slides, and scanned into five resolutions on Photo CDs. The reproductions on this site have sufficient quality to meet general reference needs, and publication quality images can be acquired through the Graduate School of Design.

Each lantern slide was shot onto 35mm. film by Boston Photo Imaging. The 35mm. slides were then scanned into five resolutions (128 x 192 pixels, 256 x 384 pixels, 512 x 768 pixels, 1024 x 1536 pixels) and stored on Photo CDs.

The images found on this web site are reprocessed versions of the 1024 x 1536 pixel images. The thumbnail version images are 150 x 150 pixels, the mid-size images are 600 x 600 pixels and the largest size images are 1024 x 1024 pixels. The black and white images were converted to 8-bits-per-pixel (256 shades of gray). All have been compressed with the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) algorithm. The reprocessing was done by the Graduate School of Design staff using Adobe PhotoShop 4.01 and Equilibrium Debabelizer 2.0 software programs. The Photo CDs and uncompressed versions of the images are held by the Graduate School of Design.


Cataloging the Collection

This collection of lantern slides was assembled and organized to support lectures and student presentations in the study of landscape architecture. At the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a relational database has been developed to describe architectural images. This database relates two major types of entities: sites (which may be buildings, districts, parks, etc.); and images, which act as surrogates for those sites. For presentation in American Memory the descriptive information about the separate entities in that database has been merged to provide records for each lantern slide. Each record incorporates information about both the image and its related site.

The Titles presented for American Memory were constructed automatically by combining the description of the image and the name and location of the related site.

Subject Terms were applied to both sites and images in the original database. For American Memory, the two sets of subjects associated with an image are presented together. Terms applied to sites include architectural style and type of building. Terms applied to images relate to features visible in the image. Most terms are taken from the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (external link). In addition, a geographical location for the site is provided as a subject heading.

Related Names are names of individuals or firms related to the sites. Most are architects or landscape architects; others may be owners, planners, or competititors in an architectural competition.