Three demonstration projects. The online Federal Theatre Project Collection served as a test bed for three demonstration activities designed to increase the Library's understanding of issues and methods associated with digitizing collections.
These findings in the earlier projects indicated the advisability of reproducing manuscript collections by means of grayscale and color images. But such images are very large (in terms of file size) and, given the great extent of many manuscript collections, commit a library or archive to provide extensive computer-file storage and a potential impediment to the provision of efficient online access.
Imaging Demonstration Projects. Taken together, the two imaging demonstrations carried out with the Federal Theatre Project collection suggested an approach that addresses the need for grayscale and color images as well as the problem of storing the extensive files that reproduce a large collection. Some of the image-making approaches tested in the Federal Theatre activity have been continued in later National Digital Library Program productions.
The IBM project demonstrated that pictorial items and documents selected for their artifactual value could be reproduced as very high quality grayscale and color images and that large uncompressed digital files can be archived. The IBM project also showed that the careful production of high quality images can be labor intensive.
The Preservation Office/Picture Elements project showed how routine manuscript documents, e.g., twentieth century typescripts prized primarily for their information value, could be reproduced in high quality images and archived after a modest amount of compression has been applied to reduce file size. Although Picture Elements' use of a flatbed scanner meant that capture proceeded in a relatively efficient manner, such one-sheet-at-a-time scanning is less rapid than "office automation" projects in which non-precious sheets of paper are captured with the aid of a sheet feeder.
Both the IBM and the Preservation Office/Picture Elements projects produced access images from the master images that had been scanned. These access images are designed to work efficiently in computer networks, display easily in World Wide Web browser software, and print in a reasonably efficient way on typical desktop printers.
Abstract: Use of a high resolution digital camera to create very high quality images of pictorial
items and documents of special significance. The camera system was equipped with a cradle
to hold bound volumes and a platform to enable the imaging of large items like posters.
Associated database for managing stored files.
Project Final Report
Abstract: Consultants demonstrate an approach to imaging routine manuscript documents,
creating grayscale and color images compressed with JPEG for consideration for preservation
and bitonal images compressed with ITU Group IV for access. In a follow-on activity, the
Library creates reduced-scale grayscale and color images in the GIF format for online display.
Abstract: Finding aid that conforms to the Encoded Archival Description standard (EAD).
Stand-alone version available at this time, future version to be linked to digital reproductions
of selected items.
Federal Theatre Project Finding Aid