Laura Braunstein Accepted to Digital Humanities Institute for Mid-Career Librarians

Laura Braunstein, Digital Humanities and English Librarian, has been accepted into the pilot Digital Humanities Institute for Mid-Career Librarians. The Institute will take place at the University of Rochester’s River Campus in mid-July and is funded primarily through a Mellon Foundation Grant. The Institute will advance institutional support for digital humanities by strengthening librarians’ competencies in digital scholarship.

As one of only twenty librarians accepted into the highly competitive program, Laura will participate in a three-day residential experience, followed by one year of online engagement and support. The Institute offers four tracks and Laura will participate, with four other librarians, in the track entitled “Text Encoding, Analysis and Visualization for Humanists.” This track will explore the methods and process of bringing context to digitization and dissemination of texts through text encoding, as well as a range of visualization tools employing that coding: timelines, word clouds, concept maps, geographic maps and more. For more information, visit the Institute’s web site.

Laura’s participation in and skills learned from this institute will enrich the College’s developing programs in the digital humanities and help to support other areas of digital scholarship within the institution.

Merging Images in Photoshop, Part One

One of the most common problems in digitization is how to deal with an image that is too big for your camera or scanner. The simplest solution is to photograph or scan the object in separate pieces, then merge those pieces together, however this can present its own set of problems to those unfamiliar with imaging software.

In this post I will be describing my own method for merging together images. There are many other ways to accomplish these tasks, and if you have a way that works for you, I encourage you to keep using it, but also be aware of its potential pitfalls. The main benefits of my own method are the ability to quality-check your work as you go, and make simple non-destructive edits that can be changed or reversed as needed. Also, for simplicity’s sake, I will be referring to my own Mac OS based workflow for menus and keyboard shortcuts.

Here is the whole image that we’re trying to assemble, and for whatever reason, it’s been captured in two side-by-side pieces in the standard .tiff format. It is crucially important, when capturing, to make sure there is overlap between the captures. This is going to help us check how well-aligned our merging is, so the more overlap the better.

Notice how each side is wider than half of the image

Now that we’ve got our two images, open both in Adobe Photoshop and choose whichever one you want to start working on. I usually go from left to right for simplicity’s sake, so here I will be starting on the left side of the image.

In Photoshop, select the Image drop-down file menu, and select “Canvas Size…” (or use the keyboard shortcut: option+command+C). Click on the canvas width field, and double it. In the “Anchor” field, select the leftmost column of the grid so that Photoshop knows where to put the empty space.

You should be left with an image like this:

It will end up a little wider than is necessary, but it’ll be easier to trim it down after the fact than to add more space. This will now become our “master” file. Do a “Save As” at this point and designate it as such.

Next, go to the second image that we are going to merge into the master (in this case, the right side image). The next step should be familiar to most computer users: select all of the image (command+A), and copy it to the clipboard (command+C). Then go back to the master file and use paste (command+V) to add it into the image.

If you’re paying attention, you’ll obviously notice that this new image is not in the correct position. However, by looking at the Layers panel on the right side of Photoshop you’ll see that the new image is on its own layer, resting on top of the background (if you do not see the Layers panel, select the “Window” drop-down menu and enable “Layers” there). Thus we can edit it without disturbing the original “bottom” layer.

Now, with the top layer selected, click on the “Opacity” field in the Layers panel and set it to 40%. This will make the top layer semi-transparent and allow us to line it up with the bottom layer.

Then, with the Move tool selected (V), begin moving the top layer around and trying to find where it lines up. Look for any solid shapes that are shared by both images, or where the borders intersect. Letterforms provide nice clear and easily-spottable shapes, which is why I have used them in this example, but it can be anything so long as it’s shared by both images.

We’re getting there, but it’s obviously still not right. At this point, find an area of overlap and zoom in closely. Then, with both the top layer and the move tool selected, simply “nudge” the top layer into place using the arrow keys. The arrow keys will only move the layer one pixel at a time, so obviously this is for the finest level of adjustments.


Nailed it!

Now for the final steps! In the layers panel, set the top layer’s opacity back to 100%. Then inspect the images along the borders, making sure that it looks seamless. While checking for quality be sure to zoom in and out.

At this point you can crop the image down to its original size, and it will be ready to go. However, one important piece to remember is that layered .tiffs, in addition to simply being larger files, are also not commonly supported by web or other software. What I like to do at this point is to save the “Master” file with both layers, and then create a new version for common use. The common use version will get flattened (Layer -> Flatten Image) then do a Save As in whatever format is required such as .jpeg or .pdf. This way, if any changes need to be made, we can always go back to the Master version.

And there you have it! A nice, seamless image. In the next post in this series, I will go into more detail for dealing with other problems, such as skew and mismatched backgrounds or details.

Written by Ryland Ianelli

Dartmouth Library Joins the National Digital Stewardship Alliance

We are very excited to announce that Dartmouth College Library has joined the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), a consortium of organizations that are committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. The mission of the NDSA is to establish, maintain, and advance the capacity to preserve our nation’s digital resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Members include universities, consortia, professional societies, commercial businesses, professional associations, and government agencies at the federal, state, and local level.
The NDSA is organized into 5 working groups: Content, Standards and Practices, Infrastructure, Innovation, and Outreach. Each group develops and executes a series of projects, which have included:
·         Developing the Levels of Preservation, a set of guidelines on tiered levels of digital preservation (Infrastructure WG)
·         Publishing a report on “Issues in the Appraisal and Selection of Geospatial Data”  (Content WG)
·         Creating Digital Preservation in a Box, a toolkit to support outreach activities that introduce the basic concepts of preserving digital information (Outreach WG)
·         Recognizing innovation in the community through the NDSA Innovation Awards (Innovation WG)
I am very excited to join the Standards and Practices Working Group, which works to “facilitate a community-wide understanding of the role and benefit of standards in digital preservation and how to use them effectively to ensure durable and usable collections.” Projects undertaken by this group include a report on “The Benefits and Risks of the PDF/A-3 File Format for Archival Institutions”and a recent survey assessing stumbling blocks for video preservation.
Written by Jenny Mullins

Dartmouth at the Digital Directions 2014 Conference

Image from the blog

This past July I had the great opportunity to attend the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s Digital Directions 2014 conference. In a lucky turn, this year’s conference was held in Portland, Oregon, home of my alma mater, Reed College. In addition to reexperiencing the highlights of one of my favorite American cities, I was able to meet and engage with many people doing amazing work in digital collections across the country and beyond.

The conference covered a fascinating diversity of topics, from high-level project management and planning to specific examples of workflows and equipment setups. One of the first things impressed upon me was the fascinating diversity of digitization efforts occurring across the world. As the demand for digital content continues to expand, many institutions are rushing to fill that need. Because of this, it can often seem that no two institutions’ digital programs are the same, or even particularly similar.

To its credit, the Digital Directions did a phenomenal job accounting for these various setups. The three days were jam-packed with a fascinating variety of discussion topics and presentations. The first day consisted of mostly big-picture type talks. We discussed the interplay between digital preservation (maintenance of access to digital content) and digital curation (adding value to digital content), as well as how to craft each institution’s best practices and standards according to their needs. The day was wrapped up with an impressively no-nonsense discussion about rights and responsibilities from a legal perspective by Peter Hirtle, followed by a lovely meet-and-greet at the Portland Art Museum.

The following days covered a wide variety of topics, including a fascinating section about audio and video digitization (an area unfortunately outside my range of experience). However, it soon became apparent that the challenges faced by those audio and video digitization teams were remarkably similar to my own in the world of object and document reproduction. Many digitization projects face the same fundamental roadblocks: time, equipment, resources, access, and storage.

Image from NEDCC’s twitter account

While the specifics varied, these fundamental issues could not help but make themselves apparent. The relative merits of, say, cloud storage (to pick a random example), can be endlessly debated among digital librarians, and indeed I’d doubt there ever will be a definitive final-word on this topic. But the crucial takeaway must be a willingness to engage with these issues, understanding the risks and drawbacks inherent in each option so that they can be minimized, or at the very least understood fully so that we may deal with them more effectively in the future. Among the many useful things I learned at Digital Directions 2014, perhaps the most important one was that my own peers are an incredible resource, both within Dartmouth and world-wide. By learning through their experiences and sharing my own, I hope to do my part to keep the Dartmouth Library’s Digital Collection growing and improving well into the future.

Written by Ryland Ianelli

A Comic Tour of Japan

Legend has it that Japanese author Jippensha Ikku (1765-1831) spent so much money drinking that he could not afford to furnish his home. Instead, he simply hung pictures of furniture he would have bought. One New Year’s, when he found himself without proper holiday attire, he offered a visitor a bath and took off with the man’s nice clothes to pay some visits of his own. And on his deathbed, he had firecrackers secretly stowed in his funeral pyre, to go out with a bang, if you will.

Sadly, these tales are probably untrue, a result of Jippensha being conflated with his clownish characters. Yaji and Kita, the traveling duo in his novel Footing It along the Tōkaidō Road, are always trying to trick their way into free meals and free rides, and into the beds of attractive young witches. Usually their schemes backfire. For instance, in a meta-referential moment, Yaji boasts to a local that he is in fact the famous writer Jippensha Ikku, researching for an upcoming book called (you guessed it) Footing It along the Tōkaidō Road. The local is impressed and treats Yaji at his home, but when a letter arrives from the real Jippensha, Yaji is forced admit his deception and flee.

At the time, the book functioned both as an entertaining story and as an informational travelogue, sketching out the varying customs and scenery along the eastern coast. Rauner’s edition features 60 full-page illustrations by print maker Tamenobu Fujikawa. The landscapes, which often dwarf the characters, provide moments of pause to accompany the fast-paced narrative. The prints’ detailed use of patterns is impressive, especially considering that each color had to be carved from a separate block of wood and perfectly aligned. Such work was done not by the artist alone but by a team who specialized in each stage of the printmaking process. As the book goes on, you can see the level of detail on the faces change, reflecting differing interpretations of the artist’s original drafts.

If you can’t read Japanese, you’re not alone. Illiterate Japanese in the nineteenth century would commonly buy books just for the printed illustrations, too. But unlike them, you can view this one online from our Digital Library Program, or ask for Rare Book PL797 D62 1800z.

Digital Production Unit Update, Part 2

The primary focus of the Digital Production Unit over the past few months has been to incorporate the new reprographic system into our workflows. Since we started using the new equipment in January we have been able to take advantage of its speed and high quality imaging in a number of projects. 

We have redesigned our workflow for the Dartmouth College Photographic Files collection to use the new camera exclusively. The previous workflow for this ongoing project used two scanners on two computers and required additional post production work to gather all of the images together. Our new workflow consolidates all of that work onto one workstation. The streamlined workflow has created noticeable positive effects in the time it takes to complete work on this project.
Dartmouth College Photographic Files collection: (
One of the first projects we tackled with the new equipment was to shoot recent Winter Carnival Posters. This was a great learning opportunity for us. The posters are large and colorful and gave us a chance to develop our skills with the hardware and software. We will add individual new posters as they become available in future Winter terms. In addition, we are in the planning stages of a project to reshoot all of the posters to upgrade the quality of our master images.
We have also been able to use the equipment in support of smaller projects in Rauner Special Collections and for exhibits by Education and Outreach. Other work with the camera includes one-offs for various projects, quality assurance and corrections.
In other news, we continue to redesign our work area. We recently moved all of the scanning equipment into room 2D, turning that space into our scanning lab.
By Willliam B. Ghezzi

Your Most Unworthy Servant

In 1768 Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian, minister and scholar returned from a trip to England. Occom’s trip was not one of pleasure, but of business. Eleazar Wheelock, founder and first president of Dartmouth College, had sent him over the ocean to travel the country preaching the word of God and collecting money. The object of these collections was Wheelock’s Moor’s Indian Charity School in the colony of Lebanon Connecticut. This school had been founded to educate Indian youth, both male and female, in the hope of converting them to Christianity. Occom had gone to England a willing participant because he believed in the Christian God and because he believed that his people, and Native Americans more generally, needed to be educated if they were to fare well in a world dominated by Anglo-American society.

On his return, Occom was dismayed to find that Wheelock was determined to use the funds raised in England (£12,000—approximately 2.4 million in today’s dollars) to found a College for Anglo-Americans. Though he’d been warned about Wheelock’s intentions by others, specifically the English minister George Whitefield (who was a virtual celebrity of the time) it came as a bitter surprise.

In July of 1771, one year after Dartmouth College opened its doors to its first class, he wrote to Wheelock to express his concern and disappointment. The letter opens fairly typically for an 18th century missive “Revd Sir, Yours of Janr 22: I receivd but a few Days ago.” The letter starts out with some general news, but there is a definite edge to the tone. In the second page Occom makes his true reason for writing clear,

“I am very Jealous that inſtead of Your Semenary Becoming alma Mater, She will be too alba mater to Suckle the Tawnees, for She is already a Dorn’d up too much like the Popiſh Virgin Mary She’ll be Naturally aſham’d to Suckle the Tawnees for She is already equal in Power Honor and Authority to and any College in Europe.”

While this may seem fairly straightforward from our perspective today, a bald statement of displeasure like this was tantamount to shouting in the 18th century. Occom is clearly angry and feels that Wheelock has abandoned the intention of educating the Indians (the tawnees as he refers to them). He continues,

“I Chearfully Ventur’d my Body & Soul, left my Country my poor Young Family all my Friends and Relations, to Sail over the Boiſterous Seas to England, to help forward your School, Hoping, that it may be a laſting Benefet to my poor Tawnee Brethren.”

But he is only just getting going. He notes that he was willing to be “Gazing stock, Yea Even a Laughing Stock, in Strange Countries to Promote your Cauſe” and he berates Wheelock that they “Shall be Deem’d as Liars and Deceivers in Europe, unless you gather Indians quickly to your College, in great Numbers”

These are strong words, made all the stronger since Occom was writing to his mentor and sometimes benefactor. It must have surprised, and perhaps even shocked, Wheelock to receive such a frank and stinging rebuke from his former student, and an Indian at that. While this was not the end of their communications, Occom never did set foot on Dartmouth’s campus and he and Wheelock never met face-to-face again. True to 18th century mores, and despite his anger, Occom closes his letter in a typical fashion for the time, signing off “Your moſt unworthy Servt Samſon Occom”

This letter and many more are now available online as part of the Occom Circle Project, a National Endowment for the Humanities funded project to digitize, transcribe and markup over 500 letters, documents, diaries and sermons written by or about Samson Occom. The site, the brain child of Ivy Schweitzer, Professor of English and Women and Gender Studies, makes the transcriptions available side-by-side with digital images of the original documents with options to view both a diplomatic version (as intended by the author) and a more modern, readable version. The Text Encoding Initiative markup allows scholars and student to search and sort the documents in new ways as well as providing clarifying information about places, people and events mentioned in the letters.

To learn more about this project, still underway, come to the Friends of the Library presentation on the Occom Circle Project on May 15, 2014 at 4:00 in the Class of 1902 Room in Baker Library.

To see Occom’s scathing letter to Wheelock, go to: Or, come in and ask for DC Hist Mss 771424.

Digital Collections to Get Lost In

Today I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite Digital Collections from across the web. These are various odds and ends that are in no way meant to be fully representative of the incredible breadth of content out there. Rather, these collections represent my own pet interests, and I would encourage anyone reading this to seek out digital collections that speak to them, too.

First I’d like to point you towards (surprise!) our very own Dartmouth Digital Collections. Our fantastic library staff has done wonderful work creating a diverse and fascinating collection of materials for digital browsing. My personal favorite picks are the ever-expanding Photo Files collection, and the wonderfully quirky 19th century comic The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck (you can read more about Obadiah Oldbuck in this post I wrote way back in 2012).

The Dartmouth Boxing Club, donated by a Dartmouth Alumni class of 1871
Obadiah Oldbuck: “Raising himself, Mr. Oldbuck perceives his ladye-love. She is not alone! Duel between Mr. Oldbuck and his rival.

The next collection I’d like to direct you to is the New York Public Library’s newly launched collection of historic maps. These are fascinating, and a wonderful peek into the art of cartography as it was practiced throughout American history. Of particular interest to me was the packaging on many of these real-estate maps, hyping upcoming auctions and the promise of land ownership.

Pages from a 1914 land auctioneering pamphlet

Meanwhile, across the country, a collection I had the privilege of viewing as an undergraduate is my own Alma Mater Reed College’s collection of artist books. I am far from an expert in this subject and would defer to our very own wonderful Book Arts Program for more information, but even as a layman I can enjoy these unique and clever book designs.

Tobacco Project: Red Book  by Xu Bing

The amount of materials available on the web is expanding daily, and while it may seem daunting to sort through it, I’ve found the effort is well-rewarded. If you have a favorite collection, let us know in the comments! Happy browsing!

Dartmouth College Library Digital Program: Digitization for Access and Preservation

Visit the Digital Production Unit at Baker Library to learn how the Library’s Digital Program provides access and preservation to the Library’s collections.  An open house showcasing conservation, digitization, and digital preservation will be held on Monday, April 28, from 11 am  until 1 pm in Baker Library, Room 2 (east end of the Orozco Cooridor).  This event is part of a nation wide celebration of the American Library Association’s observance of Preservation Week.

Digital Production Unit Update

Here is a sample of some of the projects that the Library Digital Production Unit has been working on in recent days.

Dartmouth College Photographic Files:

This long term, ongoing project digitizes a large collection of photographs from the Rauner Special Collections Library. To date we have scanned approximately 17,000 photographs. The physical collection is currently housed in file cabinets in Rauner and is a “diverse collection of approximately 80,000 photographs related to Dartmouth College, Hanover and the surrounding area. Images date from the early years of photography (ca. 1850s) to the present and include images of nearly all aspects of Dartmouth College life“.

Dartmouth Winter Carnival Posters

A collection of 91 Dartmouth Winter Carnival Postersdating back to 1911 when the Carnival began. New posters are added to the collection as they are available in the Rauner Special Collections Library. Recently we scanned the posters from 2009 to 2013 on our new reprographic system.

Manuscripts Relating to Samson Occom and Eleazar 

Wheelock’s Early Indian Students

The letters and other writings of Samson Occom, an important figure in the founding of Dartmouth College. “The manuscripts, circa 1743-1794, document Occom’s early student life under Wheelock’s tutelage, his life as a minister at Montauk and Mohegan, his trip to England to raise money for what would become Dartmouth College, as well as personal reflections on his life as an educated Indian in Colonial America.” This project is nearing completion. Most of our recent work involves correcting problems with the scanned images when they are discovered.

Sino Viet Ritual Texts

These three unique manuscripts of Buddhist-Taoist rituals in classical Chinese and Vietnamese Nom date back to 1924. They contain practical Buddhist-Taoist rituals on death, healing and natural disasters. We have completed scanning these manuscripts and we are in a post-production phase in preparation for them to be uploaded to the Dartmouth Digital Collections website. 

Digital Transitions DT RG3040 Reprographic System

In December the Dartmouth Digital Program purchased a highend reprographic system housed in the Digital Production Unit. The system includes a large copy stand, a custom made camera with a Phase One digital back, a lighting system and few other bells and whistles. To date we have used the camera to photograph Dartmouth Winter Carnival Posters from the last five years. And we are in the process of incorporating the system into out Photo Files and Dartmouth Dissertations workflows. 
To see all of our digital collection visit: Dartmouth Digital Collections at

by William B. Ghezzi