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Winter Carnival is upon us. Over the years, Dartmouth's "Mardi Gras of the North" has produced some stunning visual images. The annual poster contest has resulted in posters that reflect the history of 20th century graphic design while displaying the e...

Winter Carnival is upon us. Over the years, Dartmouth's "Mardi Gras of the North" has produced some stunning visual images. The annual poster contest has resulted in posters that reflect the history of 20th century graphic design while displaying the ever changing values and interests of Dartmouth students. We recently released a new digital collection of all of the Winter Carnival posters, from the earliest in 1911 to the one currently circulating on campus. They are accompanied by essays from the 2010 Winter Carnival: A Century of Dartmouth Posters (Hanover: University Press of New England, 2010).

Not only can you browse the posters, you can also download a digital image for your personal use. While you are looking for your favorite poster, you can also check out images from Winter Carnivals past in our ever growing digital collection of archival photographs. They are not all scanned yet, but we add to the collection daily--search for Winter Carnival and you will see some of them.

Something exciting is brewing in the depths of Baker-Berry! New workstations, and mysterious boxes have been arriving steadily. Stay tuned for future updates from the Digital Production Unit!Written by Ryland Ianelli
Something exciting is brewing in the depths of Baker-Berry! 
New workstations, and mysterious boxes have been arriving steadily. 

Stay tuned for future updates from the Digital Production Unit!
Written by Ryland Ianelli

1

If you decide to digitize a collection of images, such as a photo album or a slideshow, there are literally thousands of different software solutions to go about organizing them. Many of these can come bundled with scanning or photo software, and often...

If you decide to digitize a collection of images, such as a photo album or a slideshow, there are literally thousands of different software solutions to go about organizing them. Many of these can come bundled with scanning or photo software, and often those can offer a relatively low-cost and hassle-free solution to keeping track of your images.

However, if you want to ensure the maximum compatibility and usability of your images over the long term, there are more advanced options available through Adobe's very popular line of professional software. The complete Creative Suite (and the newly-offered Creative Cloud) feature an almost overwhelming amount of tools, from film editing to website design, along with the nigh-essential Photoshop.

Two of these programs are designed for the main purpose of organizing and viewing large collections of images; something you might imagine is essential to the kinds of digitization projects taken on by the Dartmouth College Library's Digital Production Unit. Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom each offer distinct advantages over the other, and while they may share some purposes, it can save you a lot of time to know which one suits your project best.

Adobe Bridge is, as its name implies, an excellent way to organize many different kinds of media, "bridging" many formats. It is designed to play nicely with all other Adobe programs, and offers an excellent alternative to the standard Mac OS Finder, or Windows Explorer when it comes to browsing collections. The interface can be altered modularly to suit a project, meaning you can re-size, add or delete tools from the main screen with great ease. Additionally, you can add or alter image metadata, and do batch file renaming. Its flexibility is its best selling point, making it a helpful addition to any Adobe-based workflow.

Lightroom, on the other hand, is designed specifically for photographs. In addition to letting users browse through collections of photographs, Lightoom offers far more tools for photo-editing than Bridge, and presents them in a way that is familiar for professional or amateur photographers. While at first blush this would appear similar to running a combination of Bridge and Photoshop, it actually has a few interesting tricks of its own.

The most important thing about Lightroom is to think of it within the context of a photographer's studio. The program is designed to take raw camera files (.dng is the most common format) and apply various changes to it without altering the originals. The entire editing action takes place within the Lightroom environment, so you are never in danger of losing data. You can think of your raw camera files as digital negatives, to be used and reused to create different print files. Lightroom easily stores setting data, allowing you to export as many kinds of derivative files as are needed. However, it is designed around these features. If you want to make actual changes to a master document you'll have to use Photoshop.

Between these two programs we can respond to all kinds of challenges in the Digital Production Unit, organizing and reworking files in the manner best suited to the project.

Written by Ryland Ianelli 

A celebration was recently held in Chester, Vermont to commemorate the successful completion of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set Digitization Project.  This marked the end of a very productive ten-year collaboration with Readex Corporation and Dartmouth College Library to conserve and digitize almost 16,000 volumes. 



At the celebration Carol Forsythe, Team Readex Project Manager, noted significant statistics: 


15,739 volumes were reviewed and conserved by Dartmouth’s Preservation Services for a total of 11,935,564 pages scanned at Readex.  The Serial Set (1789-1995) included 370,205 separate government publications and 74,495 maps.  The project grew in scope to include:


  • The American State Papers

  • Senate Executive Journals

  • House and Senate Journals

The success of this monumental venture was due to the diligence of those assigned directly to the project as well as those who provided logistical and other support throughout the library.  Or as was written on the cake, “Great Teams Make Great Products!” 




Barb Sagraves



Head, Preservation Services









A celebration was recently held in Chester, Vermont to commemorate the successful completion of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set Digitization Project.  This marked the end of a very productive ten-year collaboration with Readex Corporation and Dartmouth College Library to conserve and digitize almost 16,000 volumes.

At the celebration, Carol Forsythe, Team Readex Project Manager, noted significant statistics: 15,739 volumes were reviewed and conserved by Dartmouth’s Preservation Services for a total of 11,935,564 pages scanned at Readex. The Serial Set (1789-1995) included 370,205 separate government publications and 74,495 maps. The project grew in scope to include:

  • The American State Papers
  • Senate Executive Journals
  • House and Senate Journals

The success of this monumental venture was due to the diligence of those assigned directly to the project as well as those who provided logistical and other support throughout the library.  Or as was written on the cake, “Great Teams Make Great Products!” 

Barb Sagraves
Head, Preservation Services

When I was an undergraduate student I worked in my college library’s Visual Resource Collection in a somewhat similar position to the one I’m in now. The VRC was primarily a resource for my school’s Art History Department (my major), and their main asset was row upon row of metal filing cabinets filled to the brim with 35mm slides.

As the years went on, we unsurprisingly saw more and more art history professors moving towards digital teaching tools. As such, the VRC department had no choice but to move with the times and focus on the digitization of their existing collection.

This was my first experience scanning 35mm slides, and while it fundamentally follows the same principles as scanning anything else, there are some considerations to be made. The main question is one of scanner preference: mechanical feed or flatbed?

Nikon Super COOLSCAN 9000 ED; a professional-quality mechanical feed slide and negative scanner I used at my previous job. Image copyright Nikon USA.

Mechanical feed slide scanners have several distinct advantages: they are smaller and very easily portable; they are often designed to accept large batches of scans in a workflow environment; and they require very little adjustment or calibration on the user end. However, there are drawbacks as well. Much like the mechanical feed photo scanner, it is prone to dust. This dust is significantly more troublesome in the final product due to the small size of the originals. Additionally, the user-friendliness can sometimes translate to poor customizability. And of course, the slide scanner’s utility is limited to 35mm slides or film negatives.

The Epson Expression 10000XL, with transparency unit and slides ready for scanning

While flatbed scanners are designed with larger printed material in mind, often times these too can accept slides or photo negatives with certain peripheral attachments. In the Dartmouth Library Digital Production Unit, our Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner has such attachments. The biggest and most crucial is the transparency unit. This piece replaces the original scanner cover with what is essentially a lightbox, backlighting the slides and providing consistent illumination. Additionally, there are slide and negative holders that help keep your images consistent.

The biggest drawback to the flatbed scanner is that sometimes the scanner itself has not been designed for the high-resolution settings required to scan such small objects at archival quality. Usually a good resolution for 35mm slides is 2,400 dpi; four times the resolution of our usual scans. A good high-quality scanner should have no problem with this, but many consumer-level scanners simply can’t scan a resolution that high.

While our Digital Production Department has not had much reason to incorporate slide and negative scanning into our workflow thusfar, it can’t hurt to be prepared for whatever digitization projects come our way.

When I was an undergraduate student I worked in my college library’s Visual Resource Collection in a somewhat similar position to the one I’m in now. The VRC was primarily a resource for my school’s Art History Department (my major), and their main asset was row upon row of metal filing cabinets filled to the brim with 35mm slides.

As the years went on, we unsurprisingly saw more and more art history professors moving towards digital teaching tools. As such, the VRC department had no choice but to move with the times and focus on the digitization of their existing collection.

This was my first experience scanning 35mm slides, and while it fundamentally follows the same principles as scanning anything else, there are some considerations to be made. The main question is one of scanner preference: mechanical feed or flatbed?

Nikon Super COOLSCAN 9000 ED; a professional-quality mechanical feed slide and negative scanner I used at my previous job. Image copyright Nikon USA.

Mechanical feed slide scanners have several distinct advantages: they are smaller and very easily portable; they are often designed to accept large batches of scans in a workflow environment; and they require very little adjustment or calibration on the user end. However, there are drawbacks as well. Much like the mechanical feed photo scanner, it is prone to dust. This dust is significantly more troublesome in the final product due to the small size of the originals. Additionally, the user-friendliness can sometimes translate to poor customizability. And of course, the slide scanner’s utility is limited to 35mm slides or film negatives.

The Epson Expression 10000XL, with transparency unit and slides ready for scanning

While flatbed scanners are designed with larger printed material in mind, often times these too can accept slides or photo negatives with certain peripheral attachments. In the Dartmouth Library Digital Production Unit, our Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner has such attachments. The biggest and most crucial is the transparency unit. This piece replaces the original scanner cover with what is essentially a lightbox, backlighting the slides and providing consistent illumination. Additionally, there are slide and negative holders that help keep your images consistent.

The biggest drawback to the flatbed scanner is that sometimes the scanner itself has not been designed for the high-resolution settings required to scan such small objects at archival quality. Usually a good resolution for 35mm slides is 2,400 dpi; four times the resolution of our usual scans. A good high-quality scanner should have no problem with this, but many consumer-level scanners simply can’t scan a resolution that high.

While our Digital Production Department has not had much reason to incorporate slide and negative scanning into our workflow thus far, it can’t hurt to be prepared for whatever digitization projects come our way.

Now in the homestretch of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set Project the Readex/Dartmouth team is working through some end-of-project tasks. With only a few weeks of the project remaining, our end date being May 31st, it is time to check through the co...

Now in the homestretch of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set Project, the Readex/Dartmouth team is working through some end-of-project tasks. With only a few weeks of the project remaining, our end date being May 31st, it is time to check through the collection to discover volumes with missing labels, and compile a list of volumes that remain missing. Over the years of processing incoming and outgoing Serial Set volumes it has been standard procedure to take note of any missing volumes and make a note in a spreadsheet which lists the entire set. Early in the project each volume was assigned a barcode which is also indicated on this master list.

After reading all the number labels of Serial Set volumes in the stacks, a list of approximately 400 numbers was typed and printed. In an effort to match existing labels on early volumes the numbers were printed on taupe colored Moriki tissue and consolidated with a klucel-G solution to prevent fading.

One by one each new label will be glued to its corresponding volume.

Finally, when the approximately 100 remaining volumes are returned from scanning, they will be repaired as needed, checked for labels, and returned to the stacks. Farewell my dear Serial Set!

By Elizabeth Rideout

In the last year since the Digital Production Unit was added to Preservation Services we've grown and adapted to many challenges. One of our most resource-heavy projects is the Dartmouth Photo Files, a project to scan and collect the college's photogra...

In the last year since the Digital Production Unit was added to Preservation Services we've grown and adapted to many challenges. One of our most resource-heavy projects is the Dartmouth Photo Files, a project to scan and collect the college's photographic records currently being held in Rauner Special Collections Library. So far we've scanned and uploaded nearly 8,500 photographs; merely one-tenth of the estimated total. We realized quite early that a project of this scope and type has different requirements than the smaller projects we regularly take on. This post will address the recurring issue of dust in the scanner.

While flatbed scanners like our Epson Expression 10000XL merely require the occasional spritz of glass-cleaner to maintain, our feed scanner, the Kodak PS810, is far more demanding due to its complicated internal mechanism and heavy amount of use. A piece of dust on a flatbed scanner is quite difficult to notice, and usually does not produce an unusable result (at the very worst it will catch the reflection of the scanner's lamps and discolor a few pixels). However a piece of dust inside the feed scanner will leave a quite noticeable mark on the image in the form of a colored (usually green) streak across the image. This happens when a piece of dust is trapped on the scanner lamps and the image is dragged over it, producing a line, like this:

Dealing with this dust starts at the beginning of every scanning session. Every day we use it the Kodak PS810 (as well as its surrounding area) is thoroughly cleaned. The feed rollers are wiped free of dust and the lamps are cleaned off with special polishing wipes. At the end of this process a "transport cleaning sheet" is fed through the scanner; this sheet has a sticky surface and is designed to pick up the last stray bits of dust. Afterwards the machine is ready to scan.

However, dust does not simply stay out of places that have been cleaned once, and in the Photo Files project we found that many of the photos themselves are responsible for dragging dust into the scanner's inner workings. In most cases where this occurs the dust stays on the lamp for several photos until it is dragged off, producing a sequence of photos all with the same green line across them. Needless to say, this is problematic for our finished product.

After attempting a few solutions to this problem, the best one we came up with was a spot-dusting of every photo before it goes through the scanner using a squeeze-duster like this:

While the procedure isn't perfect, it does lower instances of this problem drastically. Remaining dusty images are caught during our quality-assurance step and rescanned. Some photo scanning software claims to be able to remove this effect through digital manipulation (including Kodak's own software, which we do not use), however we chose not to adopt this in our procedures in order to maintain the integrity of the original, unaltered image. The result of such process is as claimed, removing the green dust lines, however it accomplishes by distorting the parts of the image directly above and below the dust, creating a blurred effect that is noticeable upon close inspection. While this is probably a good solution for a hobbyist, we intend to ensure the best possible condition for our scans in the long run. In this case the old saying holds true: a pinch of prevention saves a pound of cure, and by ensuring best practices at the scanning phase we can drastically reduce the need for rescans.

Written by Ryland Ianelli.

Last spring, when the Dartmouth College Library offered me the chance to become its first year-long Digital Library Intern, I was thrilled by the opportunity. The prospects of learning about a variety of production and delivery technologies and directly furthering the Library’s goal of increasing open access to valuable scholarship and historical primary source material sounded like wonderful ways to spend my first year after graduation. So let me share with you a bit of what I’ve been up to!

In this position, I’ve contributed to the development of the Digital Library Program, a recent initiative that draws on massive amounts of existing and newly acquired expertise from across the Library. According to the Program’s mission statement, it

“Promotes innovative research and teaching through the strategic digitization of Library holdings and the open access publication of new digital scholarship.”

As a quick glance at the rest of the Library system will confirm, Dartmouth is home to many wonderful collections and unique items. Our goal in the Digital Program is to support faculty, students, and the public at-large by making some of these treasures more easily accessible and usable, around-the-clock and from the comfort of wherever “work” may be today.

The Brut Chronicle
A page image from Chronicles of England [The Brut Chronicle], a 15th-century manuscript held by Rauner Special Collections Library. View the digital edition at http://tinyurl.com/ckbvnyl
A major component of my job has been working within the Digital Production Unit, the team responsible for in-house conversion of physical collections and media to formats we can then share with the world. I’ve learned a great deal about best practices for digitization procedures and long-term preservation of digital assets, and have been able to apply my interests in technical documentation to codify and improve our workflows.

I’ve also explored the ways in which our many digital collections and publications are currently represented in catalogs, databases, and other online venues, and how we can increase awareness of their availability. It’s a very exciting time to investigate questions about linked data and the interconnection and interaction between open digital resources, and university libraries are at the forefront of some of this work.

While my position is called an internship, it has come with all the benefits of a regular staff position.

A 1917 photograph of the Dartmouth College Regimental Band
A 1917 photograph of the Dartmouth College Regimental Band. Part of the comprehensive Photo Files project at http://tinyurl.com/cs6e9sm

One of the most important of these is being fully integrated into the operations of the Library in and around the Digital Program.

As a member of the Digital Projects and Infrastructure Group committee since last July, I’ve been able to partake in the planning of new projects, tools, and policies that will support the Program as it continues to grow in the coming years.

Another great facet of this role has been the ability to extend my technical skill set. Digital production and web development tasks can call for many different types of tools, and it’s been rewarding to explore utilizing XSL transformations, shell scripting, and Google Analytics, to name a few, to answer questions and solve problems.

Visitors from 59 different countries viewed the sites for one of our two Dr. Seuss-related books during the month of February.
Visitors from 59 different countries viewed the sites for one of our two Dr. Seuss-related books during the month of February. http://tinyurl.com/bownlqe

Just this week, we’ve started work on a new project, digitizing a great manuscript collection from Rauner Special Collections Library. I represent the Digital Production Unit on this project’s team, and look forward to sharing the digital collection with you when we’re done!

The opportunity to collaborate with experienced library professionals on a broad range of valuable and challenging projects has been fantastic. The internship has proven a wonderful venue for learning more about the library world and the technology being deployed within it. In addition to letting me develop many different skills, it has certainly informed my perspectives on career pursuits and opportunities available to those with diverse interests in the digital realm. And I can’t wait to see what the Digital Program produces next.

For more information about the Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Internship, as well as directions to apply, visit this link.

Written by Shaun Akhtar, the 2012-13 Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Intern.