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Archives & Museum Informatics



Technical Strategies for Digitization for Museum Applications

Alan Newman, Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Session: Technical Strategies in Imaging

Museums are increasingly using digital imaging as a companion to and a replacement for conventional analog photography. The uses of digital images include multimedia and web publishing, pre-press lithography, reference in collection management, conservation documentation and desktop video. Often a digital image can be enhanced to actually make the representation of the museum object more "realistic".

This workshop will explore the technical strategies of digitization for museum applications and present the various tools for image capture and quality evaluation as well as how to capitalize on in-house resources.

  • Image capture strategies, tools and techniques.

  • Imaging standards organizations and resources

  • Image storage, access and versioning

  • High end digital cameras and scanners evaluated: image quality and work flow

  • What can be done at the lower end?

  • Slide scanner automated workflow

  • Portable digital cameras applications

  • Location and in situ imaging of objects

  • Gallery views

  • Publicity

  • Quick imaging for the web

  • Scanning film vs. direct capture

  • When can we do without film?

  • How do we get back to film?, i.e. slides, transparencies

  • Lighting systems for digital photography

  • Overview of digital watermarking systems

  • Imaging for press vs. imaging for screen

  • Overview of color management systems for the beginner.

  • How to protect legacy files

  • Using desktop image cataloguers to:

    • manage small projects

    • generate image metadata to download into enterprise systems

    • create simple web image catalogues

    • prototype designs for larger systems

  • Useful color printers for in-house applications

  • Color Laserjet

  • Fujix Pictrography

  • Inkjet

Suggested reading: Pre-Workshop:

Howard Besser and Jennifer Trant, Introduction to Imaging, Getty Information Institute, 48 pages, 7 x 10 inches, ISBN 0-89236-361-4, paper, 1996

Also online at:

Selected Bibliography (PDF file, open with Acrobat)