Digital Library Technical Services has joined the computational imaging crowd. We’ve done a short test of Reflectance Transformation Imaging, or RTI. This technology compiles multiple digital images into a virtual object that can reveal new information about the surface of materials. Different lighting angles during capture reveal fine detail about the surface of an object. The Center for Cultural Heritage (CHI) developed and distributes both the 3D builder and 3D viewer. Amazingly, these two packages are intuitive, easy to install, and free.
We did this test, a proof of concept, with an LED flashlight, two marbles and some construction paper. With some practice and slightly more sophisticated materials, this could be a consistent and repeatable work.
We have just digitized the last of the Poly Portrait collection, which features some interesting shots of the many scientists who graced the halls of the school now known as Tandon. Here’s an example:
While we were digitizing the Sylveser Manor nitrate negative collection, we came across two negatives that were stuck together. Thanks to some help from our colleagues in Preservation, we were able to un-stick them. We’re glad we did, as they are beautiful.
DLTS’s Content Creation Group (CCG) has started an Instagram feed, featuring interesting images that they encounter during the digitization process. Check it out at www.instagram.com/nyuccg
We recently digitized some nitrate negatives from the Sylvester Manor collection. In addition to being fragile, this format can also be volatile, and so there’s an urgency to our work.
We’re pleased that these negatives are incredibly sharp (see picture of actual silver grains below):
Our Digital Content Manager, Melitte Buchman, writes: “For me these film negatives are particularly lovely in that they’ve had a hard life, many have abrasion scratches, and chemical stains that although not originally intended are a great reminder of the vagaries of film work. I find the image below particularly lovely. It’s nearly a spirit photograph with a horizontal band of movement (likely abrasions) and stars (chemical involvement?). At any rate it’s something we so rarely see anymore that it seems quite charming.”
Another image has a nearly demonic aspect:
We should be making these images available through the Sylvester Manor finding aid soon.
The Poly Portrait surprises continue with this photo of Philippe Petit, the “man on the wire,” who was a speaker at the school now known as Tandon.
The camera made its way safely to Cairo, and the team at the American University in Cairo set it up, just as they had been taught by DLTS. They sent us a lovely document describing the process, with pictures to illustrate each step. Take a look!
Sometimes even a collection that seems pretty straightforward will yield interesting materials. Such was the case for the Poly Archives Portrait Collection, which consists mostly of formally dressed faculty and alumni in typical poses. Amid these photographs was this gem from the 1960’s.
We just completed a successful training session with photographers from the American University in Cairo. They learned the entire process of digitizing books for Arabic Collections Online. This week, we are shipping a camera to them so that they can begin digitizing books and sending them to us for long-term preservation and publication to the ACO Web site.
Here are some images from the camera packing process. It’s quite involved due to the quality, size, and weight of the camera.
The Tamiment Library and Labor Archives have made sheet music from the Mick Moloney Irish-American Music and Popular Culture Collection available online. These songs are part of a collection that documents the Irish and Irish-American image in American popular culture during the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular emphasis on ethnic perceptions and representations. Many of the covers are beautiful. The collection was fun to digitize, and DLTS is pleased to have played its part in making these items available.