At the outset of The Crafts Study Centre (CSC) Digitisation Project extensive research was undertaken by the project photographer to determine the most appropriate method of image capture. Taking into account the requirements of the project as regards to production costs, image quality and image usage the merits of employing either traditional image capture or digital image capture were carefully considered.
The clear conclusion to this research was that digital image capture creating born digital image data via digital camera provided the best solution to meet the project objectives. The main reasons for reaching this conclusion are shown below:
Items from the CSC collection are identified by members of the project team and passed to the photographer for digitisation. Once the item has been placed in position and the appropriate lighting arranged, it is photographed by using a large format monorail camera (cambo) hosting a Betterlight digital scanning back capable of producing image file sizes of up to 137 megabytes without interpolation.
Initially a prescan is made for appropriate evaluation by the photographer. Any necessary adjustments to exposure, tone, colour, etc are then made via the camera software and then a full scan is carried out with the resulting digital image data being automatically transferred to the photographers image editing program, in this case Photoshop 6.
Final adjustments can then be made, if required and the digital image then saved and written onto CDR for onward delivery to the project database.
The main challenges in setting up this system were mostly related to issues regarding colour management, appropriate image file sizes, and standardisation wherever possible.
To this end a period of trialling was conducted by the photographer at the start of the image digitisation process using a cross section of subject matter from the CSC collection.
Identifying appropriate file sizes for use within the project and areas of the digital imaging process to which a level of standardisation could be applied was fairly straightforward, however colour management issues proved slightly more problematic but were duly resolved by careful cross-platform (Macintosh/MS Windows) adjustments and standardisation within the CSC and the use of external colour management devices.
Digitisation Project Officer
Crafts Study Centre
Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College
Image Digitisation Strategy and Technique: Crafts Study Centre Digitisation Project,
Westwood, D., QA Focus case study 09, UKOLN,
The document was published in January 2003.