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|Building the Digital Collections|
The France in America digital collection currently comprises multiple formats from throughout the collections of the Library of Congress and its partner institution, the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The collection includes printed matter in French, English and other languages, some with foldout illustrations or maps; handwritten manuscript material; pictorial material; and bound and unbound cartographic materials. The variety of original formats required specialized digitization for each format and scanning and post-processing contributions from many members of the Digital Conversion Group. The production of this digital collection proceeded under format digitization standards as developed by the Library of Congress’s American Memory program. Specific scanning information is provided for each format.
The Bibliothèque nationale de France digitized materials from its collections according to their specifications. The Web site, metadata, and digital image files are stored at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and are under its management.
All online items are described and searchable individually in a bibliographic record database using MARC and non-MARC record cataloging. The mechanism for the technical aspects of the cooperation between the Library of Congress and Bibliothèque nationale de France is a “metadata exchange approach” whereby metadata for materials in both institutions exist on both sites and point to image presentations that reside only on the respective institution sites. The image presentations are linked through persistent URLs provided in the metadata.
Specifications for Library of Congress Digitization:
General Collections: Selected items contain textual pages (with typography and line art) were scanned as 300 dots-per-inch (dpi) bitonal images in the TIFF format and converted using ITU Group IV compression. Reference images in GIF format were created for quick online access. These images were derived from the archive files during the post-processing phase of production.
Rare Book and Special Collections: Selected items include printed halftone illustrations, finely detailed line drawings, or pages with significant color, including book covers. All pages were digitized as 300 dpi, 24-bit RGB color images to capture the physical nature and age of the material. Reference images in GIF format and higher quality images in JPEG format were created for quick online access. These images were derived from the archive files during the post-processing phase of production.
Several books in the collection also contain oversized foldout illustrations or maps. These pages were treated and prepared for scanning by the Library’s Conservation Division, procedures that required them to be unfolded and flattened.
These handwritten materials were scanned in 24-bit RGB color in order to capture and display a wide range of tonal variations, from those in the document paper to diverse qualities of pencil and ink.
Reference images in GIF format and higher quality images in JPEG format were created for quick online access. These images were derived from the archive files during the post-processing phase of production.
The TIFF files were compressed, using MrSID, a wavelet-based image compressing software.
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