Staten Island Digitization Policy With Sample Documents



This photograph is an example of the types of images likely to be found in this project, and serves as a model for digitization. It is a photograph taken in 2003 of the Fresh Kills Landfill, which although closed, has had a major effect on the ecology of Staten Island. It was a center of debate in the past, and will remain so for years to come, especially with the recent decision to turn it into a park. Unfortunately, there is no image that can explain environmental movements on Staten Island. Images like this, which show the landscape or ecosystems in question, or images of environmental activism, are likely to make up the majority of images for the whole project. It is important for images like this to have an explanatory statement or paragraph to inform users as to why they were chosen and their significance in terms of Staten Island environmentalism.
This photograph was originally scanned as a TIFF file at 600 dots per inch (dpi hereafter), which serves as the “archival” copy. After this, it was copied into Microsoft Paint and resaved as a JPEG file. This copy, significantly smaller than the TIFF version, will be used on the website. In terms of metadata, the photographer, studio, date and title will all be listed above the image. Below the photograph, any information written on the back of the photo will be listed, and if necessary, brackets will be used to indicate the location. Finally, citation information and the location of the original image will be posted. Search terms will be fairly general, and are in this case easy to determine. The location and subjects of photographs will be listed (Landfill, Photographer Larry Racioppo) enabling either a general or specific search to locate an image. If possible, a thumbnail image will be available on the website, which will then lead to the larger JPEG. Users can then either look at the image in a normal view, or have it blown up to its actual size. It time and labor permits, it would also be nice to provide a grayscale version for the slowest computers.

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Written Documents


This newsletter serves as an example of a written document. Because it is typed it will not require a transcription, but if it was handwritten it would be transcribed in full. This could serve the dual purpose of making the document easily readable and quickly searchable, by either a search engine or the users themselves. Newsletters like this could be placed in chronological order, permitting users to trace the development of this group in particular and the environmental movement on Staten Island in general. Like with the photographs, it was scanned as a TIFF at 600 dpi and later changed to a JPEG file. Because the creators and dates are already listed, there will be less metadata to provide than with photos. Citation information and the location of the original image, as well as a link to the next page of the newsletter, will again be below the scan. Newsletters would be grouped together in some way to ensure that users would locate the entire document together as opposed to finding individual pieces. A simple read-through will enable a worker to locate important names and subjects, which can serve as search terms. This newsletter is somewhat old and quite short, but later newsletters can be handled in much the same way. Because color is not an issue for these papers, it is possible that they can all be provided as grayscale or black and white, which would save considerable space and time.

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Newspaper Example:


Newspapers like this are somewhat different from other written documents in terms of the information they provide and the information users need to know while viewing them. This article, for example, was paired with a photograph, which originally was above the article. The fact that it was moved for easier scanning and viewing would need to be made apparent to the users. In addition, the title of the newspaper, the date, and the page are all crucial pieces of information that would be listed above the article. Again, location and citation information would be below the image. Once more, it was scanned as a TIFF and converted to a JPEG, but could be presented as a grayscale because of the lack of color in the original. No transcription is necessary, and search terms can be located by reading the article and caption and taking important pieces of information. The article and image here were both on the same page, but if they were on two different pages, they would be presented as two separate images and placed with one another in order. It may be necessary to provide users with some sort of explanatory paragraph if the purpose of the article is not clear. If so, it would be presented before the article to provide the user with contextual information.

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Book Example


This serves as an example of a scan from a page of a book which could be used in this project. The book concerns natural areas of Staten Island as it was when the book was written, over a hundred years ago, and seems useful to understanding how much has changed. Researchers or users would need to know the author, publisher, date, and any copyright information concerning the book. In addition, the book would need to be placed in context to make it clear why this particular item was included in the collection. A introductory paragraph or essay could serve this purpose. This particular type of scan is particularly useful, as it shows the texture of the page, including the folds, and also shows the contents of the connected pages to some extent. This allows the scan to be as true to the original as possible, and provides users with as authentic an experience as technology will allow. Search terms can be derived from a simple read-through to ascertain important topics or subjects. In some cases, Google Books may have already digitized the text desired for this project. if this is so, the project can provide a direct link to that book, ensuring that we would not have to scan the material ourselves. This would save time and effort while still permitting users to see the information that they would like.

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