NYU Architecture Digitization Policy

Digitalization Process and Scanned Examples

Due to the project’s focus on NYU history, all scanning will done in-house and the documents scanned will be comprised of a number of genres. In keeping with the public history purpose of the site, web designers will seek to utilize a diverse selection of documents as to best show a wide range of the collection’s materials. Document types have been grouped into 5 categories: correspondence (typed), newspapers, sketches/ drawings, blueprints, and photographs. There is the possibility of other forms of documents including printed brochures and invitations to be added to the list of items to be scanned. When documents are encountered that do not fall into an existing category, a digitization policy will be drafted and recorded to advise future scanning questions.

Scanning will be done primarily by a student intern, but all finalized scans will be viewed by the project manager and compared to the original to assure the best quality image for internet viewing. This project has the possibility of expanding quickly as mini-histories of specific buildings on the Washington Square campus are added and expanded to tease out more subtle commentaries on architecture, urban renewal, historic preservation, neighborhoods, and economic history. As the project progresses additional interns or staff members may need to be added to not only write coherent historical narratives but also scan documents.

All images will be saved in both a TIFF format as well as JPEG format.

The first category of documents to be scanned contains correspondence between various administrators and contractors/ architects. Most documents are typed and so an alternate transcription will not be needed. These images will be scanned in 300dpi and in black and white. For these documents 600 dpi is not needed, and black and white color will be enough to capture the character of the document. This process will save space for other documents that will require more detail. Metadata will provide the author and recipient of the letter, date, number of pages, brief subject title, origin, and any copyright information. Scans will be saved using first the name of the building (ex. Bobst Library), the author of the letter and date. Correspondence will be saved: Bobst Library, Martin L. Beck – 1962.

The second category of documents will be comprised of newspaper articles. The Bobst Library initial construction plans in 1965 caused a fair amount of criticism from the neighboring Greenwich Village Community. Newspapers from NYU publications as well as other citywide periodicals provide an opportunity for the project to view NYU’s expansion in the 1960s with a more informed eye. These items will also be scanned at 300dpi in black and white. Most of the articles contained in this collection are not originals, but rather copies of the originals found in University Archives. Because this project is not centrally focused on providing online access to the entire collection, the decision to scan these copies has been made. This will still convey the content and tone of the articles without causing further damage to the originals. Metadata will include author, headline, name of publication, date, volume number, page number. Scans will be saved: Bobst Library, “NYU Defends Library” - 1965

Sketches and drawings primarily done by Joseph Roberto comprise the third category of documents. These items are slightly more fragile, but are still in good condition. As long as care is taken on the part of the scanner these documents should not require special treatment. Due to the special nature of these hand-drawn documents all scans will be done at 600 dpi and in color. In addition, users of the website will have the option to click on these documents to zoom in and take a closer look at the intricate details. The reasoning for a higher dpi and color is done with the hope that these sketches will be able to highlight changes in architecture planning and also the beauty behind the process. Metadata will include author, data, medium, and subject. Items will be saved: Bobst Library, Washington Square Center Sketch– 1963.

The fourth category of documents will be made up of blueprints. While there are many oversized documents in the collection, efforts will be concentrated on scanning those that are 11x17 or less. Like the hand-drawn sketches these blueprints will also be scanned at 600 dpi and in color. These documents will also have zoom capability so that site users can really get the most out of the blueprints. Every effort will be made to provide each building mini-history with a detailed blueprint of the site. Blueprints are fun to look at, provide interesting structural details, and give site users access to less-frequently encountered documents. Metadata will include author, date, building name, as well as any other source information found on the original document. Scans will be saved, Bobst Library, blueprint – 1963

The final category of documents will be comprised of photographs. Though the subjects of these photos will be varied, the size and quality are similar and in good condition. Many of the photos will be pulled from University Archives Photo Collection and Buildings Collection. These photos will highlight before construction, during, and completion of each building. This combination of three phases will accentuate change over time in the neighborhood, the physical construction process, and the completed project. All pictures will be scanned in 600 dpi and in color. These documents will also be available for zoom view. Project managers imagine that photographs will make up most of the scanned documents. The proper balance of documents and narrative text is crucial for the success of this website. While web designers will want to the keep the site visually stimulating, the abundance of available materials should not lead to a crowded and messy page. Photo metadata will include photographer, date, subject, format (contact sheet/negative), and any copyright information. Photos will be saved: Bobst Library, Construction (Interior) - 1965

On an endnote it should be the main focus of the project to scan those documents that provide a broader historical perspective on this narrow topic. While generating text for this online exhibit will be crucial, the documents should strive to stand on their own through limited interpretation and metadata. While the search function of the website is not the main feature, quality scans are a high priority for those who are using the site for their own research projects.

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