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The Fowler supplied the maximum size and quality of images that they had available. They re-imaged those images that were of inferior quality (because they had been digitized when the museum first began its imaging process). All images submitted were subject to various amounts of individual sharpening and correction for color, saturation, contrast, brightness, and extraneous background objects. The images of Peruvian ceramics, chosen for the first year, were created from scratch.

In-house image preparation was done by the Director of Information Systems (the project coordinator) and an imaging technician.

George Eastman House

GEH receives film, processing, and scanning for free from Kodak. They sent all of their images as 35mm film to Kodak for scanning onto Photo-CD. The only in-house work involved converting images to JPG format (in the second year) and making corrections.


HUAM had some previous experience with scanning, but no standard procedures in place. Some of their image preparation time involved experimenting with procedures and techniques. By the second year, they had scanned images available in digital form which were technically better than those provided in the first year. The museum was able to utilize volunteers, a work-study student, and a curatorial intern, all of whom learned Photoshop and other skills to perform image preparation. Professional staff involved in image preparation included the Head of Photo Services (to train the others in Photoshop), general photo services staff, and a programmer.

By the end of the two years, HUAM scanned black and white images at 12-15 MB and color transparencies at 40-60MB for their archived images. Smaller files were then derived from these. They report "immeasurably" improved scanning and color correction skills by the end of the project.


Houston outsourced their digitizing to a local firm, along with their specifications on format. Their in-house procedures included sending the slides of the images to the Image Librarian for cleanup and remounting if necessary. A file name was assigned to each slide based on the museum accession number for the object. The slides were given to the local vendor to scan and put on CD-ROMs, which were returned to the Image Librarian to check for quality, orientation, and file name. The CD-ROMs were then reviewed by the Librarian and Electronic Communications Director (one person) before being shipped to Michigan.

Since they were new at digitizing, Houston experienced some problems in communicating with their outside vendor. They felt that they did not make the specifications clear enough, and could not get a clear answer on compression size from the vendor.

The National Gallery of Art

The NGA digitizes images in-house using primarily large-format film (8 X 10). They report only the technical staff needed for image preparation for MESL, and only to automate the process of reducing the size of the image from existing images.

The National Museum of National Art

The NMAA reports that experience gained from the first year did not necessarily pass on to the second year due to staff turnover. The project coordinator changed from the Chief of Publications and New Media to the Chief of Research and Scholars due to the departure of the original coordinator. They report that most of their scanning was outsourced to a service bureau, but some was done in-house as needed for specific projects. The staff involved in image preparation did image evaluation, preparation, and CD mastering.

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The Cost of Digital Image Distribution:
The Social and Economic Implications of
the Production, Distribution, and Usage of Image Data

By Howard Besser & Robert Yamashita