Working on the Final Project

Hi everyone,

This last week the exhibit team decided to prioritize finding a space to host our manuscript exhibit. I was in charge of getting in touch with CUAG to ask about possible spaces we would be able to use with them. This sounded relatively straightforward. On their website, they have a list of people to contact and everything appeared to be fairly simple. However, after sending emails and waiting a couple of days it became evident that no one was going to answer. I checked their open hours to see if there was a time I could stop by, however, the hours that they are open I am busy with class/work. I asked our group if someone had a time available they could drop by and luckily Veronica was able to stop in and ask about getting access to space. Veronica provided me with another email that she was told to contact to ask about possible exhibit spaces. So, I sent out another email – again with no reply. Although my efforts were unrewarded, my teammates had much better luck.

Ian had luck asking about possible spaces in the library. Veronica was in touch with the history department and was able to get us approval to use one of their display cases as well. As a group we decided to use the history department display case. After work I walked over and took pictures of the space to share with our group. We all think that it will be a very good match for our exhibit.

The next steps we are going to take is choosing which manuscripts to include in our exhibit space and providing good reasoning why. I am very excited to see what we come up with.

See you all in class!

Seminar leader blog post

Ian Kerr

Hello Everyone! This is my first week ever leading a seminar so I am more than a little nervous. Luckily for me, I have someone as experienced as Veronica as a co leader who has been well organized and well prepared since the beginning of the week, so she has been helping me get prepared to lead as well, which has been most helpful. She is also being super awesome and posting this blog on her account (for now) because I am currently having difficulties with Hcomms and am unable to post blogs to my account for whatever reason (oh technology, haha.)

With my introduction and subsequent explanation out of the way, lets move on to this week’s topic IFF aka International image interoperability framework. As I am not a very tech savvy individual (which probably explains my issues with Hcomms!) I was initially fairly overwhelmed with the idea of leading seminar conversation on a topic so digitally focused, however after doing the readings assigned for this week, I can safely say it is not so complex and confusing as it might initially seem.

So in short IFF is (to my admittedly limited technical knowledge) a digitation programing interface that allows uniformity and ease of access between many different digitation programs. This is done in order to unite the field of image digitization as well as providing a universal digitation framework that helps academics intuitions better able to access, share, upload, and annotate primary and secondary digital images.

I found learning about IFF this week to be quite fascinating, as it seemingly a huge step forward in the field of image digitization and technological advancements in general. As by having many different digitization programs and tools available in one easy to use framework, it undoubtedly increases productivity in the digitizing academic field. What I mean by this, is instead of academics each using a different image digitization program, IFF instead provides a seemingly universal interface that allows academics form all over the world to communicate, upload and share images across academic institutions with less confusion and more uniformity.

That all being said, which readings assigned for this week are most helpful in learning what IFF and Mirador are? Although I found all of the readings assigned for this week useful in explaining what these two projects are, the three works I found the most useful were: firstly the training manual explaining what the difference was between an image Api and a presentation Api. Secondly: one by Sarah Ann Long “Review: International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF); Gallica; e-Codices: Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland,”, and thirdly, was the video introduction to project matador available via YouTube. I found all of these sources did a tremendous job in expaing what these projects are in a simplistic and easy to understand manner that really helped explain what IFF and Mirdor actually are.

Finally onto the questions to consider before tomorrows class:

  1. How could/ or how do programs such as IFF and Miridor advance the field of digitation technology?
  2. What are some possible problems (technological/ digital that could arise while using IFF and Miridor? Are they both easy to use?
  3. How about older academics who are used to using certain programs, is it easy to transition to using IFF?
  4. Although IFF and Miridor are large steps forward in the field of digitization technology, what could be some possible drawbacks to using such a large interconnected framework? Technical limitations (needing to upgrade technology to be able to run IFF, bugs, limitations etc.
  5. What could be done to better clarify misconceptions about IFF? And how could they be clarified? As although the readings were very informative I found that they all presented IFF as this already complete framework or system instead of a work on progress as it clearly is right now.
  6. As IFF is already advancing the filed on digital imagery and connectivity, what could possibly be the benefits of having it universally adopted across all academic institutions? What could possibly be the future for IFF and Miridor?

Whew, this post is much longer than I intended, my apologies. I hope I have provided a simple explanation of IFF and Miridor and am looking forward to discussing these questions (and others tomorrow) with all of you in class.

 

 

 

 

 

A Crash Course in IIIF

We have finally come to a topic that has been hinted at throughout this course and, as a matter of fact, is something that we have come into contact with through our Medieval Ottawa website. As you likely know already the topic of this week is the International Image Interoperability Framework or IIIF for short.

As someone with only a vague understanding of IIIF these readings were helpful in clarifying exactly what IIIF entails. Also, the readings outline the benefits of IIIF for researchers and digital humanities projects. I suggest starting with the Intro to IIIF reading as it not only introduces you to IIIF it also explains why IIIF was created in the first place. Following this intro you will have a better understanding of IIIF when you then check out projects like the Demo Search site for IIIF images via Biblissima and the British Library’s latest project on Medieval England and France manuscripts from 700-1200 (check out all the neat images here.

There is also a section in the Intro to IIIF dedicated to API (Application Programming Interfaces) that illustrates how an Image API differs from a Presentation API. This difference comes down to the information each one provides, i.e. the Image API is the data of the image whereas the Presentation API provides data about the image. This is just a brief explanation that the readings will explain more thoroughly with pictures! I also recommend watching the IIIF Vatican video at the bottom of the Intro to IIIF page. It’s a bit long but I discovered it really clarifies the possibilities of IIIF alongside its collaborative component.

Furthermore, the readings not only define IIIF they also provide us with examples of this framework in action through Gallica, e-Codices and the Sinai Palimpsest project. Keeping in mind what you have recently learned about IIIF here are some questions to consider:

  • Look at the list of the current institutions using IIIF. Though it looks vast there is definitely room for growth. How could more institutions be encouraged to adopt IIIF? Why should more institutions use IIIF?
  • Why was there a need for IIIF in the first place? How did IIIF combat the problem facing images displayed digitally?
  • How does Gallica, e-Codices and the Sinai Palimpsest project benefit from IIIF?
  • Why might it be important to clarify that IIIF is “not a finished project but rather the steps/guides to assist in the use of digital special collections”? What might be some misconceptions about IIIF?

For our class, IIIF represents an important step forward in the field of digital history but, the benefits of IIIF stretch far beyond us. While we will eventually investigate annotating with IIIF for now at lease we understand this resource!

A Post-Seminar Reflection

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I led my final seminar for the term. I am very relieved to be finished with leading seminars as it is something I still have yet to become completely comfortable doing.

The seminar went very smoothly and it seemed as though there was a lot of engagement. In addition to discussing digital images, a lot of our conversations began to turn towards brainstorming for our final project. I felt as though I had skipped several classes because everyone was talking as though we have figured out exactly what we are doing.  We are now using Trello which is yet another app/program that I will have to become familiar with to communicate with our peers. Even though everyone is talking as though we have everything figured out, I am still not sure exactly what our final project will be (I believe this is true for everyone – unless I am VERY out of the loop despite attending every class). Matt brought up an exciting idea of interviewing everyone and compiling the footage into an exciting video we can use for publicity purposes. The trip to the history department digitization studio and the Underhill Reading Room was a nice mini field trip to end the class with.

Overall, I am happy that the majority of the online portion for our final project will be handled by the web development team. The exhibit team is for sure where I will be most comfortable. I am really looking forward to working with Veronica as a team leader – I feel as though she will be very successful in this role.  I talked briefly with her over slack about my project for next Monday. I am being placed in charge of deciding which manuscripts will be included in our exhibit. I look forward to working on this over the coming week and discussing it more with my peers. I am excited to see where we go with this project.

See you in class!

Emily

Photographing Documents

Welcome back everyone in HIST 4006! Another semester beginning means that the blogposts are due to start once again. I’m not sure how many of you recall, but in my blogpost reflecting on my seminar lead I mentioned wanting to start my preparations for my next seminar lead over the Christmas break. This unfortunately did not happen and as a result, I largely repeated the same process over again, stressing myself out the entire way! So, here is my pre-seminar blogpost.

This week we will be discussing photographing and digitizing documents. Our readings focused on a variety of topics from types of images to various digital technologies that can be used to capture these photos.

Our readings went over the definition and intended use for the file types TIFF, GIF, JPG, RAW, BMP and PSD/PSP. They highlighted the pros and cons of each, as well as detailing the various compression capacities each file format is capable of. The readings also discussed things to keep in mind when undertaking a digitization project including costs, legal issues, research, and preservation techniques among other things.

There are two types of compressions that were discussed in the readings: lossless and lossy. Lossless is a compression format that discards no information, whereas lossy is a format that accepts some loss of information in order to have smaller file sizes.

We were required to watch an assortment of videos this week as well, which explained various functions of some of the high-tech scanners that are available at some institutions. In addition to the scanners, some of the videos were propaganda that institutions were using to spread the word about their digitization efforts to a wider audience. Some of these were done successfully, and I found to be very interesting, while others were quite dry.

Some questions to consider for class tomorrow:

  • RAW images are commonly not compatible when switching between devices. Do you believe these are a valuable resource to consider when photographing documents? Why/Why not?
  • Some of the videos we were required to watch for class today, despite attempting to gather interest into digitization initiatives, were quite dry. What are some things about these videos that we should aim to avoid in our publicizing practices for our own exhibit? What are some things we maybe should consider adopting?
  • One of the articles we were required to read today stated that a large aim of the project they were working on was to bring access to these documents to audiences outside of academia to read ‘in coffee shops or on the bus’. Do you think this is something people will actually do? If not, what are some ways these institutions can encourage people to take interest in these documents?

 

See you all in class,

EJG.