[University of Sydney] [State Library of NSW] [National Library of Australia] [Monash University]

Australian Cooperative Digitisation Project, 1840-45


The project falls into nine stages: selection of items, conservation preparation of items, preservation microfilming to Australian and international standards, preservation digitisation of microfilm to .TIF image files, conversion of selected microfilm to ASCII text, design and implementation of document control structure and interface, design and provision of network delivery system, documentation and training, and preservation storage of microfilm masters and master digital data files.

1. Selection of items

All known copies of published items meeting the project criteria will be identified. Criteria will be established for choosing the "best" copy for preservation microfilming and digitisation as appropriate to their physical format. Other processes include choosing the "best" copy from the participating collections, collation, performing necessary bibliographic and integrity checks and controls.

2. Conservation preparation

Correct preparation of the items prior to preservation microfilming to ensure minimal disturbance to the original is a critical stage of the process. Problems such as tight bindings, paper condition, print peculiarities are among those that need to be considered. Proper handling at this stage will enable an efficient production process to take place in preservation microfilming/preservation digitisation. Items from Sydney University and Monash University will be transported to the State Library of New South Wales. The National Library of Australia will prepare their own items. Processes include preparation of conservation specification and standards, documentation, flattening, cleaning, repair of minor tears and binding structures (as needed).

3. Preservation microfilming to relevant Australian and international Standards

In choosing a hybrid preservation and access strategy for the selected items this project recognises the needs of current and future scholars for this material. Preservation microfilm storage and electronic access gives fast retrieval and secure archival retention of information. Preservation microfilming is inexpensive, has established standards for format, processing and archival storage, and meets legal retention requirements. It is an excellent solution for longterm archive requirements. And, with the advent of the hybrid approach, it has the additional advantage of being integrated with electronic imaging systems.

In preservation microfilming stage, three silverhalide sets will be created (a master negative, a duplicate negative and a positive copy). These eyereadable master copies can be maintained for an estimated five hundred years and as they are computerindependent can be used as a source for remastering and or redigitising throughout their life.

4. Preservation digitisation

The primary purpose of this stage is quite simple: to create an electronic image of the each microfilm frame that can be automatically stored and retrieved like a paper document that is stored and retrieved using a manual filing system. Digital bitmapped images of each page will be scanned from the duplicate negative microfilm at approximately 400dpi, 8bit greyscale. This level of resolution and greyscale is sufficient to capture all significant detail in the printed materials. Processes include developing technical specifications and procedures, contracting of digitisation (including quality control), production of c.125,000 uncompressed TIF digital files. Compressed files will also be created using compression algorithms, such as JPEG or equivalent, which will allow fast delivery of compressed images across networks. Compression specifications will be developed as part of design of aspects of document design and delivery.

5. Document Control Structure and Interface

After the image has been digitised it is tagged with identifying information so that it can be located quickly when requested. The images will be indexed into a document architecture that retains the original structure in a form that is accessible and searchable across networks. The design of this document structure/architecture is one of the most important aspects of this project, as this is how users will access particular documents. The specification of this design of this specification will rely on standards in a document definition (such as the Berkeley Document Type Definition) and advice from the academic advisers in the Academic Advisory Group. Design work will also proceed on a networked interface to the digital library. These designs will also take into account the needs for further conversion to facilitate the OCR programs to be used for the fiction items, and to provide options for other valueadded formats including CDROM, print reproduction, or further translation to other textural encoding [programs.

6. Conversion of selected items to ASCII text (OCR)

Monash University will convert the images of selected fiction items to ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) text, through use Page-Keeper (Omnipage) and ISYS Search software. This will facilitate machinereadable textural analysis in parallel with the bitmapped images. It is envisaged that both the image and the ASCII text will appear together on the product

7. Network and System

The network platform for this database will be provided through the National Library of Australia's server (though the developing National Document Information Service (NDIS) may be a future platform). Design specifications will need to be developed with a client focus for searching via this platform. As a networking platform, costs of storage are included as part of this project budget. Contingencies and back-up in terms of access and storage include optical storage at SLNSW (costed in budget) providing, as a distribution option and contingency the creation of CDROM. The option to create CD-ROM also adds an income option for the product of the project. Use of CDROM, while easy to reproduce and distribute, does not provide the kind of access this project envisages as central to its purpose. Each partner will be provided with an appropriate PC and printer to ensure a consistent platform for the development and design of products from the project (costed)

8. Documentation and training

The final system will be documented through the design and delivery of one or more competencybased training packages, including the provision of print and online options. Training in the use of the system will be provided to the participating partners through accredited trainers.

9. Preservation storage of microfilm masters and master digital data files

To ensure the longterm preservation of the preservation microfilm masters, storage at low temperature and relative humidity in inert containers will be required. These storage facilities currently exist and are used for the storage of microfilm masters from the State Library of NSW and the National Library of Australia. It is envisaged that microfilm masters from this project will be stored at both locations. Although lowresolution "thumbnail" images of the items may be created for rapid image identification and selection purposes, optical storage will be used as the preservation medium for the uncompressed master digital data files. The use of 1.3 Gigabyte optical storage media configured in a 16 disk subsystem to give 20.8Gb capacity (upgradable to 41Gb) is costed both for this purpose, and as the contingency described in 7, above.

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Last updated 5 February 1996.