About the Project
In 1994, Clifford Baldowski began to donate his cartoon collection to the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. By 1999, Baldowski had donated approximately 3,000 cartoons and willed his remaining collection of approximately 4,000 cartoons to the Russell Library. Baldowski’s cartoons, dating from 1946 to 1982, depicted the local, national and international news of his day in the editorial pages of the Augusta Chronicle and the Atlanta Constitution. His work is a valuable source for those studying the Civil Rights Movement, political activities in Georgia and the growth of Atlanta, Watergate and other national issues as well as the Cold War, the Vietnam conflict, and Middle East tensions.
In response to this important gift, the Russell Library began a project to preserve the original cartoons and make them available for research both at the repository and online. In preparation for the project, archivists at the Russell Library consulted institutions including the National Archives, John F. Kennedy Library, the National Archives of Canada, Ohio State University, and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Once the cartoons were housed according to archival preservation standards, each one was microfilmed and scanned. Researchers are encouraged to view the online versions of the cartoons instead of the originals. Since technology rapidly changes, and digital preservation does not yet have widely accepted standards, archivists do not consider scanning a viable means of long-term preservation. Instead, microfilming is recognized as the preservation standard.
The cartoons are filmed following archival standards on 35 mm black and white, silver halide FUJI HR II PT125 film with a Recordak Microfilm camera. A standard reduction ratio has not been used for the project; rather, the cartoons have been reduced to fit a 35 mm frame size. After test shooting to determine the optimum dynamic range, exposures were bracketed at -1, 0, and +1. Film is developed in-house. The processors are tested daily using the methylene blue test to ensure archival-quality processing.
In order to allow researchers the best and most efficient use of this collection, the staff created catalog records to identify the people, organizations, and topics in each cartoon. Each MARC record contains a physical description of the original cartoon including a narrative of the action taking place in the cartoon.
Title: The title of each cartoon is its caption. If a caption does not exist, a short descriptive phrase of the subject matter of the cartoon is enclosed in square brackets and acts as the title i.e. [Baldowski cartoon on . . .]. For some cartoons, staff identified the published title of the cartoon. If the published title differs from the title provided on the original cartoon, the new title is included as an alternate title with a note of explanation. Staff has only consulted the published versions of a small percentage of the cartoons. This portion of the descriptive project is ongoing.
Date: If Baldowski included a date on the original cartoon, the date is recorded. If no date appears on the cartoon, staff will either provide a date based on research of the topical nature of the cartoon or on the date of the publication of the cartoon in the newspaper. If a date appears in square brackets, it has been provided through research.
Abstract: The narrative description of the cartoon contains all figures and iconography in the cartoon. All of Baldowski’s labeling of characters or objects in the cartoon are recorded. If additional, contextual information may be necessary for the analysis of the cartoon, an "explanatory note" has been added.
Subject Headings: Staff used Library of Congress Subject Headings and the Library of Congress Name Authority Fields for providing subject access to the cartoons. Names not found within Library of Congress Name Authority Fields were formed according to Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2 Revised and Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts.
To provide online access, Digital Library of Georgia staff scanned the preservation microfilm using a Polaroid SprintScan 35 Plus film scanner to create 300 dpi grayscale images with a bit depth of 8. The non-bracketed exposure was scanned to provide the proper tonal range.
The original scans are LZW compressed TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) format files. The LZW compression is a lossless compression. At the point of scanning, staff adjusted the white point to compensate for grayness from the film and darkening of the original due to the paper's acid content. Occasionally after scanning, staff manually adjusted brightness and contrast. These high-resolution TIFF images are retained by the Russell Library and the Digital Library of Georgia for archival purposes.
As the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Augusta Chronicle hold copyright to the Baldowski cartoons, the Russell Library chose to publish each image with a watermark, a copyright and use statement, and the cartoon's locally assigned inventory number. Using a batch process in PhotoShop, staff converted the duplicates of the original grayscale TIFFs to RGB images and added a red logo for the repository. The copyright and use statement and cartoon numbers were added to each cartoon. Derivative 72 dpi grayscale thumbnail GIF images with maximum height of 150 pixels were produced from the original archival TIFFs using a batch process in PhotoShop. Staff used Graphic Workshop to scale the stamped TIFFs by 25 percent to create 72 dpi JPEG images.
Access to the scanned cartoons and their descriptive and contextual information is available at the Russell Library online through the state-wide GALILEO (GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online) system, a World Wide Web database server sponsored by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. As with all Digital Library of Georgia databases, the Baldowski Editorial Cartoon database is available to all users.
The Baldowski Editorial Cartoon database has been subjected to the extensive review and evaluation process required for all GALILEO databases. Each new database is first tested and evaluated by project staff and the GALILEO Director of Virtual Library Development for design and functionality. It is then announced as a demonstration database to the GALILEO Reference Subcommittee composed of reference librarians from university, school and public libraries throughout the state. This group reviews the prototype database with their varied constituencies in mind, consulting other professionals as appropriate and making recommendations for adjustments and improvements. At this point the internal review is complete, and the database is announced and made available to all GALILEO users.
After a new database goes into production there are additional avenues for ongoing evaluation. Every major GALILEO screen includes a "leave a comment" button which any GALILEO user can employ to communicate with GALILEO central-office staff. Feedback concerning the Baldowski Editorial Cartoon database is routed back to project staff at the University of Georgia and its partner institutions for their consideration. In addition to this direct method of evaluation, GALILEO also collects use statistics and conducts annual user surveys. This information is available to all GALILEO users at www.usg.edu/galileo/ and will be used by project staff to monitor the amount and type of use received by the Baldowski Editorial Cartoon database.