Digitizing the Collection

As part of the larger and ongoing Georgia HomePLACE project, The Digital Library of Georgia provides online access to most of the approximately 18,000 images from the Georgia Archives' Vanishing Georgia collection. These image reproductions are designed to meet general reference needs, and they include accompanying metadata based on the original cataloging of the Georgia Archives with fields added by The Digital Library of Georgia.

Gathered through a special project to find and copy photographs that individuals presented to archivists at public sessions, the images in Vanishing Georgia were created from the original photographs. The original photographs were returned to the donors at the collection site. In essence, the Vanishing Georgia negatives housed at the Georgia Archives represent photographs of photographs.

Through a contractor, JJT of Austin, Texas, The Digital Library of Georgia has created images from those negatives. The contractor scanned sets of digital images with a resolution of 7500 x 7600 pixels. They cropped a certain amount of extraneous area from the digital image, (often the copy table could be seen in the image), and made any necessary tonal corrections to the scanned images.

Tonality of the images was adjusted using standard techniques to generate close visual matches between the digital and original images on a properly calibrated monitor. Scratches, spots, or other blemishes present in the negatives remain as they are, resulting in a true and uncorrected image of the original negative. Many of the donor's original photographs had been stored without climate control, pasted in acidic scrapbooks, or kept in other less-than-ideal conditions. The original photographs represented by the negatives often were in various states of deterioration at the time they were copied. Mold, tearing, water marks, fading and other damage are all visible. Nothing has been retouched for online presentation.

From this master image, JJT created three types of derivative images: a 72 dpi jpeg image approximately 600 pixels wide on the long dimension, a 72 dpi 150-200 pixel wide jpeg thumbnail, and a MrSID (Multi-resolution Seamless Image Database) image with the same resolution as the master image. These derivatives are the image files presented in the database. The main presentation image, requested by clicking on the thumbnail, is the 600 pixel wide jpeg. The MrSID format image also is available. The MrSID image allows the user to quickly move from one part of the image to another and to zoom in or out on any portion of the image.

Along with the images, every record is wrapped in metadata created by data entry at The Digital Library of Georgia. The metadata includes the Georgia Archives' original cataloging and unique identifier along with several fields added to the record by The Digital Library of Georgia. For access, The Digital Library of Georgia created the descriptive image titles represented in the "Descriptive Title" field or used captions transcribed directly from information imprinted on the images represented as "Original Caption." The information in the "Description" field is transcribed directly from the Georgia Archives cataloged records or field notes. In order to provide subject access to the images, broad subject headings were assigned to all images, based on a combination of determinations by the Georgia Archives and The Digital Library of Georgia. The Digital Library of Georgia added supplemental terms as Library of Congress Subject Headings when necessary. Additionally, when deemed appropriate for accessibility, The Digital Library of Georgia added names as recorded in the Library of Congress Name Authority File. The Digital Library of Georgia also added the information included in the "Additional Information" field when it was necessary to clarify or amplify information included in the Georgia Archives original description.