The $5,000 Do-It-Yourself Digitization Project

On April 18, we held our first free seminar in the new studios. It was an interesting mix of staff from historical and fine art museums, both large and small, and freelancers including a curator, conservator, 2 archivists, a graphic artist, and 3 visual artists, working in various media. An overview of the potential and limitations of a digitization project like this was given, along with a list of equipment needed – coming in at just a hair under $5,000. Metadata, object types, different methods of scanning, and setting up goals and processes were reviewed. After lunch in the sun on the roof garden, a demonstration of the digitization process using a daguerreotype and a tintype was set up. The importance of Master Files was discussed and there was a demonstration of image adjustment in Photoshop.

The digitization of collections is of growing importance to arts and historical institutions. It is used to organize collections; for information storage of all kinds on each object, from physical information to provenance to exhibition history; as the first step in organizing an online database for scholars and museum visitors; and for publication of the collection.

This is the first in a series of free seminars geared towards the digital needs of the staff of museums and large collections. If you are interested in seeing a repeat of this seminar or have an interest in learning about other topics in digitization, please let me know.

In the meantime, we are preparing for our next free seminar on the last 3 years of digital printing. It will be geared towards fine art and commercial photographers.


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