Version 1.0, completed 03/31/08 by Kelli Anderson

















Using AMNH #32884 as an example image that needs to be digitized:

First, search Disktracker to ensure that we don't already have the image(s) scanned.

1.) SEARCH DISKTRACKER After launching Disktracker, hit (Command + F) or go to Search > Find to launch search input field.

2.) Assess Results Disktracker will indicate "no results" if that image number does not appear on any of the disks.
If results do appear, click on one or all to see on which disk they fall.  A prefix of ai=archival image, sf=service file, and rb=rare book.  (Note that "sc" indicates only special collections on the disks, and will not be helpful n locating the disk in the drawers.)  For more information on the contents of the drawers, refer to "Contents of the Special Collections filing Cabinets."



3.) Retrieve and Verify/Correct Image If the image wasn't found, then it will need to be scanned.  If the image was found and the scan is in compliance with the standards as specified in this document, proceed to correct it (step 3.)




1.) Clean and Prepare Clean the scanner bed at lest once a week with Windex wipes.  Ensure glass is completely dry before setting a negative on the bed.  Only use the horsehair brush to remove dust from the negatives by gently sweeping it across the front and back of the negative.  Always turn on the scanner before launching the Epson Scan software.

Negatives should always be scanned emulsion-side down (facing glass.)  To determine which side is the emulsion-side, hold the negative perpendicular to a light source and locate the side that appears to be more matte.  This is the emulsion side.  Eradicate dust on both sides of the negative and the scanner glass with the horsehair brush before placing the negative on the scanner bed.  Plastic film negatives should be placed directly on the scanner glass.  If curling occurs, use the pane of anti-newton ring glass to flatten it.  Glass plate negatives should always be placed atop the anti-newton ring glass and not directly on the scanner bed glass, which scratches easily.



2.) Set Scan Settings In Epson Scan, choose these settings:
Document Type: Usually this will be "Film (with Film Area Guide.)"  If scanning several 35mm negatives or slides, it is advantageous to use one of the plastic negative holders. In this rare case, the setting "Film (with holder)" should be selected.
Film Type: This will usually be "B&W Negative Film" — change as needed.
Image Type: "16-bit Grayscale" for back and white images and "48-bit Color" for color images.
Scanning Quality: Always choose "Best."

Hit "Preview button at bottom to Preview image before scanning.



3.) Make Selection and Correct Exposure Make a selection just within the bounds of the image to be scanned (excluding the negative edge.)

Hit "Auto Exposure" button at bottom left of panel.  This will bring the image into the correct tonal ballpark — although the image is typically a bit over-saturated and has a bit too much contrast.  Small tweaks can be made using the "Image Adjustment" sliders.

4.) Exposure Fine-tuning Hit the "Image Adjustment" button to launch adjustment sliders.  (It lives to the right of the "Auto Exposure" button.) "Auto Exposure" almost always leave the image with too much contrast and saturation.  Normally, I need to turn down the contrast substantially and then compensate for the highlights by increasing the brightness.

Ensure that you are capturing the full range of tones present in the original negative — and that the darkest darks and the lightest lights are not disappearing.  In general, it is better to err on the side of too little contrast (flatness) in this step than to lose tones.
























5.) Set Resolution Resolution/Image Size: resolution and file size (MB) have a directly proportional relationship (>res =>MB.)  Resolution should be adjusted until the correct file size (MB) is reflected. (This can be approximate.)



The larger the physical negative, the more information that negative can hold.  Subsequently, larger physical negatives should be scanned at larger file sizes (MB.) The idea is to capture all of the information held on a negative, but not more (doing so would waste space on the server.)

Recommended file size (based on Nara's guidelines -- they list guidelines for color only.):
Color Images:               
If these color images were converted to Grayscale in Photoshop, they would
be roughly 1/3 of the color scanned size, which translates to:
35mm
120 (square)
120 (6x4.5)
120 (6x9)
3.25x4
4x5
5x7
6x8
8x10
50 MB
80 MB
60 MB
90 MB
102 MB
135 MB
178.5 MB
216 MB
240 MB
35mm
120 (square)
120 (6x4.5)
120 (6x9)
3.25x4
4x5
5x7
6x8
8x10
17 MB
27 MB
20 MB
30 MB
34 MB
45 MB
59.5 MB
72 MB
80 MB

6.) Uncheck Unsharp Mask Ensure that "Unsharp Mask" is NOT selected.  We will have a chance to sharpen images with a higher degree of control in Photoshop.

7.) Make Selection Adjust the selection area to include the entire image, including a comfortable margin of the unexposed negative as well (to ensure all edges of the photographic content are intact.)

Be sure to include the edged/perimeter of the glass plate if the image is on glass.

The most efficient way to readjust the selection is to click and drag opposite corners.  Dragging the bottom right corner will enable simultaneous adjustment to the bottom and righthand margin. 

8.) File Name/Location  Hit Scan,  The "File Save Settings" window will automatically pop up.

Choose the file folder location for this image by clicking on the "Choose" button (this setting will be remembered between scans — so if you are scanning a batch to the same folder, it will not need to be reconfigured.)

Our file names will always be numbers — named according to the image's AMNH negative number.  The "Start Number" for the File Nae must always be exactly 3 digits.  therefore, if the AMNH negative number is 6 digits long, the first "Prefix" box gets the first 3 digits.  If the AMNH negative number is 5 digits long, the "Prefix box" gets the first 2 digits.
The "Start Number" box automatically advances +1 with every scan.  There fore, if consecutive AMNG negative numbers are being scanned, the file name does not need to be retyped/updated following each scan.

Image format should always be set to TIFF.

Epson scan will automatically add a zero if no prefix is entered.  However, the database system will reject any image that starts with a zero.  Therefore, if you are scanning 3-digit image numbers, be sure to manually remove the zero prefix prior to upload.


1.) PREPARE  Since negatives are scanned emulsion side-down, all  images will need to be flipped horizontally. Once flipped, no more flipping should be done — only rotating.

use the crop tool to simultaneously fine-tune the cropping and the rotation of the image.  Be sure to preserve a border of at least 3% of the total image dimension around the perimeter pf the negative (or glass plate) to keep edge information intact.
2.) Correct tone (and then color if applicable.)

1. Try Auto-levels (command + L and then choose Auto" and assess the results, fine-tuning  accordingly.
2.) Correct for anomalies (light leaks, very uneven lighting) using adjustment layers and then flatten those layers.
3.) If image has too much contrast, adjust accordingly, using the "Brightness/Contrast" sliders.
4.) Determine what area of the tonal range needs more definition.  Generally, it will be the lightest lights and the darkest darks, which can be corrected using the "Shadow/Highlight" tool (use very conservatively — bring out as much information as possible without excessive flattening.)  If the mid-tonal-rang needs more distribution, adjust the curves (command + M.0 The tonal range of most images are improved with a slight s-curve.

If Color:
5. Correct color by launching "Color Balance" (command + B.) I you are working from color slide film (positive film) check your colors against the original on the light table.  Often positive film will turn red with age, so be wary of this variation.  Images captured from scanners are usually over-saturated.  Compensate y launching the "He/Saturation"slider (command + U.)

3.) Sharpen
Zoom in to view the image 1:1 and launch "Unsharp Mask" window (useful to assign a custom key command to this one.) For most images at this resolution, a radius of 1.3 pixels is appropriate.  Adjust slider until you see a slight (not dramatic) sharpening (it is helpful to be looking at an area that has the finest detail and highest contrast, as these areas tend to "over"- sharpen first.)  Be conservative in sharpening, it is irreversible.

4.) Spot-tone
The most efficient tool for quickly eliminating small spots (due to dust, scratches, conservation issues, or in-camera debris) is the Spot-Healing tool, set t about 30 px.  The Spot Haling tool works well except for the occasional problem near the edges.  If the Spot Healing Brush is not working for a particular area, switch over to the clone stamp, which offers a higher degree of cloning control.

What to correct and what not to correct…

I generally adjust my zoom to 50% and adjust all distracting. highly visible defects.  All dust and scratches are repaired with two exceptions:
a.) plentiful dust/dirt around edges of image frame.  If they do not interfere with the contet/focus of the image and are too plentiful/dense to efficiently eradicate, they are best left alone.
b.) large cracks that are difficult to correct without overwriting some portion of the original image.  Small cracks and cracks that do not overlap important content are always corrected, as this can be easily done without risk of overwriting important details.*

5.) Convert Convert 16-bit/channel to 8-bit/channel.

* How to handle Newton Rings in scans:
Newton rings occassionally appears on scans (generally on the newer film negatives in areas of little detail — where the negatives are very thin.)  When this occurs, the negative may need to be rescanned, depending on the severity of the rings and whether they overlap detailed areas.

• If the film is flat enough to be rescanned without glass compressing it downward, rescan in this manner.  This should alleviate most of the Newton rings.
• If the moire patterns are minimal enough and confined to areas of less detail, they may be cloned out.
• Difficult moire patterns or patterns on important negatives should be outsourced for drum scanning.


6.)  Save
Ensure your .tif file is flattened before saving (has no layers.) Ensure "Embed Color Profile: Adobe RGB (1998)" is selected on the save menu. On the "Tiff Options" window, select "None" under Image Compression, "interleaved" under Pixel Order and "IBM PC" under Byte Order.

Calibrating Monitor with Eye-One software/hardware

NARA recommends calibrating the monitor once a month.

For the Eizo monitor, use the Eizo Colornavigator software in conjunction with the Eye-One hardware for calibration.
For all other monitored, use the Eye-One software.

1.) Choose 95K from pull-down menu.

2.) Choose 6500K in temperature slider.

3.) Gamma curve: 2.2.

4.) Initialize Eye-One by placing it down against the desk (or any other opaque surface) as instructed.




Before being uploaded onto the database, all images must be run through Adobe Bridge to receive standard metadata that will travel with the image.  This metadata carries our standard copyright information along with the image number for identification purposes.

1.)  PREP IMAGES  Ensure that all images are flattened into one "Background" layer, are 8-bit images, and have no zeros as prefixes.  Otherwise, the database will reject the image and it will not be uploaded.


2.)  OPEN IMAGES IN BRIDGE  Launch Adobe Bridge.  Within Bridge, you can navigate to the image(s) that you will be uploading.  Click through the file folders just as you would in the Finder.



3.)  SELECT Select the images that need Metadata applied.  Normally this will include all images within a folder, so hit Command+A to select all or drag the mouse over all of the images in the window.



4.)  APPEND METADATA  Add our standard copyright information by selecting Tools > "StandardAdmin."  For project specific Metadata (for instance for the METRO project), select the standard metadata for that project. 




5.)  ADD FILENAME TO METADATA  This step adds the given filename of the image to the metadata.  This way, if a future user changes the image name, the image number can be retrieved by viewing the image metadata.


When finished, Bridge does not require a save, simply quit out of the application.

1.)  DUPLICATE ARCHIVAL IMAGES  Create a new folder within your archival image folder called "service."  Select all of the archival images and hold down option as you drag them into the new cropped folder.  This will create duplicates with the same file names. 
2.)  CROP OUT EDGES  Open the images from the "service" folder in Photoshop.  Use the crop tool to select only the image and no edges.  You want to include as much of the image as possible and none of the edges.
3.)  RENAME SERVICE IMAGES  After all of the images in a group (folder) have been cropped, they must receive the suffix "_s" so that the file name read "image#_s.tif" which corresponds to the archival image naming convention of "image#.tif".  These images will be identified and paired up according to these naming conventions, so it is important that there are no typos.  Rather than typing the "_s"'s by hand, it is best to use a file renaming application that works out of the Finder.  I recommend File List because it is free and easy to use.  From the Finder, drag all of the cropped service files into the left side of File List.  Set the options as shown at right to add the prefix "_s."  Hit the play button to change all of the file names.
4.)  UPLOAD TO DATABASE  Archival Images and Service images must be uploaded together (on the same day.)  The database uploads all images in the middle of the night.  When it runs, there must be a matching Archival and Service image in the queue for the image upload to be successful.