MIT Media Source

Justification

The Media Source project (phase I) will create a digital archive of historical photographs from the MIT Museum’s archives, including a web database of thumbnail images. This first phase will gather and present raw materials and demonstrate the value of professional classification for future enhancements.

The following image types and sizes are included within the scope of this project as recommended by the Library of Congress: preservation quality (300 dpi 10:1 jpeg) and access-quality images (72dpi 20:1 jpeg) for black-and-white, sepia, and color images from 2″ x 3″ to 8″ x 11″. Access-quality images only for 35mm and lantern slides. Larger images are not within the scope of this project.

Description

The project team will work with stakeholders to identify the most requested images of people, events, and themes. We will scan and store high-quality digital copies of these images and create web-accessible thumbnails. Images without copyright clearance will be scanned and stored for future rights negotiations. Only cleared photos will be web-accessible. Requests for digital copies will be supported during this phase by the project team.

We will create a web-accessible database so that 5 concurrent users may browse thumbnails and receive instructions for acquiring full-resolution copies, as either digital files or photographic prints.

All information provided with the original image will be entered into the database. Although classification is not included within the scope of phase I, the database will be designed with the capacity for up to 99 fields of searchable data. The images should be considered raw material for future professional classification.

Deliverables (proposed)

  • Consultation with professional image archivist to make sure that all designs support future development of archive.
  • Image capture process researched and designed (storage and browsing resolutions) based on Library of Congress standards, or other criteria.
  • Hardware/software design, purchase, set-up.
  • Initial setup and prototype of database and web interface.
  • Images entered, theme-by-theme.
  • Identity design implemented throughout.
  • Second prototype with sample records completed.
  • Robust and fully-functioning system developed.
  • Test with 5 concurrent users.
  • Analysis and conclusions including blueprint for future phases.
  • Archived project plan and set of progress reports.

Project team (proposed)

Project stakeholders

  • Director, MIT Museum
  • Dean of Students
  • Director, MIT News Office
  • Acting Head, MIT Archives
  • Associate Director, MIT Libraries
  • Associate Provost
  • Director MIT Video Productions

Project manager

Jay Collier. Develops process design. Prepares workstation and database system. Maintains web interface. Tracks progress.

Project archivist

MY. Identifies, retrieves, delivers, and return photos. Verifies database entry. (To be determined: assigns attributes to the photos.)

Project assistant

KK. Scans photos. Enters accompanying text into database. Maintains file directory.

Milestones

Preparation/Design

  • Project team kick-off.
  • Prepare scope statement, timeline, budget.
  • Complete resource interviews: MIT Libraries, WGBH Media Resource Center.
  • Consult professional image archivist to verify basic design supports future academic development of archive.
  • Hardware/software design, purchase, set-up, location preparation.
  • Image capture process researched (storage and browsing resolutions) based on Library of Congress standards, American Standards for Image Annotation (ANPA) or other criteria.
  • Rank themes (people, places, subjects) to be processed with stakeholders, based on existing categories at Museum.
  • Clarify goal: wide variety of themes (20 images for 250 themes, or fewer themes more exhaustively researched (50 images for 100 themes).
  • Initial setup and prototype of database and web interface. Identity design implemented throughout.

Image capture

  • Images identified, analyzed for content and aesthetics, packaged, serialized, and transported to project workstation.
  • Images scanned, color-corrected, and filed, thumbnails processed. Photo notations, releases and other documentation entered.
  • Database records review and embellished.

Project launch/wrap-up

  • Second prototype with sample records completed.
  • Identify, train, and test with five concurrent users.
  • Robust and fully-functioning system launched.
  • Promote web database to core users (10-20 to be determined by stakeholders).
  • Prepare analysis and conclusions including blueprint for future phases.
  • Archived project plan and set of progress reports.
  • Wrap up.

Success criteria

  • Meet planned milestones.
  • Stay within budget of available resources.
  • Meet defined expectations of project stakeholders.
  • Provide tested and fully-functional system.