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  Our Cultural Heritage Round Tables began as small, one-off gatherings between Digital Transitions and our clients, as a formal way for us to gather the community’s collective feedback on their experience with our equipment and how we could work to improve it. Since its inception, the event has grown from a single day at our office to three annual conferences in key regions across the United States. Attendees come from a variety of disciplines and institutions to demo new digitization technology, learn best practices, discuss workflow tips, and network with other cultural heritage professionals. This year, we held our first ever Virtual Round Table, which gave cultural heritage professionals from around the world the opportunity to connect and learn about the latest advancements in digital imaging technology from leading experts! We have made our Virtual Round Table presentations available for replay in an effort to share this invaluable knowledge with the rest of the cultural heritage community. We hope you enjoy the following presentations found in this playlist.

Digitization at the General Archives of Puerto Rico

In 2019, the General Archives of Puerto Rico began designing its first digitization center and, in 2020 received a major funding opportunity to upgrade the space and enhance the work to be FADGI compliant. As we are just coming out of our first year, in this presentation we will walk you through the changes made in terms of, equipment, software, space, and team. We’ll share our workflow, the areas where we are still “stuck” and, our plans for moving forward to accomplish our goal.

Featured Speaker: Hilda Teresa Ayala González | The General Archives of Puerto Rico

Hilda Teresa Ayala González worked as the Research Services Librarian at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez providing workshops and developing research guides about digital scholarship and data management.

It’s the Little Things: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks from the Field

Sometimes the smallest tips pay the biggest dividends. After a year of owning a service division, and from conversations with our clients, we’ve accumulated a list of simple ideas that can help make digitization faster, more efficient, and more comfortable for the operator. Among the ideas that will be presented are how to set up the two-camera DT BC100 with a single computer, how to set up dual triggering options that make systems more accessible and flexible, and how to set up a workstation in an area where you can’t paint the walls or ceiling. If you have a tip, trick, or hack you’d like us to share, please contact [email protected].

Featured Speaker: Doug Peterson | Digital Transitions

Doug Peterson is Co-Owner and Head of R+D and Product Management at Digital Transitions. He is the lead author of a series of technical guidelines and recommendations for cultural heritage digitization, including the Phase One Color Reproduction Guide, Imaging for the Future: Digitization Program Planning, and the DT Digitization Guides for Reflective and Transmissive Workflows.

Digitizing Early 20th Century Estonian Photography

Our project aims to digitize early to mid-century Estonian photographic heritage from 24 memory institutions across Estonia. The goal is to preserve, digitize, and give access to important collections which open up a unique perspective of an “Estonian experience” throughout a period featuring turbulent times with regime changes and the period of the first Estonian independence. This is a massive logistical and technical undertaking, especially during a global pandemic. My presentation will introduce the processes of mapping, gathering, digitizing, and publicizing these special materials.

Featured Speaker: Aap Tepper | Estonian National Archives

Aap Tepper is a digital archivist and visual artist from Estonia. Since 2016, Tepper has served as Senior Specialist at the Film Archive of the National Archives, where he manages digitization and web access projects and conducts experiments on the position of artist-in-archive, resulting in critical gestures that address the representation of archived images.

The J. Paul Getty Trust and Adjusting to the Impact of COVID-19

Adjusting to the impact of COVID, Getty Digital Imaging was forced to and adjust to, and continually plan for, an uncertain and rapidly changing world. In response to COVID, the Getty campuses closed to all non-essential work from March 2020 until September 2021. As a result, the Getty Imaging Department was abruptly confronted with the task of finding new ways to approach and carry out their work. Todd Swanson (Head of Getty Digital Imaging) and Michael Smith (Getty Digital Imaging Manager, Museum Studios) will speak to the changes they have implemented, ideas they are currently working through, highlight opportunities that presented themselves as well as setbacks along the way.

Featured Speakers:
Todd Swanson | J. Paul Getty Trust
Michael Smith | J. Paul Getty Trust

Todd Swanson is currently the Head of Getty Digital Imaging at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Todd has spent the last fifteen years working in Cultural Heritage, supporting the Archives, Library, and Museum communities in non-profit and corporate environments. Todd is particularly interested in finding innovative and meaningful ways to leverage imaging technologies to help tell stories, inform scholarly and scientific research, and provide open access to information for broad general audiences. Michael Smith is a Digital Imaging Manager at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Michael has been at the Getty Museum for over twenty years and has more than 30 years of imaging experience. Michael works closely with the Getty’s photographers and imaging technicians providing technical support and developing imaging standards as they work with new and developing technologies.

Conquering New Frontiers with Rapid Digitization Technology

The State Archives of Florida recently acquired a PhaseOne iXH 150MP camera and DT Versa digitization station. For the past nine months, the staff of Florida Memory, the Archives’ digitization and outreach program, have been experimenting with new workflows to take advantage of the PhaseOne’s capacity for rapid, high-quality imaging. In this presentation, Dr. Josh Goodman, Archives Historian at the State Archives of Florida, will describe several recent projects illustrating how the PhaseOne is changing how the Archives is creating and organizing digital collections, and how it’s helping us expand our outreach with cultural heritage institutions around the state.

Featured Speaker: Joshua Goodman | The State Archives of Florida

Josh Goodman is the Archives Historian at the State Archives of Florida in Tallahassee. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in history from Tulane University in New Orleans. At the State Archives, Josh manages the selection and digitization of textual records for the award-winning Florida Memory program, and promotes the use of the State Archives’ resources through community outreach across the state.

OCR Quality Factors

When it comes to transcription, the heritage world has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. The first Optical Character Recognition (OCR) machine was invented in the 1920s and since then we’ve come a long way in refining our technology and its approach. OCR software is now able to accurately recognize, read, and transcribe artificial type, handwritten print, and handwritten cursive. These techniques have also been finely-tuned to recognize details like descriptive information on folder labels, signatures, and multi-directional text. This presentation aims to address the growth of OCR software and its tremendous implications for the cultural and corporate heritage communities, as it allows institutions and companies to better search and utilize their own data as well as to assist researchers and the general public.

Featured Speaker: Hannah Storch | DT Heritage

Hannah Storch is a Project Manager with DT Heritage, specializing in cultural heritage digitization. Her role at DT Heritage has enabled her to partner with institutions, embracing the opportunities that collection digitization brings to institutions and the communities they serve.

AI Keywording at Smithsonian

Metadata greatly increases the value and accessibility of digitized collections, but it can take hundreds of hours to enter even basic metadata manually. AI offers significant promise, but the most commonly used AI models from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are general-purpose in nature; they lack the subject matter expertise and heritage-specific lexicon required for most cultural heritage institutions. Cecilia Peterson of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage worked with Doug Peterson of Digital Transitions and Ankur Patel of Human AI Collaboration to explore the viability, practicality, and accuracy of a custom-trained AI metamodel that combined visual, textual, and namespace proximity to apply an existing vocabulary of terminology to a folk music focused collection. We will present our findings – what worked well, what failed miserably, and what the cultural heritage community can learn from our efforts. Note: this work was supported by a DT ArCHER Grant.

Featured Speakers:
Cecilia Peterson | Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Ankur Patel | Human AI
Doug Peterson | Digital Transitions

Cecilia Peterson (she/her) is the digital projects archivist in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. Her work focuses on making collections more accessible and inclusive to diverse audiences through digitization, description, and online resources. Ankur A. Patel is an AI entrepreneur, thought leader, and author. He is currently the founder and head of data at Glean and the founder of Human AI. Glean uses natural language processing to deliver vendor spend intelligence within an accounts payable solution. Doug Peterson is Co-Owner and Head of R+D and Product Management at Digital Transitions. He is the lead author of a series of technical guidelines and recommendations for cultural heritage digitization, including the Phase One Color Reproduction Guide, Imaging for the Future: Digitization Program Planning, and the DT Digitization Guides for Reflective and Transmissive Workflows.

Interested in presenting at a future Round Table event? Fill out the form below to get in touch.