Copyright CAUSE 1994. This paper was presented at the 1993 CAUSE Annual Conference held in San Diego, California, December 7-10, and is part of the conference proceedings published by CAUSE. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage, that the CAUSE copyright notice and the title and authors of the publication and its date appear, and that notice is given that copying is by permission of CAUSE, the association for managing and using information technology in higher education. To copy or disseminate otherwise, or to republish in any form, requires written permission from CAUSE. For further information: CAUSE, 4840 Pearl East Circle, Suite 302E, Boulder, CO 80301; 303449-4430; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Institutional Imaging: Sharing the Campus Image Carl Jacobson University of Delaware Newark Delaware The University of Delaware's campus-wide information system, U- Discover! uses the Gopher client-server software developed by the University of Minnesota, to provide an easy-to-use, wide-reaching information service. Delaware is currently integrating photographic and document imaging with U-Discover! text to provide an exciting and effective new level of service. One such application provides access to institutional photographic and historical records. A library of two-thousand 35mm color slides, depicting campus facilities, programs and activities, has found a home in U-Discover! This library may be browsed by faculty, staff and students to locate and identify slides for use in publications or presentations. Text-to-image links allow full-text description searches to return color images across the campus network to PC, Mac and UNIX workstations. Using inexpensive hardware and freely-available software, Delaware's campus-wide delivery of institutional images is easy, inexpensive and highly effective and has become a model for future multi-media services on our "electronic campus". The National Information Super-Highway In recent months, there has been a great deal of press regarding the National Information Infrastructure proposed by the Clinton Administration. Information technologists in institutions of higher education will certainly make important contributions to this ambitious endeavor. For this national information network to properly serve the public interest it must be a "pedestrian" offering. That is, although this is to be a high-powered, high-technology data highway, it must reach out to our homes and offices, schools and industries in a "common, ordinary" manner. It cannot be reserved for super- scientists, well-heeled corporations, or those with technical or financial advantage. To meet its stated goals, this highway must be well travelled, by many, from all walks of life. It must deliver utility and services to student and farmer, teacher and law-maker, expert and novice alike. The technical and logistical challenges of this undertaking will require a great deal of time and money invested at the national level. But another challenge requires more immediate attention. As institutions of teaching, research and public service, we must begin to understand the implications of our roles as information providers. While the details of a information infrastructure are debated, we must look inwardly to identify our valuable information holdings and to determine how they might be easily shared on a national network designed to serve the public interest. Campus Information Highways While the national effort will insure that the network is far reaching and "pedestrian", we must insure that the information content is useful and valuable. As "form follows function", even in terms of information technologies, then rich content implies the need for rich information types. We must be prepared to deliver more than record-oriented, character-based data. Our challenge is to capture, prepare and distribute information resources of many types; text, rich text, image, animation, audio, full-motion video and more. There are many issues associated with the "care and feeding" of these information types. And while parallels may be drawn between the familiar, traditional information technology methods and the methods required by these newer technologies, there will also a great deal of new ground that must be broken. Where do we start? Information Type: Image The University of Delaware has begun to take steps to better understand what the future holds. To learn more about the delivery of "non-traditional" information services, we have initiated several institutional imaging projects. An informal survey of imaging projects on today's campuses indicates that most fall into the category of document imaging; that is, storing images of paper-work; admissions applications, purchase requisitions, and the like. Furthermore, these documents are found to reside primarily on departmental servers; delivering service in support of departmental processing requirements. Quite recently the cost of this type of imaging has plummeted... $1000 personal computers with $500 software on inexpensive local area networks can deliver document imaging services at a very low cost-per-seat. However it is difficult or expensive to "scale up" such applications to make these image services available to many or all members of the campus community. When planning for a digital highway of a pedestrian nature we must "start at the top" with a campus-wide distribution scheme and then, if necessary, hone in on departmental needs to focus effort, add security, and enhance functionality. Pilot Project: Photographic Images Our initial pilot project found it roots in a collection of 35mm, photographic slides owned by an administrative department, the Office of Public Relations (PR). The PR slide library holds over 20,000 photographic slides which are used in campus publications and presentations and chronicle the history and events of our institution. The scope of the initial project focused on a collection of 2,000 actively used, "exemplar" photographs, to be called the "Campus Collage". Prior to our pilot, the PR slide originals were filed in loose- leaf notebooks and indexed in a flat-file database. This single- user, PC database contained a short description and identifying information for each slide. In order for a campus user to locate needed slides, a PR staff member would perform simple keyword searches against the database to retrieve slide numbers. These slides would then be physically retrieved from the collection of 20,000 for previewing. Once a needed slide was found, the slide number was recorded and slide copies were ordered directly from PR. This process was time-consuming, labor intensive, and restrictive, and required the physical handling of the original photographic masters. Objectives of the pilot project included: opening the library to a wider audience, providing for remote access and self-service browsing, and reducing the amount of handling of the original slide masters. These objectives were to be achieved by digitizing the exemplar collection, loading the collection for accessibility on the campus network, and linking text descriptive and identifying information with the image collection to facilitate location of needed slides. Establish Common Denominators For Wide-Spread Access To reach the widest possible audience with an effective level of service, several common denominators were identified. U-Discover!, Delaware's campus-wide information system was already well established thanks to the many strengths of the University of Minnesota's Gopher protocol. Gopher client and server software was widely distributed among campus information users and data providers. CompuServe's GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) was selected for the storage of campus images. The GIF standard was designed to be a public domain offering for low-overhead transmission of images to CompuServe subscribers. It is a commonly used format, supported by a following of free or low-cost software. The Super VGA (SVGA) image resolution of 640x480 pixels, 256 color palette, was adopted as a display standard to take advantage of the large number of SVGA capable equipment on campus, while placing limitations on the reproduction of these copyrighted images. A GIF image displayed at this resolution looks nearly photographic and is suitably handled by lesser quality VGA and gray-scale monitors. Digitize Photographic Slides Two methods of digitizing slides are employed at the University of Delaware. A service bureau may be used to place digitized slide images on CD-ROM, or a self-service approach may be taken using PC-based slide scanning hardware. The KODAK Photo CD service was selected for the Campus Collage pilot. The KODAK Photo CD process allows up to 100 35mm color slides to be stored on a single CD-ROM. This service is provided for under $1 per slide at nearly any local photography store. The KODAK process stores a single, very-high resolution file for each slide. The file is formatted in such a way that it may be retrieved in any one of 5 different resolutions. This allows low quality versions of the image to be quickly retrieved while providing for the storage of large, publications-quality images. Advantages of the KODAK process include the outsourcing of the labor-intensive slide handling as well as the creation of permanent, image masters. The shelf life of digitized images is considerably longer than that of slides. While the KODAK process targets home as well as commercial use, small jobs are easily handled. A collection of two dozen slides may be placed on a Photo CD on one occasion, and an additional slide collection may be added to that physical CD at a later date, up to the 100 slides limit. Turnaround for this service varies from three-days to one-week. Nearly a quarter of the PR photographic library consists of 2 1/4" format, however the Photo CD process currently supports only 35mm format. KODAK has announced plans to support 2 1/4" format by the end of the year. For small slide libraries, or those requiring a more hands-on approach, inexpensive, high-quality slide scanners are now available. The Nikon CoolScan slide scanner has been used with great success at our institution. At approximately $2300 the slide scanner provides an economical alternative, producing a high- quality digital image in about 5 minutes. Currently the Nikon scanners support only 35mm format. Prepare Digital Images for Storage We are pleased to be able to pay a service provider to do our digitizing, because even with a Photo CD in hand, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to prepare 100 images for loading. Each image is retrieved from the Photo CD in a mid-level resolution at 768x512 pixels, using Adobe's Photoshop software. The picture is visually reviewed for color, brightness, and contrast. Photoshop allows adjustments if necessary, but they are rarely required. The orientation of the image is confirmed. On occasion we have encountered images scanned upside down. The Photoshop software selects a 256-color palette that best meets the requirements of the picture and saves the image in a GIF file, reducing the resolution to 640X480 pixels. A single image production station was configured to support the preparation of images. This modest workstation consists of a 33Mhz Intel 486sx with 8MB of RAM, 170MB local disk, a Toshiba CD-ROM player, a Nikon CoolScan slide scanner, Adobe Photoshop software and an ethernet connection. Most of today's CD-ROM drives support the Photo CD standard. As the PR images are property of the institution, a copyright statement is added to the margin of each image. KODAK has announced plans for providing this service by the end of the year. In addition a black background is added to frame the picture and fill any unused portion of the screen. Both of these additions can be done manually, using software such as Photoshop, but we have automated this process. Both copyright and black mat are added programmatically after the image files are stored on the server. The reviewed and edited image is stored on a shared network drive on a UNIX server to later be loaded into a Gopher directory. Each image is stored as a single file. These files are arranged in Gopher directories using pointers. Gopher allows several such pointers, or Gopher links, to reference a single information item. In this manner slide images may be organized in several different categories. Prepare Associated Text For Storage Each slide image is described in some detail in a brief narrative. Information such as subject, photographer, date, location, slide number, and CD-ROM number is included in this description. A wordprocessor file is created documenting each image. Macros and scripts are used to automate the creation of an ASCII-text file for each image and build descriptive file names for both text and image files. These long UNIX file names consist of a 38-character slide title, date, and number. While both text and associated image files have identical names, they are placed in different Gopher directories. WAIS indexing software, a tool commonly used by Gopher administrators, is run on both directories to create full-text indexes against the written descriptions and the image titles. A full-text search item is added to the slide image directory allowing these descriptions and image titles to be searched. Load Images and Text on Server Inexpensive workstations from Sun Microsystems are employed as text and image servers at Delaware. Such servers commonly range from low-end Sun IPC and Classic models priced in the $3500-$4500 range to larger, more powerful Sun LX and Sun 10 models. Magnetic disk capacity may be added to these servers for less than $1000 per gigabyte. At 100KB per image, 10,000 images require 1GB of image storage. While the Sun workstations have become the standard for such servers on our campus, the Gopher software is suitable for other platforms, including inexpensive and popular MacIntosh workstations. Software required to support the server function includes Gopher sever software and WAIS indexing software, both in the public domain. Distribute Client Software The University of Delaware supports Gopher client software for each popular campus platform. For DOS users; UGopher from the University of Texas. For Windows; Martyn Hampson's HGopher from Imperial College, UK. Mac users employ TurboGopher while UNIX users employ the UNIX Gopher client, both developed by the University of Minnesota. Image viewers must be associated with each Gopher client to enable the display of GIF images. Public domain, or site-licensed viewers were selected to allow widespread distribution to students, faculty and staff. DOS Ugopher users employ CompuShow from Canyon State Systems, while Mac TurboGopher users have adopted JpegView developed by Aaron Giles. Users of the Windows HGopher client use LView, freeware from Leonardo Loureiro and UNIX XGopher users are running the XV X-Windows viewer. To address software update and version control concerns, current versions of Gopher clients and GIF viewers are available to members of the campus community across the network using Gopher itself. Directories for DOS, Windows, Mac and UNIX users contain self-extracting archives which store the program files for each application in a compressed format. Selecting such an item from a Gopher directory causes the program files to be loaded across the campus network and uncompressed on the hard drive of the client machine. Several local modifications have been made to the Gopher clients we distribute to our campus users. These range from authenticated access of student records information, to support for our campus- wide electronic forms system. Whenever possible these changes are made external to the Gopher client using "viewers". Such changes have been made in support of the imaging effort and are exemplified by a modification to the UGopher text viewer that enables an automated linking of text with image. An index search returns text, the press of a key displays the associated image. Limitations While the goal of this information service is wide-spread access, there are most certainly limitations to the scope of service. Connectivity--The Gopher client/server protocol is an Internet protocol so that an ethernet connection to the campus backbone is required of all clients. Character-based gopher clients are provided on campus for users of central time-share system, but image retrieval is not available to these users. Resolution--As standard display monitors operate in the range of 70-90 pixels per inch, the SVGA image of 640x480 pixels, 256 colors provides an image that appears nearly photographic. The SVGA resolution of our digitized images cannot match the quality of original film images, however it is better than video and certainly suitable for today's personal computers. Projection--When overhead projection of digital images is employed, the success or failure depends on the degree of loss of resolution, color and brightness. Currently available projection equipment is limited to SVGA resolution with loss of brightness being a common complaint. While projection of such digital images may not yet be appropriate for applications requiring detailed, true-to-color reproductions, many routine presentation needs can be met. Generation Loss--Generation loss refers to the incremental degradation of picture quality that takes place with the making of each copy: a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy... While the digitizing process produces a loss in resolution and color, once an image has been digitized the file can be transferred, copied and reproduced digitally without further loss. It is important that, whenever possible, film originals are used to create the digital masters. Network--At 100KB-200KB each, our Campus Collage photo images are quickly and effectively delivered across our current network. We have an 80MB fiber-optic campus backbone, with 10MB ethernets in each building. All residence halls are wired for ethernet and by the end of the year, the saturation wiring of classroom and offices will be completed. One limiting factor of our current network is an older router technology that causes information to pass through our network gateways at less than 1000 packets per second. Currently available technology would allow this rate to approach 180,000 packets per second. The replacement of these slower routers is planned for the near future. Compression--Compression is the process of reducing the file size needed to store or transmit an image. Larger images, or images of higher resolution require higher network speeds or data compression. Effective image compression is available today in image formats such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group). JPEG compression and decompression can be performed by software, or with the assistance of compression accelerator boards. Generally speaking this type software compression slows the file transfer process significantly, necessitating the use of JPEG compression boards. However, recent developments in JPEG compression routines have shown improvements in software compression. While our "Campus College" is deliberately restricted to SVGA resolution images, if the future calls for the delivery of higher- resolution images our Photo CD masters ensure the availability of such images. Security and Access--Campus Collage is accessible from any location on the Internet. Text and image collections may easily be restricted to on-campus-only access, or to access from a physical network subnet or node. Restricting access by individual user is not easily administered using current versions of Gopher software but it is possible to write Gopher servers to provide authenticated access. Copyright--The slides in our PR library are property of the institution. We have opted for widest distribution and therefore retain little control. We protect our rights in two ways, one technical and one legal. The images made available on the network are moderately low-resolution images and therefore have little reproduction value. High-resolution images are kept off-line on the original CD-ROM for use by campus publications. A copyright statement "Copyright UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE, All Rights Reserved" is placed on every PR slide image and delivered across the network. Instead of preventing access to the images, we make our work available and expect property rights to be honored. For images needing more protection there are several options. Access restrictions may be placed on servers limiting access to on-campus locations. Lower resolution, or "thumb nail", images may be distributed for browsing. Watermark statements, such as "PROOF" may be placed across the face of the images making them unusable. Features--Minnesota's Gopher is a wide-reaching but general- purpose implementation. It cannot compete in the arena of image features, with LAN-based, vendor-produced image librarians. However, the allure of Gopher lies in its ability to provide wide- reaching, democratic access. And, in fact, as Gopher clients are built on the principle of "object viewers", there is no reason more sophisticated image-aware gopher clients cannot be created. Special-purpose gopher clients could allow display of thumbnail images in directory format. Or a "Presentation Gopher" could be used to delivery "Internet slideshows" in the classroom. A "Touch- screen Gopher" could enable campus kiosk users to easily browse a collection of annotated photos for a tour of campus. While current Gopher-based image libraries might be described as feature poor, they are distribution rich... distributing rich information resources to even the "poorest" of our network users. Other Applications While the Campus Collage was created to facilitate browsing of the PR slide library, it has already been used to deliver live, across-the-network presentations. Our president has made two such presentations, one to members of the Board of Trustees. Additional "administrative" imaging applications have been identified. Internet Slide Show--Delaware recently re-engineered the student services business processes and in doing so, created a new student services building which has been widely heralded by the student population. Neighboring institutions have shown considerable interest in this successful project and we have hosted many visits. An "Internet tour" was developed to allow interested institutions to learn more about the project without setting foot on campus. This tour, which includes annotated slide images, sample screen images from our student kiosks and text to providing an overview of our approach, was created in one afternoon. This is an "administrative" use of Internet delivery of image and text resources, however, similar use may deliver academic services. Digital Photography--While our initial pilot targeted the conversion of 35mm slide to digital images, currently available still cameras can produce digital pictures more directly. The efficiency and utility of this equipment places it high on the list of "data capture" hardware for a campus photo-image service. At Delaware product review has begun leading to the replacement of the current ID card production equipment with a digital- photography system. This would create a database of identifying photos of all students, faculty and staff that could be used in conjunction with many campus information functions. The university's facilities and construction department conducts regular project reviews of campus construction projects. In addition, the president and other university executives share the progress of such projects with interested committees, parent and student groups. For the most part, the progress of the construction projects moves at such a pace that 35mm slide shows are quickly outdated. The use of digital photography would enable images to be disseminated on the campus network as a "same day" service. Document Imaging--The University of Delaware: A History by John A. Munroe is a 448 page book that chronicles the history of our institution. As the University owns all rights to this text, there are no copyright issues preventing electronic distribution. The book was scanned twice, once to capture the actual page images, with photos and illustrations, and once for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) input to create a text-only version of the document. The text-only file allows full-text searching against the document and is linked to the page images. Therefore a topic search returns the text and the press of a key display the actual page image. Academic Applications--While the first pilot projects at Delaware target "administrative" information, the methods and results may easily be transferred to "academic" applications. With ethernet connections in every dormitory room, classroom and public computing site, image delivery targeting students, faculty and researchers have great utility. Investigation of such applications are now underway with the preparation of slide libraries from several academic departments. Summary This practical application of technology delivers useful and significant service to members of our electronic campus. Institutional imaging is easy, inexpensive and wide-reaching. The pilot project serves as a model for the management of other non- traditional data types and has begun to lay the foundation for our digital future.
Timestamp: Monday, 24-Nov-2008 16:07:10 PST
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