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Electronic Media Group

AIC Annual Meeting 2003
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel
Arlington, Virginia

Presentation Abstracts

Thursday, June 5
1 - 4:30 PM
Sunday, June 8
9 AM - 6 PM

Related items of interest:
EMG Workshop: Identification and Care of Videotapes
EMG 2003 Meeting Schedule


Paper Negative Facsimiles
Elena Simonova–Boulat
Fellow, Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation, George Eastman House

Interest in paper negatives has become increasingly popular within the photographic art market. With the sale of several paper negatives for high prices at the March 2002 Sotheby’s auction of the Jammes collection, and with the display of paper negatives in exhibitions worldwide, public interest in viewing the paper negative has grown. Now is the right time for conservators to consider how paper negative collections may be exhibited with minimal damage. While paper negatives are relatively light stable, museums have been cautious in exhibiting them, especially with transmitted light. While many institutions have high-quality facsimiles of photographic prints made for exhibition purposes, suitable techniques to create facsimiles of paper negatives for display and future printing remain unexplored. Both conventional and digital methods for making a paper negative facsimile that is similar in appearance to the original in both reflected and transmitted light, and is printable for making positive images, were investigated and will be presented. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

Update on Color Stability Test Methods
Steven Puglia
Preservation and Imaging Specialist, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

An overview and update on the standards activities relating to the development of methods for testing the stability of color photographic images, including digital hardcopy output, such as inkjet prints and thermal transfer dye diffusion (commonly called "dye sub"), will be presented. Despite progress on improving the stability of inkjet prints and other digital hardcopy, many stability problems still exist (even with the pigment based systems). The range of test methods provides a sense of the scope of the stability problems. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

Color Accurate Image Archives Using Spectral Imaging
Roy S. Berns, Ph.D
Munsell Color Science Laboratory, Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology

Digital imaging that includes spectral estimation can overcome limitations of typical digital photography, such as limited color accuracy and constraints to a predefined viewing condition or a specific output device. An example includes the use of ICC color management to generate an archive of images rendered for a specific display or for a specific printing technology. A spectral image offers enhanced opportunities for image analysis, forensics, lighting design, and a scientific-based image archive. Recently, the Munsell Color Science Laboratory at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has begun a joint research program with the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Modern Art to develop a spectral-based imaging system optimized for artwork imaging, archiving, and reproduction. Progress is documented at the project Web site, www.Art-SI.org. This talk will describe the research approach and recent results. Specifically, we have used a scientific-grade Quantix monochrome sensor with several pre-filtration systems including a liquid-crystal tunable filter, three filters optimized for colorimetric accuracy and low noise, and six filters optimized for colorimetric and spectral-estimation accuracy. We have also evaluated high-resolution color-filter array medium-format cameras using one or two colored filters resulting in one to three sets of RGB images. With a priori spectral analyses of characterization targets, spectral estimation is achieved. This approach is intriguing as it enables the use of professional-grade medium-camera backs for creating scientific-based image archives. These approaches have been tested at RIT and the National Gallery of Art. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

Web-Based Exchange of Infrared and Raman Spectra: A New IRUG Initiative
Beth Price
Senior Scientist, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Infrared and Raman Users’ Group (IRUG), an independent not-for-profit corporation, promotes the sharing of infrared and Raman spectral data and technical expertise among conservation and preservation professionals studying the world’s cultural heritage. IRUG has been awarded a grant by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, an office of the National Park Service, for the development and implementation of an Internet-accessible version of the Infrared and Raman Users Group Spectral Database. The one-year project will facilitate the large-scale Web-based exchange of infrared and Raman data by scientists in the conservation and preservation fields.

The new IRUG initiative will provide Internet access to IRUG’s recently published Edition 2000 Spectral Database, a compilation of more than 1,250 peer-reviewed reference spectra of artists’ and conservation materials contributed by scientists from more than fifty institutions worldwide. At the completion of the project, Edition 2000 will be viewable and searchable via the IRUG Web site at www.IRUG.org, making it a readily accessible, cost-effective resource. The Web site will also feature a searchable bibliography of spectroscopic literature, news of upcoming events, and hyperlinks to contributors’ Web sites. The project will further enable IRUG to effectively collect, review, and disseminate high quality, reliable, conservation-specific spectra. In addition to the interchange of data and expertise, the enhanced Web site will promote communication and foster a sense of community in the conservation and preservation fields. It also establishes a model for the exchange of other types of scientific data. Digital Bridgeway of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is working with IRUG to construct the on-line database and associated programs. The estimated project completion date in October 2003. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

PLAYBACK: Preserving Analog Video
Paige Ramey
Product Developer, Bay Area Video Coalition

The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) has been actively addressing issues of analog videotape preservation since 1995. As the nation’s most advanced nonprofit video technology center, BAVC has performed preservation services for such renowned collections and archives as Pacific Film Archive, the Kitchen, the Museum of Modern Art, the Richard and Pamela Kramlich Art Collection, and for artists William Eggleston, Mary Lucier, Bill Viola, amongst many others. In the mid-1990s, BAVC convened conservators, artists, curators, and media arts experts to participate in PLAYBACK ‘96, a two-day international symposium on the developing techniques and practices of video preservation. The resulting papers were published in PLAYBACK: A Preservation Primer for Video in 1998. In 2000, preservation specialist Mona Jimenez, conservator Paul Messier and BAVC organized TechArchaeology to examine issues specific to the preservation of videotape-based installation artworks. (The results of this research are published in the Fall/Winter 2001 JAIC publication.)

Now BAVC has taken the next step and produced a DVD (digital versatile disk) on videotape preservation, PLAYBACK: Preserving Analog Video. The DVD invites users to view the technical practices of video preservation and to experience the complex decision-making process that artists, conservators, and video engineers engage in during the reconstruction of video art.

The DVD contains three main sections, which will be viewed and discussed in this session: Analog Video Basics, Preservation Case Study, and The Eternal Frame. Analog Video Basics consists of animations that depict the composition of analog videotape, demonstrate the chemical process of tape deterioration, and show how the video signal works. The Preservation Case Study section follows the real life preservation process of the artwork The Eternal Frame, jointly produced by art collectives Ant Farm and T.R. Uthco in 1976. Two members of the collectives, artists Doug Hall and Chip Lord, had maintained the source tapes from The Eternal Frame in an assortment of storage locations over the past twenty-seven years. They wanted both to preserve these tapes and to reconstruct the original artwork using the preserved source materials. The viewer will see a chapter-by-chapter documentation of the artists’ consultation with the video technician, the tape cleaning, the transfer to current tape formats, and dropout repair utilizing current digital technologies. The third section presents both the original version and the new 2003 version of The Eternal Frame. An optional audio track plays a candid commentary by Doug Hall and Chip Lord over the video track of The Eternal Frame. Split-screen stills captured during the reconstruction show “before and after” image examples of frame-by-frame restoration applied to the videotape. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

The Care, Handling, and Longevity of Optical Media: Current Research at NIST
Fred Byers
Information Technology Specialist, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Convergent Information Systems Division

The Data Preservation Program of the Convergent Information Systems Division at NIST is investigating the reliability of optical discs and the compatibility of various forms of optical discs, notably CDs and DVDs, with their respective playback systems. Results to date indicate that not all discs are of the same quality and some discs will last longer and have greater interoperability than others. This presentation will outline the environmental factors that lead to premature degradation of CDs and DVDs and the compatibility issues surrounding CDs and DVDs and their playback systems. Care and handling guidelines to minimize the chances of premature disc failure will also be presented. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

The Library of Congress Audio-Visual Prototyping Project: A Particular Activity in a General Digital Library Context
Carl Fleischhauer
Technical Coordinator, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Library of Congress

The Audio-Visual Prototyping Project is addressing a trio of needs at the Library of Congress. First, the customary approach for reformatting endangered recorded sound and video content—copying to analog tape—is no longer practical since the manufacture of analog tape and tape recorders has virtually ceased, replaced by digital formats. Second, new content is arriving in digital form. And third, the Library of Congress will open a new building for its recorded sound and moving image collections in 2005, at Culpeper, Virginia, seventy miles from Washington. The new facility will include an entirely new laboratory for reformatting audio and video materials, and planning is underway.

Thus far, the AV Prototyping Project has featured the reformatting of audio into digital files, together with experimentation with the specialized metadata needed to administer this content. (Future activities will move into the realm of video.) The project has contributed to the development of the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), an XML structure capable of holding a rich mixture of descriptive and administrative metadata, as well as packaging the files themselves. The outcome of the production process is a "digital object" for long-term management.

Long-term preservation will depend upon a well-designed digital repository. The Library is consulting the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model as it plans its future enterprise-wide repository. The AV Prototyping Project's use of METS packaging is intended to fit the needs of this future repository, as well as to permit the interim management of content in the current generation of storage systems. RETURN TO SCHEDULE

Digital Conservation Treatment Documentation: An Assessment of the AIC Community’s Current Activity and Requirements for Further Guidance
Marlan Green
Preservation Field Officer, Amigos Library Services

Jamye Jamison
Masters Candidate, Preservation and Conservation Studies, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin

Documentation of conservation treatment for artistic and historic works is an ethical obligation for conservators. Treatment documentation provides evidence of and justification for the changes an object undergoes during treatment. Producing treatment records in electronic form is an enticing option for many reasons, but presents numerous concerns about longevity and continual access. Digital treatment reports in a database, for example, willingly lend themselves to dynamic search and comparison. Increasingly, anecdotal reports suggest that new ways of accessing, searching, and interpreting treatment documentation information electronically provides insight not readily possible with traditional paper-based treatment reports. Images taken with digital cameras have the benefit of being immediately available, allowing a conservator to proceed with treatment rather than waiting for film processing. A number of conservation labs are choosing to take advantage of advances in technology to supplement traditional paper and slide-based treatment reports with databases and digital image files. AIC’s Code of Ethics provides a basic framework around which to structure treatment documentation, but lacks specific guidelines for minimal data collection, long-term storage of treatment records, and digital treatment documentation. Jamye Jamison, Frank Trujillo, Dan Paterson, and Marlan Green have conducted research on digital conservation treatment documentation. The findings are presented to further stimulate discussion within the AIC community on how digital treatment documentation can be a viable component of conservation activities.

Digital records of conservation treatment present numerous concerns in light of AIC’s Code of Ethics, permanence and long-term accessibility being just two. The first part of this presentation summarizes case studies of treatment documentation in digital form at several conservation labs across the United States. The case studies investigate hardware and software usage, strengths and weaknesses of digital treatment documentation systems, and how these systems benefit the operations of conservation labs.

The second part of this presentation discusses the findings of a survey presented to the AIC community. The questionnaire is designed to assess members’ use of digital treatment documentation and their opinions on how the profession and AIC should respond to the increasing interest in digital documentation of conservation treatment. Specific issues addressed in the questionnaire are: AIC’s role in developing standards, guidelines, and best practices for digital documentation; continuing education needs in regard to digital treatment documentation; responsibility for preserving digital versions of treatment documentation; and the viability of digital treatment documentation. RETURN TO SCHEDULE