JAIC 1987, Volume 26, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 59 to 63)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1987, Volume 26, Number 1, Article 5 (pp. 59 to 63)


Alexander Katlan, Barbara Appelbaum, & Paul Himmelstein


  1. Large numbers of images can be recorded easily, with no need to move objects to a photographic studio. The pieces can be moved during recording, so that the total amount of information recorded is much greater than with any number of still photographs.
  2. The ease of operation and speed of recording allows a great deal of information to be recorded without interruption of the survey process. For use with infrared, the speed of recording makes it possible to record as a routine every painting that is scanned, including those which appear to have nothing of interest. There is no need to interpret images before deciding what to photograph. When paintings by a particular artist are being studied, even the absence of underdrawing on IR can be a useful piece of information.
  3. A voice recording can be recorded simultaneously with the recording of the image to identify the object and to explain what is being shown.
  4. A library of visible light and infrared images, similar to the libraries of x-radiographs that many museums have, can be easily built up. A great deal of information can be stored on one cassette, particularly compared to the space required to store corresponding numbers of photographic negatives and prints.
  5. A whole tape can be duplicated commercially, or with two tape machines.
  6. It is easy to compare a “freeze-frame” image on the monitor with a photographic print.
  7. It is a simple matter to include on the same tape an image of the artifact under normal illumination, or under raking light. For some legal purposes, it may be important to include a photograph of the painting being turned around to read the inscription. A single still photographic print may provide a reading of an inscription, but does not in itself indicate what painting it came from.

Copyright 1987 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works