Month: December 2014

The Archive

David Gross

The work on the archive of drawings has begun. Years ago, I sat with Lorenzo Virguli and a bottle of red wine, and we came up with the idea of an international archive of children’s drawings of war. The archive would be for the public, for scholars, and for anyone who wanted to better understand war. Despite the passage of time, I have not given up on this idea.

That is why I’m working to establish guidelines for scanning the artwork this project creates that would be useful for such an archive.

Please, if you have ideas or want to contribute, let me know.

I found a very complete document, the US national archives document: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access:  Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images. However, I’m not sure ordinary people will scan and document hundreds of scans of children’s artwork to this level of complexity. So, I’m looking to strip it down — to find the minimum necessary to make this work.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

I’ve already discovered exactly why a color calibration strip is so important! The Epson scanning software, when set on automatic (as most people will use it), changed the colors of a drawing dramatically (from purple to red). Anyone who wants to see what colors children use in this context — and researchers do! — will need to see the real colors.

We do need to limit the metadata to something realistic. I figure the basics are:

  • unique ID
  • first name of artist
  • age of artist
  • school of artist (if applicable)
  • city/country of artist
  • if drawing in response to another drawing, ID of that drawing
  • medium (gouache, watercolor, pencil, paper, etc.)
  • dimensions (width x height)

If anyone has suggestions, I would like to hear them!

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