In the digital age, the connexion of the multifaceted humanities is in close ties with digital information. To expand the scale of the preservation, sharing, utilising of Taiwan’s cultural heritage, by and through the establishing of digitalized images and archives, the Culture Ministry (formerly Council for Cultural Affairs) and Ministry of Science and Technology ( formerly National Council on Science Development) started the National Digital Collection program in 2001, mobilizing both public and private archival institutions in Taiwan, making high quality digital archiving work on artefacts and artworks and achieving the borderless power of communication.
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts started doing high quality work of digitalizing collection in 2001, till today, the museum has finished 95 percent of the digitalization of the total collection (currently, 15727 pieces of artwork have been digitalised and with more to go). On the execution of digitalizing the collection, there were two different methods to acquire the digitalized collection. In the early stage of the program, collections are either ‘indirectly digitalized’ (with photographing the work first then going on scanning the photograph) or ‘directly digitalized.’ However, accompanying with the progressing of technology and the effort to lessen pictorial complications during digitalization, the method of indirect digitalization is gradually going into history. The method of direct digitalization is currently used to acquire high quality digital images. In the meantime, in order to make sure the process of acquiring digitalized image of the collection is in perfection, everything must go through professional testing and inspection to maintain the quality of the work. The content after digitalization is also uploaded into Artwork Collection Management Information System, providing various services such as indexing, exploring, researching, cataloguing, and many more value-adding options. The result of digital collection, through digital management, not only vitalised the museum’s operation, but also elevated efficiency and the quality of a variety of services.
Preliminary Process of Collection Digitalization
Setting Annual Digital Collection Plan
- Recognizing expanding the sharing and utilising of digital content and property of artworks as the common goal
- Instant conservation of artworks’ best images, providing services such as research, exhibit, education, promotion, and other creative uses
- Conserving the complete interpretive information of artworks
- Equipping the museum a complete digitalised content and collection step by step
Principles of Selecting Digitalized Subject
- Classics that emphasize the zeitgeist and copyright-available works
- Important pioneering artists and creatives
- Annual collection items that hasn’t been digitalized
- Works that haven’t completed the restoration process
- Works that are suited to present in digitalized fashion and thence providing multi creatives uses
Collection digitalisation process
(1) Borrowing and Returning Works
(2) Shooting Process
(3) Process of Digital Image Inspection and Correction
The process of digital collection is in strict control. From shooting, making mock-up, making archive, to each comes with quality control focus that the staff asked pays great attention to.
(1) Shooting Process
- When moving artworks and artefacts, movers are required to wear masks and anti-grip gloves to avoid dropping and damaging objects. When moving heavier or large paintings, depending on the situation, extra movers and additional equipment would be put into adjustment to make sure the moving process and the artworks are safe.
- Before the shooting process, the photographer should follow the instruction of inspection process to conduct inspection and do a pre-shoot on different artworks made from different medium to make sure the handling of different lighting setting, thus, avoiding frequent mistakes and risks when doing a high quantity operation.
(2) Shooting Image
- Check if the digitalized images are correct and compare to the original works in a standard color temperature environment.
- Check if the brighter part and the darker part of the digitalized image have clear layers and contrast.
- Check if the digitalized images have stained spots or scratches that are not from the same original works.
- Check if the digitalized images are slanted.
- Check if the contrast of color and tone on the digitalized images is correct.
- Check if the colorchecker that comes with the digitalized image mock-up is correct.
- Check if the mock-up product has ink stains.
- Check if the size and the resolution of the mock-up are correct.
- Check if the colors on the colorchecker are correct and without color cast.
- Check if the color patches on the colorchecker are uniform.
- Check if the appearance of the mock-up is levelled.
(4) Make Archival File
- Make copies of the digitalised work and burn into hard discs and DVD disc. To make sure the quality of the disc file, use low-speed setting when burning the disc.
- Open the file and examine
- Do cross-platform examination on both Windows OS and Apple Mac OS
- Benchmark cross-examination on original file and copied file
- Check if the file information match to the content in the hard disc and the DVD disc
(5) Color Management
The goal of digitalizing collection is to acquire images that are true to the original collection. In the process of digitalization, it must be made sure that the color description could be successfully transfer and restore between equipment; thus, strict color management must be executed to make sure the product of the digitalization is in complete condition. To solve different questions that might surface during different equipment and the conversion, the digitalization work integrates the method of ICC Profile from International Color Consortium to instruct color management. Using this standard, various equipment such as digital cameras, scanners, monitors, and printers are in standard calibration, and afterwards, producing color description files. Base on the color files that are accepted through the standard, different equipment is used to make different conversion modes of color space to complete color restoration and achieve the purpose of color management.
Post-production and Conversion of Digitalised Collection
Post-production including measures such as trimming digital image and merging images. Images are conversed with the highest resolution to produce the best TIFF collection and conservation format, other applicative format, and downloadable JPEG compressed files.
Formats and Archives of Digitalized Works
Variation: positive film, disc, digital mock-up
Conservation of Digitalized Product
The conservation of digitalized product is preserved by the support of various locations and a selection of equipment to avoid the diminishing of the same items. The conservation also requires regular and spontaneous check-ups to try to catch the acidify and mould of positive film in time, meanwhile catching up the trend of technology and the progressing of image formats, conversing the images to other format and provide a better conservation to digitalized product.
(1) Methods of Conserving Digitalized Product
- Positive film: acid-free case and acid-free hanger
- Disc: single CD case
- Digital mock-up: acid-free case
(2) Archiving Space: Open Revolving Stacking Shelf
- The positives films are stored hanging
- The digitalized files (discs) are stored upstanding
- The digitalized mock-ups are stored in archival books
(3) Storage Environment: Collection Storeroom
- Elevated hardwood floor /li>
- Temperature 20 Celsius ±2
- Humidity 55% ±5
- 24-hour constant temperature and humidity control
Digital Image Uploaded in Management System for Multi-purposed Utilization
Diverse Creative Utilization and Service
Establishing a complete digital collection content following the Collection Image Applying Guideline from National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, providing appropriate digitalized collection files and services suited for different creative requirement and application.