Ben Howell Davis, Program Manager, Communications

Getty Information Institute, Santa Monica, CA

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School for Scanning

Preservation and Access in a Digital World

Berkeley, CA

May 12-14, 1997

Digital Technology: Where Are We?

The convergence of media, digital technology, and networked resources seems to have created a new medium based on the concept of "information architecture" but an architecture of motion -- information that performs.

The invention of the miniaturized integrated circuit has allowed machines to simulate other machines. The word processor for instance is a computer imitating a typewriter - but it is a typewriter with a vengeance - it has a memory and the potential to self-organize. In other words, it can be programmed to transform and transmit content (words, images, sound) via electronic bits that can simulate virtually any form. How has this happened?

Fin de Siecle: Visions in Collusion

You can’t go beyond possibilities. Mark Twain

The millenium is at hand:

Leonardo’s vision meets Gutenberg’s vision meets French encyclopedists vision meets Alan Turing’s vision meets Vannevar Bush’s vision meets Von Neuman’s vision meets Norbert Wiener’s vision meets Marshall McLuhan’s vision meets Ted Nelson meets Stephen Hawking meets ARPA/DARPA/, NSF, MIT, Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Andreessen, Hilary, Al, and Bill and you and me.

And in the immediate present: the Beatle’s get back together electronically, human cloning is a real, tobacco actually is addictive and deadly, search technology for the Web is megabuck business, Apple is selling for $16 a share, and www.highersource commits mass suicide, and the XFiles keep getting more like non-fiction. Go figure...

We are now in the place where all media are converging through (Howard Stern?) digital technology. The sophistication of machines imitating other machines has reached a seamless state. Digital media is recombinant media, capable of transforming and transmitting new forms by combining old ones, inventing new ones, and allowing the "reader" to modify them.

Information products and services are now designed with computers, produced with computers, tested with computers, marketed with computers, archived as computer files, and sold via computer networks.

Digital Archmusaries: The archive-museum-library.

Bibliotheque de France wants 110,000 books on-line -- down from 500,000. Twelve hundred woodblock prints go digital at Tokyo National Diet Library, 80,000 posters from Judaica holding at Harvard are on PhotoCD, Johns Hopkins has 40 journals and 2 major references works on-line, thousands of Civil War photos at Library of Congress and potential 5 million images by 2000, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has 65,000 images on-line, Andrew Mellon Foundation doing 10 digital journals of ecomonics and history, The Getty Information Institute Museum Educational Site Licensing Project is distributing over 9,000 museum images. Other on-line image sources include:

American Memory - A Century of Americana Images from the Library of Congress American Memory is the Library of Congress offering of primary-source and archival collections relating to American culture and history.


Ministère de la Culture - Different departments are making a wide variety of images available. Seeparticularly the 'Virtual Museum', paintings from the French Englightment in France's national Museums; and images from the newly discovered prehistoric cave at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc.


Le Patrimoine de la France: Images et documents : A collection of images of French sites from the Ministère de la Culture et de la Francophonie. The collection is proposed for CD-ROM distribution.


University of Georgia Libraries, Map Collection -The Special Collections Unit has been scanning parts of their collections, covering the period 1600 to 1870.

AVERY IMAGES: RLG Digtial Image Access Project (DIAP) - a link to a subset of Columbia University's Stokes/DIAP images, along with PhotoCD versions of the same images. indiv/avery/diap.html

Electronic Beowulf Project - GIF and JPEG files in the British Library's digitization of the Beowulfmanuscript. Ftp://BEOWULF.ENGL.UKY.EDU/pub/beowulf or


These references don’t begin to count all the museums, archives, and libraries with digital holdings. What all these references represent is the cyber-merging of the architectures of the archive, the museum, and the library into the form of digital collection repositories that share many common problems of indexing, searching, and vocabulary.

Digital Management

What is counter-clockwise on a digital watch ?

Models of management are emerging from libraries, archives, museums, traditional publishing, software development, CD ROM production, network management, and elements of film and television production.

Digital Donors

The National Science Foundation’s Digital Libary Project has funded major institutions to create more digital resources. The following are the recent NSF Digital Libraries Projects:

University of Michigan, $4 million: "The University of Michigan Digital Libraries Research Project"

University of Illinois, $4 million: "Building the Interspace: Digital Library Infrastructure for a University Engineering Community"

University of California, Berekley, $4 million: "The Environmental Electronic Library: A Prototype of a Scalable, Intelligent, Distributed Electronic Library"

Carnegie Mellon University, $4.8 million: "Informedia: Integrated Speech, Image and Language Understanding for Creation and Exploration of Digital Video Libraries"

Stanford University, $3.6 million: "The Stanford Integrated Digital Library Project"

University of California, Santa Barbara, $4 million: "The Alexandria Project: Towards a Distributed Digital Library with Comprehensive Services for Images and Spatially Referenced Information"

Digital Lessons

What happened to Windows 97

Digital cultural heritage is becoming a field.

What skills and education are necessary to train cultural heritage professionals in using digital technologies to compile, store, and disseminate cultural information and knowledge?

What are the choices?

CD ROM presentation

CD ROM with presentation materials from a database w/user tools

CD ROM with presentation materials from network database

On-line presentation

On-line presentation with data from network database servers

On-line presentation, user interactive tools

On-line presentation with data from network database servers, interactive tools

On-line and CD ROM hybrid with variations of the above

Any of the above combined with a print publication and/or subscription, video tape, TV program, membership, consortium, conference, collectable, credit card, etc.

Coming: Digital paper, things that think, DVD.