After the voluminous Yorkdale materials were arranged and processed, it was time to start the digitization project. The first step involved selection. Working with the client, we were able to devise a selection criteria that encapsulated their priorities and goals in regards to this initiative. The criteria was applied to the records and we were able to select and digitize 1000 items which included documents, ephemera, newspaper clipping, posters, photographs, slides and AV materials. This posting will highlight the technical aspects of the initiate.
The first materials that were digitized were the photographs and slides. Approximately 60 percent of the scans were composed of these media. We relied on a high-end Epson scanner to digitize these records. The unit came with special attachments for the negatives and slides. The photograph to the right is an image of Jessica using the light board to arrange and prepare the slides for scanning.
The photographs were scanned at a mid-range resolution and the slides at 700 DPI, in order to ensure that they hold their appearance once the images are enlarged. Although the Epson came with a feature to take out dust, we dusted each one before scanning them. Additional work using Photoshop, however, was required to fully eliminate specs and age-related damage to some of the graphic materials.
Another challenge that we addressed was the digitization of images and items that were glued to scrapbooks, along with oversized materials such as transparencies and posters. This category of materials was therefore not appropriate for the flat bed scanner.
As a result, we relied on digital photography to accommodate these records. One of the assistant archivists, Katie, is a trained photographer in this area and was able to deftly photograph these tricky items. The photograph on the left provides a visual of the work involved in digitizing the items in the scrapbooks. Katie also relied on a tripod and easel to tackle the oversized ephemera such as the poster featured above.
The final group of records that we tackled were the audio visual materials. These included audio cassettes and VHS recordings. We relied on a small device to convert the cassettes to MP3 and a Magnavox VHS/DVD machine to convert the VHS to video. Once the items were digitized it was still necessary to rely on a software ripping device to convert the videos to AVI and then a film editing program to produce short video clips of each event or TV news program. Here is a gem of a piece that was converted from a news show which has hosted by Lucy Zilio who was covering Ricky Martin’s visit to Yorkdale on 9 October 1997. This was an era when many young stars made appearances at malls to greet and entertain their teen fans. Just click on the hypertext link above to see the video.
Now that the items are digitized, Yorkdale is planning to rely on this material as part of their social media anniversary initiative. They have also secured a web design company to produce an Infogram to showcase these rich materials that document the five decade long history of Yorkdale Mall.