Image/slide database & archiving question
Gail E. Kampmeier
gkamp at UIUC.EDU
Wed Mar 20 17:28:23 CST 2002
Funny you should ask. We just started to seriously organize the
digital illustrations in our database, Mandala, and in so doing
discovered that we needed to add a number of fields to better track the
digital files. Our illustrator has her own organization for the way
she works, but for our archiving, we've decided to organize the
filenames of illustrations based on their specimen number, body part
(we're working with flies), and background. We've chosen the specimen#
as the base because taxonomic names change, and we can always see the
latest information for any particular specimen in our database. We do
recognize, however, that as scientists, names mean more to us than
numbers, so since we are working with a single family of flies, a
typical file path (file within folders on a disk) on for us would look
typical filename consists of our specimen#_3-letter code for body part
and single capital letter indicating the type of background used in the
illustration (e.g., B=black; W = white; G = gray; N=neutral) ex.
We are not appending file extensions at this point but keeping track them
in a separate checkboxed field, so that they could be appended for other
purposes (retrieving the filename for the jpg version, for example).
We also record the software used to create the image, the highest
resolution, and several other features, including information that
would allow us to go back to the original files that have not been
We're probably not yet done improving our tracking methods, but this is
where we are now. We also can record where disks are archived; where
original prints may be found, etc. We have our illustration database
(table) related to the following tables: specimens, taxonomic names,
people (for illustrator and copyright holder), museums (for location of
original artwork), reprint (literature citation), location (e.g.,
collecting location for a specimen or habitat), and lots (everything
else about a collecting event except location).
Now my question for the list is one of archive formats. I asked our
illustrator to pose the question to the GNSI (Guild of Natural Science
Illustrators) group which formats they are recommending as archivable,
and the answer for bitmapped (such as Photoshop) images was easy: TIF.
But what about vector-based images such as those created by Adobe
Illustrator? Is eps considered archival? You haven't many choices
when saving Illustrator files, just the native ai, eps, and pdf. We
haven't yet done the experiment to find out whether you lose
information when saving to either of these other formats, but I know
you would if saved as tifs... Any ideas?
>We have started thinking seriously about how to store scans and digital
>pictures in such a way that we know where to look for them. Basically, I
>am thinking of being able to locate them by taxon name and by
>structure(s) shown. I am sure that others have already figured out how
>to do this. If there are suggestions as to canned programs that others
>have found useful, or if people would be willing to share a database
>structure that they use, it would be great. I just do not want to waste
>energy trying to design something that already exists.
>Oh - some slides/scans are linked to specimens in the herbarium - but
>not all of them.
Gail E. Kampmeier, Research Entomologist, Illinois Natural History Survey,
Box 5 NSRC, MC-637, 1101 W. Peabody, Urbana, IL 61801 USA
ph. 217-333-2824; fax 217-333-6784; email: gkamp at uiuc.edu
See therevid webMandala at http://pherocera.inhs.uiuc.edu/index.htm
More information about the Taxacom