Digitization Process

Back to the Feeding America home page

Digitization was performed by the Digital and Multimedia Center at Michigan State University Libraries.

The electronic editions of the books were produced in two formats:

  • Page images
  • Text transcriptions

The DMC then created additional files.

  • Text Encoding
  • Multidimensional Museum Objects

Page Images

For the purposes of scanning, the cookbooks were divided into two groups: those in good condition, which could be laid face-down without strain to the spine, and those which are either tightly bound or very fragile, which had to done with an overhead scanner.

A few early 20th century titles with library buckram binding have been disbound; no books with their original binding were disbound.

The books in good condition were scanned on a Hewlett-Packard color flatbed ScanJet 5100C with a 9x12 inch scanner bed or on a UMAX Mirage D-16L color flatbed scanner with a 12x17 inch scanner bed. Scans on both these machines were done at 400 dpi, 24-bit color, and saved in compressed .TIF format. The fragile books were scanned on a Minolta PS3000 overhead scanner at 600 dpi, 1-bit color and saved in .TIF format.

The .TIF images were then resized and saved as .JPGs using JASC Image Robot. version 1.1. Copies of the archival .TIF images are available on request; the .JPG images are used for web delivery.

Typing copies of the books were produced by converting the archival images to PDF files, thus saving the book from further handling.

Text Transcriptions

The texts were typed using the freeware program Note Tab Light, version 4.6a.

Note Tab was used instead of a conventional word processing program because it produces only ASCII text and has tag libraries which can be customized by editing one of the .clb files accompanying the program. A miniature tag library has been created for the cookbooks, containing only page breaks, paragraphs, font styles, and an ISO-LAT1 character menu.

Undergraduate typists follow a set of transcription guidelines, described in Text Encoding. The typists inserted page break and paragraph tags, noted font changes, and inserted codes for ISO-LAT1 characters. Other special characters, illustrations, and any other non-textual material were noted for later attention.

The books were typed twice by different students or teams of students, and proofread using a file comparison program.

Text Encoding

The corrected texts were then encoded in a special XML tag set designed for the cookbook genre by the Project Manager. See the Encoding Guidelines for details. The texts were marked up in SoftQuad's XMetal 2.0.

The texts were created and saved in XML format and displayed using an XSL style sheet, which can be displayed in Internet Explorer 5.x.

XMLwriter, version 1.21, is used to produce HTML copies for display in Netscape and earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

Multidimensional Museum Objects

Staff from the MSU Museum have supplied digital images of each featured cooking implement, taken from multiple angles.

Staff in the Digital and Multimedia Center edited the files in Adobe Photoshop V 7.0 by centering the images and making the backgrounds transparent, and then created QuickTime movies using VR Object Worx.