The Photographic Imaging, Microfilm and Textual Preservation Lab engages in a variety of projects, including ongoing preservation and access projects, exhibits work of all types (established large and small scale exhibits, ongoing and rotating exhibits), as well as multi-part and one-time-only ad-hoc projects. Currently, the lab is engaged in several different exhibit projects, including Discovering the Civil War (FY 2008 – May 2010); The First Americans Exhibit (Spring 2010 – ongoing); Moscow Exhibit (FY 2009 – ongoing); Food Exhibit (April 2010 – ongoing); and the Polar Exhibit (June 2009 – January 2010). The lab also participates in intermittent, ongoing work for long-term exhibits including the Public Vaults, Rotunda Rotations, and the Capital Visitors Center. The number of digital files created for each exhibit varies widely, from small to hundreds of images. Historically, the lab has completed exhibit work for NARA Exhibits, Public Programs, Regional Archives and Presidential Libraries.
Although exhibit projects are access projects and not preservation projects (selection for an exhibit rather than risk for loss of information is the driver for digitizing records), the products created for exhibit projects are generally more closely aligned with preservation master files. In most cases, the lab will produce images that conform to preservation master file specifications for each record type digitized for exhibit projects; however, images may also be produced to custom specifications requested by Exhibits Program staff or design firms involved in the project.
For most exhibits, the lab primarily digitizes textual materials, photographic materials, cartographic materials, and objects and artifacts. Depending on the original record type, the lab employs a variety of equipment to complete exhibit projects, including the Kodak iQSmart flatbed, the Epson 10000 flatbed, the Cruse oversized scanner, and the Hasselblad H2 camera system.
For most exhibits work, the lab will create a TIFF preservation master file (exact specifications depend on original record type) as well as two additional distribution files (sometimes more). In most cases, a Standard Distribution Image [IMG-D1] file will be produced, as well as a Letter-Sized Distribution Image [IMG-D2] file (this is the file that is submitted to the ReDiscovery system for documenting exhibit work). Standard Distribution PDF [IMG-D3] file may also be produced to designer specifications. In some cases, the lab may also produce Facsimile Print (hard copy output) [IMG-D4] of selected digital images for display in the exhibit.