College to Implement Digital Imaging System

Trinity faculty members will soon be able to compile, organize, and catalogue large collections of digital images and then store them in easily accessible personal folders for use in classroom presentations. This capability will be made possible through a software package known as Insight®, a product designed to help educational and other cultural institutions better manage digital archives. The College is in the process of purchasing the Insight software system and is planning to have it available for use during the fall semester.

“The need for this type of service was articulated by the faculty,” explains John Langeland, director of information technology. “Any major system purchased for campus use must be compatible with other systems on campus, and one obvious requirement is that it needs to work as well for faculty and students using Macintoshes as it does for those who use Windows PCs. Any imaging system should also integrate with other systems—like Trinity’s Library system—and rely on hardware and software systems that can be supported with existing staff skills. These kinds of considerations take time and broad involvement, and we believe that we’ve found the best long-term solution for the College.” Langeland also points out that these issues were explored and the decision to purchase the Insight system was made by a committee comprised of both Library and Computing Center staff, with input from several Trinity faculty members.

Insight was developed by Luna Imaging, Inc., a California-based digital imaging company founded in 1993 with the support of the J. Paul Getty Trust and Eastman Kodak. Among the features of the software package that Trinity will have are the ability to build digital collections of any size and the means to manage, access, use, and present those collections over either a network or the Internet. Insight also features a user-friendly toolset for manipulating images and multimedia exhibits, including zooming on image details, annotating images, and conducting side-by-side comparisons. In addition, complete indexing information accompanies each image, allowing for comprehensive image and subject searches across multiple collections, regardless of their location.

In February, the College hosted a digital archives workshop sponsored by the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, an organization established in 2001 through a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation that serves as a “catalyst for innovation and collaboration for national liberal arts colleges as they seek to make effective use of technology.” Specialists in the use of technology in liberal education presented a series of workshops and dialogues detailing the use of digital media collections in teaching and learning to a group of Trinity faculty and staff as well as representatives from other institutions such as Wesleyan, Mt. Holyoke, and Amherst.    

Once the archiving system has been installed, it will have to be brought online and into compliance with the College’s computer network—which will be done under the auspices of Scott Vanek, academic resource specialist and chair of the digital asset management committee, a group of administrators and librarians that is working to meet the digital needs of the Trinity community. This committee will be responsible for setting up the software and coordinating the administrative policies and procedures for its use. Vanek estimates that the process to fully incorporate Insight for complex research and everyday classroom applications will take several months.  

“We’ve taken a big step by acquiring this new software,” Vanek says. “It will give us a lot of options for storing and sharing digital images, including ways to index and cross-reference different collections, which is very important to us. We’re very excited about the possibilities.”


 

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