Hilton Digital Archive Background


The Hilton Digital Archive is a repository for images relevant to Hilton. These can consist of photographs, maps, documents, newspaper articles and in fact anything that would be of historical value. Our view is to be as inclusive as possible and to reject as little content as possible. It is not our place to decide what people think is of interest or not, from our experience what one person feels is of no interest, another can find fascinating and invaluable. Also our view is that age is also not of importance, as "yesterday" is already history. Our main objective is to "save" Hilton history from potential loss or destruction, and to share where appropriate. We will always seek permission for sharing information publicly, but also have a large percentage of "private" information which will be kept secure for future archive purposes.

Before starting the process of scanning the content for the Archive we decided that we needed to define some standards. The main objectives were to :-

1) Preserve the images in as high a quality as practical using current technology.

2) Use a format that was as "future proof" as possible, to try and ensure that the files can still be read for as long as possible. There are many examples of the latest technology being used for projects, only for the content to be unreadable in a few years because the technology became obsolete or unsupported (see BBC Doomsday project as an good (or bad!) example.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Domesday_Project )

3) Store as much metadata (information about the content of the images) as practical in a way that it will always be associated with the image, irrespective of where it may be copied.

After much research we decided upon uncompressed lossless TIFF (Taggged Image File Format) in 24bit colour or greyscale where applicable of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) and more where appropriate (i.e. small images). This is a relatively old but mature standard, and although doesn't produce particularly small images (some of our images are over 80 MB), they retain the full original quality, are easy to convert to other formats (i.e. we use JPEG for the web site with 90% compression as a good compromise between size and quality for online viewing and delivery). Copies of images in TIFF format will always be stored as master copies.

We also decided to use the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council, www.iptc.org) Photo Metadata Standard to store information within the image files themselves. Again this is a well respected international and mature standard. This enables us to store a multitude of attributes for each image such as source (who supplied it, who holds the copyright if any), where the original can be located (Hilton Digital Archive or elsewhere), and probably most important, information about the content of the image (who, when, where, what) if known. The advantage of embedding this within the image file itself, is that it will always be retained with the image irrespective of where it may be copied, and can be read with appropriate software.