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Ling long Women's Magazine
Phases & Methodology

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Original 1997 Project

In 1997 Columbia University Libraries received funding from the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia to create a digital version of the Ling long Women's Magazine.  This magazine is frequently requested by scholars from all over the world because, as far as we can determine, Columbia has the only relatively complete run available outside of China. 

Unfortunately, because the journal had been printed on acidic paper, its pages had become extremely brittle and tended to break when handled.  The goal of this project was both to create a long-lived preservation surrogate in microfilm for all remaining volumes and issues and to make a digital copy available online to all interested readers.

The magazine consists of text accompanied by a large number of graphics, many in color. Therefore, black-and-white microfilm was not a sufficient means of preservation, nor is it satisfactory for those scholars whose research involves the illustrations.  However, since microfilm is still the most stable preservation medium available, the first step was to create a complete microfilm of the magazine according to standard preservation procedures. The master negative has been placed in archival storage in perpetuity.

To create the initial digital version, the black-and-white microfilm was scanned bitonally at 600 dots per inch on a SunRise SRI-50 scanner by Preservation Resources of Bethlehem, PA (which also did the actual microfilming). The purpose in scanning the film rather than the original volumes was to limit the amount of handling the brittle originals would be subjected to. TIFF files were delivered to Columbia along with a datafile associating each volume, issue, and page to the correct filenames. The 600 dpi TIFF files, stored using lossless CCITT Fax 4 compression, along with the datafile constitute the digital archive for Ling long.

In the original 1997 project, lower-resolution versions were then derived from the master files by Columbia's Academic Information Systems. For each page an inline GIF image was created and optimized for screen viewing as a 600x1000 pixels in 4-bit gray-scale. Each page file was also provided with an Adobe Acrobat PDF file to permit easy printing at 300 dpi.

Project Enhancement, 2002 (Color Scans)

In 2002, it was decided that to go back and rescan all color illustrations and replace the bitonal versions originally created. The new color versions were produced in the Columbia University Libraries Preservation Division by scanning directly from the original volumes, using a Hewlett Packard 6100CSE flatbed scanner. The 300 dpi, 24-bit color files are being added to the digital archive, while lower resolution versions are being produced for on-screen and printing purposes.

Heidelberg Contribution of Additional Material, 2005

In 1999 Univeristy of Heidelberg had located additional Ling long issues that were missing from Columbia's run of the journal, and offered to digitize them for us.  For various reasons, this work wasn't completed until January 2005.   Columbia originally prepared the following specification document for Heidelberg to use: Digitization guidelines prepared for Heidelberg by Columbia, Dec. 1999 (pdf). These original guidelines had recommended 2-bit bitonal for black and white pages and 24-bit for color, but by 2004 when Heidelberg actually began the scanning, we changed the recommendation such that both b&w and color originals were to be scanned at 24-bit color (RGB).

Below is a list of issues for which Heidelberg contributed at least some content:

linglong_1931_009, linglong_1931_015, linglong_1931_016, linglong_1931_018, linglong_1931_021, linglong_1931_022, linglong_1931_023, linglong_1931_026, linglong_1931_029, linglong_1931_030, linglong_1931_033, linglong_1931_036, linglong_1931_037, linglong_1932_044, linglong_1932_045, linglong_1932_046, linglong_1932_047, linglong_1932_051

Ling Long Site Relaunch, 2005

During 2005, Columbia University Libraries' Digital Program worked with other groups on campus to entirely replace the original web site and presentation:

All original tiffs were reprocessed into 550 x 740 pixel jpegs for viewing purposes.  A new page turner was developed and new contextual essays were created for the site.

The 12/1/2005 press release is available here:

The new Heidelberg content was integrated into the site as part of the relaunch.

Revised: 7/2002, 12/2005, 4/2008

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