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Digitization of the Sheet Music

The scanning parameters for this project were determined by the grant requirements of the Colorado Digitization Project by the checking of other sheet music sites to see what we liked and what worked, and by experimenting with various sizes and resolutions.


Our goals were to have a clear printed copy from the web image, and to have an image on the screen that was large enough to view detail but not so large as to give a distorted view This normal-size web image is supported by a high-resolution archival image that can be used to produce larger images for researchers on demand.


Based on the project's requirement of at least a 300 dpi scanned image, and our testing that indicated a difference in quality from 300 to 400 dpi but not as much between 400 and 600 dpi, we decided to do our archival scans at 400 dpi. The 600 dpi also took several minutes longer than the 400 dpi to complete each scan. With 3000 images to scan the extra time was significant in planning our project workflow.


The sheet music was scanned from the original pieces of music as TIFF images. These images are saved on both an image server and on compact discs for archival purposes. The images are copied as JPEG images for the web site, with three sizes (thumbnail--144 pixels high; access--400 pixels high; and print-860 pixels high) of each front cover or title page and one image size (print) for the remainder of the pages. The pages of music were converted to grayscale for the web as it gave a clearer image and better print copy of the music. The sheet music averages six pages in length, including front and back covers. We used an Agfa T2000XL Duoscan scanner running with Windows '98 and Agfa's Fotolook scanning software with Adobe Photoshop 5.5 for the project.