|Papers & Presentations by Christine L. Sundt|
Visual Resources Advocacy Statement
PART II: New Technologies and Images
by Christine L. Sundt
THE TRANSITION FROM ANALOG TO DIGITAL: IMAGES IN EDUCATION AND SCHOLARSHIP
AND THE VISUAL RESOURCES COLLECTION
The process required for changing an analog image (e.g., a slide or an
illustration) commonly used in the classroom into a digital one is relatively
simple and straightforward, even with equipment made for private, at-home
use: Take the slide or illustration, scan it, adjust its size, color,
and framing, save it to a file, and display the file using a projection
device onto a screen. The projected image is fundamentally the same regardless
of its format: a representation of a scene or object with enough definition
and clarity so that it can be discussed or critiqued or be the vehicle
for eliciting commentary or be the object of a report. The content of
the image has not changed with its transformation from an analog object
into digital bits and bytes, even though in the latter, it probably has
lower resolution and it may not be as luminous as its film or paper counterpart.
The need for images in the new classroom are the same as in the old.
Digital images are still needed in the same quantity as slide images,
and these are still the same images represented in text and trade books
that constitute required reading for students. Unlike slides, there are
fewer commercial vendors offering digital images, although it would appear
that images available on the Internet through the World Wide Web (WWW)
already exceed in size the typical visual resources collection (250,000
items). The proliferation of images on the Web and the desperate push
by revenue-deficient academic institutions "to digitize" (the
newer version of the verb "to automate") has opened up new areas
for concern regarding the use of images within what we understand to be
the legal limits of copyright and fair use.
The proposed fair use practices in the previous section of this report
are easily translated into digital practices. Because none of the conditions
for use have changed other than the transformation of the object's image
from an analog format into a digital one, I suggest that if these practices
are acceptable in the traditional format, they also be approved for the
Figure 1. Mona Lisa, accessible at WWW site: http://sunsite.doc.ic.ac.uk/wm/paint/auth/vinci/joconde/joconde.jpg
The transition from analog to digital nevertheless is not easily traversed. Numerous question are being raised, some based on an earlier understanding (or misunderstanding) of technology, suggesting that fair use may not apply to the digital format. Some of the more challenging questions in recent discussions on various electronic listserves include: what is fixation and when does it occur; how many copies are made during transmission; and how should images be used and regulated in cyberspace? Other questions, more fundamental questions, also beg answers.The views expressed in this paper are my own. I do not speak for the University of Oregon nor for any other organization with which may name may be associated.
This is the original version of the paper posted on July 1, 1996.
Last revision: October 23, 2002 by CLS
Created by Christine L. Sundt, University of Oregon Libraries
University of Oregon Libraries | Architecture & Allied Arts Library | Visual Resources Collection | Eugene, OR 97403-5249 | 541/346-2209 v. -2205 f.