A big part of Digital Humanities is the act of digitizing an object of some sort, whether it’s a book, photo, or work of art. There are a number of things to keep in mind while performing this act of digitization.
The first thing is to consider the best way to digitize a particular object. Is the object text only, such as a journal article? A photograph or map? A three dimensional sculpture? Each of these examples have different concerns when trying to capture it in the computer. All can be photographed, but several are required for anything with more than one side, and text recognition software can give errors. Journal articles and photos can be run through a scanner, but a sculpture cannot. A video of a sculpture can do wonders for that sculpture, but a recording of a book that it several hundred pages long is time consuming and has very few uses.
Another thing to consider when something is digitized is what is lost in this act. How can someone gauge the weight of an apple from a video or picture? A video can capture the shape and color of the apple, as well as how it sounds when someone takes a bite, but what about it’s taste? A photo or video will allow someone to see the color, shape, and sound of an object, but anything tactile is lost. You cannot tell how heavy something is, how hard or soft it is, or whether it is smooth or rough. The best you can get is to have someone describe these things through dialogue.
With so many things to get wrong, why bother to digitize anything? If done correctly, anything that is digitized can be manipulated to further someone’s understanding of the topic. Once that book is digitized in the right form, it can be run through character recognition software, and then can be played audibly through speech software for those who can’t or have trouble reading. Old photographs can be restored to their original form. Artists can create a video of their work, and edit the video to create a new work of art. Museums can digitize their collections, which can then be posted to the World Wide Web, exponentially increasing access to the exhibits.
Musopen Main Page
This page hold thousands of classical music pieces to download. It also hold sheet music from the same era.
All posts are copyright free and are covered under Public Domain.
Moving Image Archive Main Page
Much like the Prelinger Archives, this site has films and movies available for use. The videos are listed under a range of different categories.
Moving Image Archive Rights Page
All posts are covered under Public Domain, and no attribution is necessary.
Project Gutenberg Main Page
This site holds thousands of public domain e-books. The focus of this site to provide classic works of literature.
Project Gutenberg Rights Page
Almost all e-books are in the Public Domain and can be used in any way. Those still under copyright are clearly marked.
Prelinger Archives Main Page
This page holds thousands of videos that are available for use in the public domain. There is no overarching theme, and people are allowed to post their own videos.
Prelinger Archives Rights Page
All posts are in the public domain and can be used in any way. No attribution is required.
NASA-GRIN Main Page
This page has numerous public domain images from NASA, covering almost all of the program’s existence. Sources are restricted to NASA’s own declassified files.
NASA-GRIN Rights Page
As long as NASA is attributed, there are no restrictions on use.
Chronicling America Main Page
Hosted by the Library of Congress, this site has a range of newspaper articles from 1836-1922 that have been digitized.
Chronicling America Rights Page
All documents are in the public domain, and therefore have no restrictions on use.
O Say Can You See Main Page
This website has many case files and documents relating to the early history of the Washington, DC area. Sources include case files and documents; information regarding plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys; and various families in the area.
There are no restrictions on use.
J Paul Getty Museum Main Page
This site has thousands of public domain images from its collections. There are photos, artwork, antiques, drawings, and manuscripts in their collections.
J Paul Getty Museum Rights Page
There are no restrictions on use.
Hathi Trust Home Page
This site offers digitized collections of books from academic and research institutions. There is a wide range of subjects available for use in projects.
Hathi Trust Access and Use Policies
Most can be used for all purposes, but there are a few that cannot – they request links to images whenever possible, and to attribute Hathi Trust at all times.