Folger Tooltips: Digital Image URLs, part two

an early modern workspace

an early modern workspace

Dear Readers:

This post is a continuation of the last tooltip on digital image URLs. The last post discussed how to link via a static URL to a luna.folger.edu search result set, how to link to the detail view and description of a single digital image, and how to link to a single zoomed-in detail by making use of the “image workspace.” We finished by looking at linking to just a single workspace zoom; for a reprise of what such a superzoom looks like in an image workspace, click above for a detail of Johannes Sleidanus (the first historian of the German Reformation) at work in his study.

Today’s post will provide more information about the digital image database workspace, which can be used as a sort of digital lightbox. With this tool you can compare however many images you’d like, laying them out on the screen with your own crop and zoom choices, and then assigning a static URL to that layout to save for later reference or for sharing with others. 

Adding images to your workspace

Digital image database users can choose a single item for the workspace from the detail view; you saw that last time when I shared a zoom of an astrological volvelle. Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like for our current Sleidanus example:

add to the “workspace” from the detail view of an image

add to the “workspace” from the detail view of an image

Click through the above image to see the engraving in situ in its detail view in the database. From there you can try out that “add to workspace” button yourself.

But it’s also possible – and perhaps slightly more efficient – to do this from the search / browse results thumbnail screen. The “add to workspace” tool is a bit more subtle in those screens, but easy enough once you know what you are looking for. The trick is in the mouse-over: roll over the item you are interested in and click the “Add the image to the workspace” icon in the upper left corner of the thumbnail. Here’s what it looks like (and again, click through to try your own hand at it):

add to the “workspace” from the thumbnail screen

add to the “workspace” from the thumbnail screen

Whether adding from the detail view or the thumbnail screen, keep an eye on the icon as you click: it will blink at you a couple of times as confirmation that your “add to workspace” request has been fulfilled. Remember also that the workspace opens an entirely new window / tab, one that your browser may not switch to automatically.

A workspace containing multiple images

This is probably a good time to recommend again the useful and short flash-based tutorial on using the viewing tools in the workspace. Becoming agile with the mouse-intensive workspace toolset may take a bit of time. But you’ll get the hang of it!

A couple of additional “pro” tips. You may have better results if you divide your work into phases: start by selecting your images and adding them to your workspace; next arrange your images on the screen at desired crop & zoom levels; and finally test out your URL, preferably in a different browser than you built it with (e.g., if you set up your workspace using Chrome, test it out in Firefox or Safari). And finally, your response times may vary depending on bandwidth, especially when calling up a “fully-loaded” workspace. But fear not, it will load.

I expect (no, hope!) that you’ll probably find far better uses for it than my own self-referential workspace of workspaces (link may take several seconds to load).

an image workspace of early modern workspaces

an image workspace of early modern workspaces

I tell you what, though: one noteworthy point about this array of depictions of desks and studies from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries is just how familiar much of this stuff still looks in the twenty-first. Granted, we’re no longer sharpening quills, dipping for ink, or sealing letters with wax. But the technologies of pen and paper are remarkably stable ones. I predict we’ll all still be using them in recognizable forms long after the advices in today’s tooltip are rendered obsolete by future digital user interface “advances!”

Author: Jim Kuhn

JIM KUHN was Head of Collection Information Services at the Folger Library until September 2013. In that role, he was responsible for planning and managing technical services operations (Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Photography and Digital Imaging) and acting as primary liaison with the Library's ILS vendor (Ex Libris: Voyager), digital image database vendor (Luna Insight), and digital preservation cooperative (MetaArchive). In addition to an MLS, Jim has a Master of Arts in Philosophy. He is now the Joseph N. Lambert and Harold B. Schleifer Director of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservations at University of Rochester's Library.

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