New Service: Ordering Premium-Quality Digital Images

As we all continue to adjust to the realities of this pandemic, the Boston College Libraries are focused on not only safely reopening, but also continuing to explore services for researchers and scholars to improve digital engagement with collections.

High resolution images of materials held by Burns Library may now be ordered through our new pilot scanning service, both by BC students and people outside the BC community.  This is an experimental approach to accessibility, and marks the first time the Libraries will be offering publication-quality images in addition to the established Burns reference scans on demand.

Requests will be made to order by Digital Repository Services staff using imaging equipment in our Digital Lab. While this is a major shift in the workflows of the Digital Repository team, the approach to provide publication-quality images will be an opportunity for our libraries to lead the way in creating secure workflows that meet the needs of an ever-changing community. We will be evaluating the efficiency and efficacy of this pilot service, and adjusting accordingly.

Please see below for a brief Q and A with our Digital Production Librarian Chris Mayo who has helped to conceptualize and create this new service.

How can you make a request for a specific image?

When you find Burns material in the catalog and click on “Request scans from Burns Library” there are new options available. Lower-resolution reference scans have always been free and will continue to be so, but you now have options to request high-resolution tiffs of five or fewer images from any item, or for an entire archival folder. Users who want images of specific pages of books will need to specify which pages when making their request.

How much will it cost to make a request for an image?

If five or fewer images are requested, the cost is $25. If an entire archival folder (consisting  of more than five images) is requested, the cost is $75. It’s free for users with BC email addresses.

We should probably also note that if you accidentally request images from something that has already been digitized, Burns staff will be able to see that while processing the request and will provide those files free of charge.

What types of images can I expect to find in this collection? Is it mostly photography, or hi-res prints?

We will be making images to order. People can place an image request for anything in the Burns collection, a copyright assessment will be made, and if we can produce an image, we will. So the types of materials will vary depending on the request, but images will always be delivered as high-resolution tiff files, made via photography with a digital camera.

Is this just for hi-resolution images? How can I find a low-resolution image of something if necessary?

Yes, this is for high resolution only, and we anticipate this mostly being a service for people who need publication-quality images for books or articles. Low-resolution images can be requested through the same interface, and will be produced by Burns reference staff rather than the Digital Lab. 

What are the best places to go to see what categories or types of images might be in the Burns repository?

Search the catalog and limit to Burns materials to see the titles that images may be requested from. 

Check out the Libraries’ existing digital collections online, and our Digital Scholarship projects, many of which integrate and highlight Burns digitized collections.