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Cool Tools: Bodleian Ballads image-match demonstrator

On more than one occasion, a researcher (most notably, my husband, who is studying 19th-century printing), has asked me if I knew of any method for quickly identifying or comparing images. The Bodleian Ballads Image Match seems to be just the type of tool for which I was searching. The tool was “experimentally developed under a John Fell Foundation grant awarded to Dr Giles Bergel (Oxford Faculty of English) and Dr. Richard Ovenden (Bodleian Library), with the assistance of Dr. Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Library). High-quality (24-bit, 600 dpi) TIFF images of a sample of some of the library’s 17th-Century ballads (when the form was most copiously illustrated) were made in-house, courtesy of Bodleian Imaging Services, and indexed by the Visual Geometry Group.” “Instance-level recognition,” is the technical description  of this process, and equivalent to some degree of optical character recognition (OCR) for text.  I can see all sorts of potential for utilizing this technology in research, such as identifying common images in a project such as Chronicling America, or pulling together similar William Morris woodcuts.  Watch a video demo describing how the Bodleian Library is now integrating image-search into a redeveloped Bodleian Broadside Ballads database, launched in 1997, as part of its JISC-funded Integrating Broadside Ballads Archive Project, a collaboration with the English Broadside Ballads Archive at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society. How might we use this tool at the University of Maryland Libraries?

About Jennie Levine Knies

Jennie Levine Knies is the Manager, Digital Programs and Initiatives, University of Maryland Libraries.

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