NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Feldgrau's WWII operational map project, map research, archives, tools and techniques, and research requests.

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Annelie
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Post by Annelie » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:37 am

Thankyou.

Its above my capabilities but I can see that this info should
be stickied?

:wink:
Annelie
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Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:29 am

Richard, what's the quality like compared to a slide/transparency scanner?
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Post by richard hedrick » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:22 pm

I think the quality can be really good and is comparable but there are factors such as the inherent problem with a central focal point in that the outer edges become blurry. I am sure much can be negated with expensive equipment but I feel that the quality is more than adequate using my little $250 Sony. I shoot at high resolution, 5 or 7 mega pixels and for standard size portrait documents I actually frame up 3 documents in the picture and then crop out everything but the center document. This removes all the blurry areas.

Basically the quality can be the same as scanning the positive provided you can work around the focus issues.

The first image below is 25% of its actual size the image below it is the actual size of the shaded area.

Hope that helps
Richard


Image

Image

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Post by John P. Moore » Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:29 pm

Richard - Those are quite sharp-looking images. What is the file size when saved at "Max Quality" in PhotoShop? Mine are around 2 MB when scanned via a flatbed at 4800 DPI and saved at "Max Quality" dropping down to around 500 Kb when saved at "low quality". I'm sure that it becomes more of a challenge when you encounter microfilm frames that were filmed too dark from the original and can't be satisfactorily lightened via the film reader controls.

But when you figure the value of your time, DVDs are a great resource, especially for those of us distant from the DC area. Around 20 years ago I made the decision that it was more cost-effective for me to accomplish what I wanted in my research by purchasing microfilm from NARA, instead of staying extra nights in the DC area. I now have over 1,000 rolls of NARA microfilm.

John

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Post by richard hedrick » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:04 pm

John,

That particular image is 919 KB, 2592 x 1944 at 300 dpi, 24 Bit Depth and was shot with a Nikon E5600. I find that with digital cameras the dpi seems to be meaningless as i have shot many frames at 96 dpi and they are just as good. i must confess that i spend no time in trying to improve images that have lighting problems. I can be a little obsessive compulsive so if I get started doing that I may not know when to stop.

It takes me about 45 minutes to shoot an entire roll but then takes me about 3 to 4 hours to crop the images so I agree that having them now on DVD is great. I can’t hardly imagine having 1000 rolls.

Richard

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Post by John P. Moore » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:21 pm

Thanks for your interesting explanation Richard. My wife could not imagine me having 1,000+ rolls of microfilm either and would usually make some kind of remark when a box of 10-12 rolls arrived in the mail from NARA!

John

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Post by zurek » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:52 pm

Hello,
I would like to order my first microfilm from NARA. I don't own microfilm reader so it would be useful for me to order this microfilm on dvd. But on the online order form I haven't seen an option to order this microfilm on DVD. Is it possible to order DVD with scans online or I must send a paper order form to NARA?

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Post by John P. Moore » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:02 am

Zurek - I believe that the best way to order DVDs at this time is to first download this order form from NARA

http://www.archives.gov/research/order/ ... r-form.pdf

Print the form, add your order information and fax it to the number seen on the order form with your credit card information. There is no special place on this form to indicate that you want a DVD, because the microfilm media offering is still under development. What I have successfully done is to write "DVD Media Required" in the botom, left and right margins. I also add the words that "3004 x 6552 Pixels" are needed, otherwise you will receive the present default of the lower resolution 1451 x 3000 pixels. The default resolution is fine if you are only interested in on-screen viewing of information and your PC does not have a lot of RAM or a newer CPU. However, if you want to print documents such as a Dienstaltersliste and have sharp charachters result, print photos or include documents as illustrations in your publications and have a newer PC, then I would recommend ordering the higher resolution.

I expect to receive soon the examples of the higher available resolutions from NARA and I will post the results here.

john

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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by Mark C Yerger » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:38 pm

Regardless if 200 or 300, the CD format works better for me even though I don't print anything. My HP has a 6300 dual processor so I use everything on screen instead of printing when writing. No instead of the mess of paper copies made from film I'm just opening and closing another of multiple files used at the same time when needed. The higher resolution format does make it easier for hard to read copies like any handwritten Lebenslauf and the potential for usable images that couldn't be done from the 35mm old film format. Likewise for printable documents like Orders of Battle or similar charts.

Mark

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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by Sean Oliver » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:41 pm

DVDs? :shock: :D
This is truly great news. Now if only they'd put the Finding Guides online...

Has anyone else recieved their DVDs yet?

Is it possible to specify the image resolution when ordering? My concern is: I want to process the JPEG frames of the German text with OCR software and then convert it into Word (or other .rtf or .doc format).
This will not work if the text characters that appear on the JPEGs of the documents are too small, blurry or illegible.

That 2nd version of the Eicke doc is just a little bit too blurry to read with OCR, but if the original JPEG on the NARA disc is sharper than the sample posted here on the forum, it should be okay, I think....

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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by Abicht » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:09 pm

I work at NARA as a volunteer and recently spoke to staff members about the way forward. I was told that if the records are on microfilm 16mm or 35mm they will be available on DVD. The only reason is money. They are seeing increased orders and expecting an increase “profit” by joining the modern age. They are currently undertaking a large scale digitizing program for text records for the same purpose. Additionally the last type of records being microfilmed (regardless as it is stupid to do in todays technology advancements) is the aerial coverage plots showing what photos, at what scale, and quality and date were taken over a certain area. You will be able to order a roll of film for example showing all the plots taken over 50N from 20E to 50E. My count over the Kharkov area of German flow recon mission is well over 3,000 photos from 1941-1944.
Sadly NARA has many more finding aids for WWI and WWII era records developed over the last 20 years in various formats, but as a staff member told me, until the “higher-ups” can decided on a standard format they likely will never be up online or even available to researchers. Gotta love bureaucracy.
M.Abicht

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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:20 pm

But at least they're coming online (sic) to the idea that they have a marketable resource on their hands. I'd say the impetus behind their discussions will get a sharp boost once the money from DVD sales starts arriving, for they have on their hands the ultimate "resource", one that doesn't dilute or get used up as they punt it out :D
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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by Sean Oliver » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:26 am

With the 'Field Command' records, many of the rolls include maps, usually among the 'Anlagen'.

Were the maps microfilmed (originally) in color?
What do the maps look like, quality-wise?
How do they fit a large map into the microfilm frame? Chop it into sections or shrink the image?

I've noticed some of these maps reproduced in Glantz's books and self-publications, and they look unreadable; absolutely awful.
That isn't what they ALL look like is it?

Abicht:
I'm VERY interested in the aerial photos of the Kharkov area. Any recon photos from...oh, a few miles north of Kharkov and SW of Prokhorovka Station taken on 12.7.43?
Maybe there'd be too much smoke.

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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by william russ » Thu May 01, 2008 10:07 am

Hi Sean,
To answer some of your questions.
Color maps. Nope, they were all fimed in black and white. Back in the 1950's when they photographed all the material black and white film was cheap and color film was expensive. They went the cheap route.
Most of the large situation maps were chopped up, usually in quarters (but sometimes into 6-8 parts :shock: ). It makes it very difficult to piece them together, especially if you printed from an old microfilm reader/printer. The lenses would distort the outer parts so even if you kept the scale right you still ended up with distorted sides.
Mr Glantz's maps were reproduced on the old microfilm reader/printers and usually their paper reproductions were mediocre. I have one and it was actually one of the better ones and the prints were still so-so. The actual film images are pretty good.
The DVD reproductions look much better. I've printed several and that look much better printing through a laser printer.
I'll post an example below. I did make the mistake of shrinking the bytes a wee too much. The original image was 925 kb.

best regards, Bill
68th-0272.jpg
68th-0272.jpg (101.88 KiB) Viewed 6283 times
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Re: NARA Records Now Available on DVD Media

Post by andernach » Thu May 01, 2008 2:03 pm

Hello
I have ordered some of the new DVDs from NARA. My current PC has only 504 MB RAM, nevertheless I ordered the 2991 x 6552 pixels DVD versions. The result is overwhelming. Sharp pictures and no problems to start the pics, neither by starting them directly from the DVD. I only can recommend these great stuff. :D

Greetings from Germany,
andernach

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