Digital Transitions Presents AI Applications for Photographic Negatives at VRA This March

Digital Transitions Presents AI Applications for Photographic Negatives at VRA This March

Digital Transitions Presents AI Applications for Photographic Negatives at VRA This March

We are proud to announce that Digital Transitions’ service division, Pixel Acuity, will be presenting at this year’s annual VRA Conference!

The Visual Resources Association is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image management within the educational, cultural heritage, and commercial environments. VRA hosts an annual conference which this year is held March 29 – April 1, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland.* Register here to join us for the conference!


Register here  to join us for the conference!


Doug Peterson, head of R&D at Digital Transitions, will be presenting on March 29 from 12:30-1:30 PM ET. We will review the latest advancements in artificial intelligence as it relates to the digitization of photographic glass plates. He will demonstrate these advancements through a case study of our recent and ongoing project with the Estonian National Archives in which we were able to combine a number of strategies to develop descriptive metadata to improve searchability within the archive.

“Photographic Glass Plates and Birthdates: Secrets to Optimizing AI-Generated Metadata Accuracy with the Estonian National Archives”

In 2021, the National Archives of Estonia engaged Digital Transitions’ Service division, Pixel Acuity, to build an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool to analyze part of its historic record. The objective was to use this tool to enhance their collection with descriptive metadata that identified persons of interest in a collection of over 8,000 photographic glass plate negatives, a task that would ordinarily take years of human labor. In this presentation, we discuss our approach to accurately detecting and identifying human subjects in transmissive media, our initial findings using commercially available AI models, and the subsequent refinements made to our workflow to generate the most accurate metadata. In addition to working with commercially available AI models, we developed strategies for validation of AI-generated results without additional human supervision, and explored the benefits of building bespoke, heritage-specific AI models. By combining all of these tools, we developed a highly customized solution that greatly expedited accurate metadata generation with minimal human oversight, operated efficiently on large collections, and supported discovery of novel content within the archive.

Film digitized from the National Archives of Estonia

We hope you can join us for the conference. You can learn more about our work with the Estonian National Archives here.

*At the time of publication this conference is scheduled to be in person, but the VRA Executive Board is monitoring the status of the global pandemic very closely and may make changes according to the state of public health. More details can be found here.

The HistoryMakers Chooses DT

DT Is Chosen By The HistoryMakers To Digitize Personal Collections

Digital Transitions has been selected by The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive, to digitize the historical personal collections of many interviewed for the archive. DT Heritage will supply best-in-class, preservation grade, digitization solutions, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, copy systems, scanning platforms, and automation software. Our Pixel Acuity specialists will combine these advanced technologies with adaptive workflows to preserve the various materials, including photographs, scrapbooks, letters, speeches, and other historically relevant documents that highlight and contextualize a person’s life and career.

The HistoryMakers is the foremost keeper of the country’s African American oral history and culture and has interviewed almost 3,400 African American leaders. Their collection offers the most extensive effort to record the Black experience since the WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930s and helps refashion a more inclusive record of American history. The urgent need to salvage endangered primary materials across the country created this project and will expose significant aspects of twentieth Century African American history currently missing from the historical record.

Peter Siegel, Owner and Founder of DT Heritage


 “The HistoryMakers is the foremost keeper of the country’s African American oral history and culture. We’re honored that The HistoryMakers organization has entrusted DT Heritage with this incredible undertaking . . . The HistoryMakers’ digitization project is a great example of how organizations can make their treasures available to the world through the power of high-quality imaging.”

Julieanna Richardson, Founder and President of The HistoryMakers



 “We are thrilled about this unique partnership. Digital Transitions and their service division Pixel Acuity are giants in the field of digital preservation . . . They have stepped forward to help us rescue the personal collections of our HistoryMakers by using state-of-the-art digitization combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to share this unique documentation of African American life, history, and culture with the world.”

We’re honored to have been chosen by The HistoryMakers and are grateful to have the opportunity to digitize this collection. To learn more click here.

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