A NEW LOOK, SAME INDUSTRY-LEADING SERVICE & SUPPORT

Digital Transitions History

Digital Transitions was founded in 2003 with the goal to help professional photographers achieve their creative vision with the absolute best hardware and service in the industry. With this goal in mind, we grew beyond being a basic “camera store” into a multi-divisional, multi-disciplinarian digital imaging resource leader.

Our Division of Cultural Heritage launched in 2005 to serve the library, museum, and archives communities with innovative new products designed by our internal R&D team specifically with cultural heritage professionals in mind. Over time, we’ve expanded our offerings outside of hardware and software solutions to include our popular Project Lemonade webinar series, growing knowledge resource centerindustry-leading training, and networking events(like our upcoming Round Table.)

In 2019, we acquired our service division Pixel Acuity, further expanding our offerings to the cultural heritage community. With an in-house team of imaging experts and state-of-the-art equipment, we’re able to solve any digitization problem that comes across your desk while fitting seamlessly into your existing workflow.

Expansion With Cultural Heritage

As we expanded in size, product scope, and knowledge leadership, our identity should expand with it. Each of our divisions has unique offerings, and until now, they’ve held unique identities. We want to make it easier for our community to understand how our divisions work together to bring you the best possible imaging solution. To achieve this, we’ve unified our brand identity across each of our divisions and implemented a brand new (and easier to navigate) portal page.

DIGITAL TRANSITIONS
REDEFINING TECHNOLOGY FOR THE FUTURE OF IMAGING

Digital Transitions Heritage:
DT Heritage is the leading designer and manufacturer of digitization solutions including advanced copy systems, revolutionary scanning platforms, and sophisticated automation software for your collections. Using our diverse backgrounds in engineering, photography, conservation, and collections management, we provide custom solutions to enhance productivity without sacrificing image quality.
Our worldwide client base of top-tier institutions makes us the authority on Heritage Digitization.
www.heritage-digitaltransitions.com

Pixel Acuity:
Pixel Acuity is dedicated to delivering preservation-grade digitization services. We have established a proven track record of successful projects for our clients, from cultural heritage institutions to corporate organizations. Pixel Acuity deploys state-of-the-art technologies and adaptive workflows to achieve your project’s goals, and seamlessly integrate with your institution’s operations.
From works of art and natural history to film and archival documents, our team of imaging experts is equipped to take on the challenges of your collection – no matter how diverse.
www.pixelacuity-digitaltransitions.com

Digital Transitions Photo:
DT Photo brings industry-leading photographic solutions to the world’s most discerning photographers. With best-in-class technology and a team of dedicated experts, we set the standard for digital medium format photography. Whether you’re looking to own, rent, or need support and training – we’ve got you covered.
It’s not about affording the best equipment, it’s about being afforded the best experience.
www.photo-digitaltransitions.com

Digital Transitions:
www.digitaltransitions.com

While our brand identity may look a little different, we still bring the same passion for excellence and making the customer experience top-priority that allowed us to grow to this point in the first place. We’re looking forward to growing with our existing community and welcoming new professionals into our world of digitization.

If you have any questions about how we can help you find the right digitization solution, email info@pixelacuity.com.

DT PixelFlow

Advanced Digitization Workflows for All Applications

Our next-gen proprietary workflow software, DT PixelFlow, leverages AI and a multi-variant processing pipeline to deliver best-in-class OCR, metadata, and deliverables. DT PixelFlow streamlines the capture and enhancement of digital assets. For capture, its modular design and raw-file underpinnings enable highly-customizable project-based technical requirements such as file naming, folder structures, and file formats. For enhancement, it offers a wide range of traditional and artificial-intelligence metadata and analysis; for example, the OCR engine in DT PixelFlow is focused on the unique challenges of historic collections (handwritten, cursive, faded, poor condition, etc) and its facial recognition engine can identify notable individuals in photographic collections. DT PixelFlow enables us to deliver preservation-grade assets consistently and efficiently while seamlessly adapting to your unique processing pipeline.

We’ve closed the loop on quality control by building our own cloud-based online portal for digitization project management, QC, and delivery, DT CloudFlow. It allows secure remote or on-site supervision of ongoing digitization projects, and for the quality control review and correction thereof. DT CloudFlow can provide remote access to your employees, which aids in the correction and approval of the resulting text. This ensures every image meets your exact specifications.

Below are a few applications we use on a day-to-day basis, but we’re glad to cater to your specific needs.

Optical Character Recognition

One of DT PixelFlow’s most impactful innovations in cultural and corporate heritage imaging technology has been the ability to use the next-generation Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in our DT PixelFlow software to turn typed and handwritten documents into searchable text. Pixel Acuity is now not only able to generate the highest quality digital images for heritage collections but also to create searchable texts for the researchers and scholars who access these collections, revolutionizing the way that they conduct research.

Read More about our OCR Capabilities and our project with The Phillips Collection Archives here.

Metadata Processing

For cultural and corporate heritage professionals, metadata provides descriptive information about an object or resource, but it is also time-consuming to accumulate. Creating and maintaining metadata for a collection is an integral part of cataloging for a digital collection. Metadata provides context for an item within a collection. It can either be embedded in the digital file at or after the time of creation, or maintained in a centralized location such as a database, DAM, CMS, or spreadsheet. Using RAW rapid capture imaging with metadata embedding capabilities and DT PixelFlow, we are able to automate much of the metadata creation process and create workable metadata formats for institutions. This helps us increases our accuracy and flexibility in, providing metadata services.

Read More about our processing metadata with DT PixelFlow here.

Pixel Flow Meta Data Mapping Screen Grab
Mapping information from the IPTC metadata fields to the file derivative

Deliverables and Packaging

By capturing images using RAW rapid capture and utilizing our DT PixelFlow software to automate derivative generation, output directory structures, and deliverable packaging, we are able to make digital image processing and packaging more efficient and effective than ever before, allowing us to focus on delivering the highest quality product to our clients.

Read more about the deliverables we can offer with DT PixelFlow. 

Get In Touch

Contact us to learn more about how DT PixelFlow can improve your next project.

Looking for hardware? Learn more about our partner DT Heritage, for cultural and corporate heritage hardware solutions.

International Digitization In Estonia with Pixel Acuity

January 21, 2021 | by Kate Stone

International Digitization In Estonia

The Pixel Acuity team was recently selected for an international digitization project by The National Archive of Estonia, in which we will digitize a collection of approximately 100,000 pieces of film and glass plate transmissive materials. The collection was amassed from several collections and cultural heritage institutions around Estonia and we will be imaging the location at two different sites within the country, producing high-quality, preservation-grade, FADGI 4 star images.

Eric Philcox, Founder of Pixel Acuity, recently made his way there and we’re logging his travels here! Stay tuned for a final video reel showcasing the trip!

Follow us on Instagram for Live Updates.

Traveling For International Digitization

Even during an international pandemic, we were able to make the appropriate arrangements to get our staff and equipment to Estonia – safely, and within guidelines of both the United States and Estonia. All digitization will be executed on-site, and we’ll be able to work on all the post-processing remotely from the cloud at one of our offices in the United States.

January 21, 2021: Eric has arrived safely in Estonia and is taking the appropriate safety precautions before the start of the project.

International Digitization In Estonia
City Center in Estonia, where our team is currently located.

January 26, 2021: Eric toured the National Archives of Estonia which is housed in a former Soviet-era prison.

Famous Estonian film posters inside of the National Archives of Estonia

Prior to digitization, the glass plate negatives for our digitization project with the National Archives of Estonia require care and cleaning.

February 2, 2021: We have set up a DT Atom equipped with a Phase One iXG and begun digitizing film for the National Archives of Estonia.

April 8, 2021: As begin the month of April, our imaging professionals have shot over 63,000 pieces of film and almost 6000 glass plates in Tallinn! We’ve been transported through time with some beautiful portraits from the Photo Museum of Tallinn City, excavations from the Tallinn University Archeological Collection, and even Estonian art exhibits from the Estonian Art Museum!

Film digitized from the National Archives of Estonia
Film digitized from the National Archives of Estonia
Glass Plate Digitization

Ready To Work Together?

We’re prepared to take on your digitization project no matter your location. Contact us here for more information on project planning, services, and pricing.

Optical Character Recognition Now Available with DT PixelFlow

Pixel Acuity is proud to announce DT PixelFlow 2.0 OCR. It’s a game changer for the OCR of challenging historic collections such as faded handwritten correspondence, early printed material with esoteric typefaces, and manuscript material written in cursive. Cultural Heritage institutions have long complained of subpar results from the legacy OCR applications because they were designed primarily for the modern office material context. We’ve built our next-gen OCR workflow that leverages AI and a proprietary multi-variant processing pipeline, yielding best-in-class OCR results at a very competitive price. We’ve even closed the loop on quality control by building our own cloud-based OCR QC platform CloudFlow and can provide remote access to your work-from-home employees to aid in the correction and approval of the resulting text.

Contact us to for more information on how we can implement DT PixelFlow into your upcoming project!

PA ArCHER Grant | Winner Announcement

Featured Image courtesy of the the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

We are excited to announce the winner of the Pixel Acuity Artificial Intelligence in Cultural Heritage Exploratory Research Grant (PA ArCHER Grant): The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Winner

Based on the quantity and quality of proposals we received, it’s clear the CH community is excited to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence. The proposed projects were diverse and fascinating, spanning collection types from Restaurant Menus to Lantern Slides, and tasks such as label detection and image segmentation to OCR of handwritten ledgers. Relying on our Grant Advisory Board we ultimately selected the proposal that we feel will most benefit the broader cultural heritage community, submitted by Cecilia Peterson at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

What’s Next?

The driving force of this grant is to help the entire community learn what tasks and problems are well-suited to AI, and which are not. To that end, we will be providing detailed feedback and a review of each proposal by the AI experts at RIVER ai and the CH community members that comprised our Grant Advisory Board. For those institutions that agree, we will post those reviews publicly so everyone can read what elements of each proposal were deemed a good fit for the capabilities and efficiencies of AI.

We look forward to publishing and presenting the results of the awarded grant project, alongside with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage early next year. The proposal is to leverage AI to describe and enhance the value of the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections (RRFAC), one of the largest archival collections of ethnographic and cultural heritage material at the Institution. The Digital Transitions and RIVERai teams look forward to digging into this exciting task with Cecilia Peterson, Digital Project Archivist, and her colleagues at the Center.

Thank You

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bethany Davis of the University of Iowa Libraries, Todd Swanson of the J. Paul Getty Trust, Luciano Johnson of The Frick Art Collection for their contributions as Grant Advisory Board members, and to each of the institutions that prepared and submitted proposals. This granting process, and the conversations it sparked, was a pleasant reminder, in a year of social distance, that this is a tightly knit and warm community.

Have An Upcoming Project?

Looking for some help with an upcoming project involving AI in Cultural Heritage? Pixel Acuity can help! Contact us with a brief description of your project.

AI in Cultural Heritage: An Iron Man Suit

By Doug Peterson and Brady Wilks

Proper stewardship of a Cultural Heritage (CH) collection means far more than the possession of iconic physical items. Institutions must describe their collections in ways that make them accessible and useful to visitors, researchers, and humanity as a whole. Artificial Intelligence (AI), in its various forms, is emerging as a key to the efficient and scalable description of cultural heritage collections. In this article we will define and describe AI in the CH context, then explore a hypothetical museum and its uses of AI. We will close with a practical recommendation on how your institution can get started with AI.

What is AI?

AI is an umbrella term for a variety of technologies, some of which are far from new. For example, computer vision, where a computer describes or translates the visual content of an image, has been used in the context of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) since the mid-1900s. But while many AI technologies have been with us for decades, the pace of development during the previous decade has brought it front and center at many institutions. While there are many reasons for this new focus on AI in CH, the most profound is scale.

Implementing AI Will Vastly Improve Your Workflow.

Describing a cultural heritage collection (e.g. adding metadata, mapping cross-references, translating, or transcribing content) is time-consuming, especially in the context of the stunning size of many such collections. While human-effort scales in a linear manner – a librarian needs twice as much time to enter metadata for twice as many items – AI can often scale a librarian’s effort without any practical limit. This is done by having the human do a fraction of the total work, and then using the results of that effort in order to train an AI model to do the rest. The human can also supervise the AI, which learns from any mistakes the human points out in its work. AI is like Iron Man’s suit: allowing an individual to accomplish far more.


Let’s explore a hypothetical scenario where AI could greatly enrich a collection. The fictitious Great Seating Museum (GSM) houses an impressive array of chairs, stools, couches, and other manmade seating. The opportunities for AI across the entire GSM is expansive. 

Like most institutions, for every “signature” item in its collection, GSM houses many supportive materials which researchers have limited access to. For example, GSM has a chair from the estate of President Adams on prominent display and also has the original bill of sale, correspondence between Adams’ secretary and the chairmaker detailing his various design requests, a pre-production sketch of the chair design approved by the President, and a series of letters recording the transfer of ownership of the chair over the years. Such supportive documents are often stored together and are assigned an accession number. These documents contain data that can be cross-referenced. For example, the young chairmaker’s apprentice whose name only appears on the shipping receipt  (and certainly not on the chair itself), later went on to become a renowned chairmaker responsible for many of the other chairs in the collection. Without AI the only way such a connection would be made would be by the brute-force effort of a researcher. With so many collections containing large amounts of supportive material, such connections are surely missed far more often than they are discovered. That’s where AI can be employed.

With an AI technique such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), the name of the chairmaker’s apprentice could be flagged as a potential connection to other items in the collection, greatly reducing the friction to discovery. A Machine Learning (ML) algorithm might be trained to look for similarities between chairs both visually (using Computer Vision) and based on schematics or other written design information, and uncover that President Adams chair has a lot of similarities to other chairs in the collection, creating an interesting mystery that might lead a researcher to notice the apprentice’s name.

Additionally, AI could assist the GSM Conservation team to identify and flag high-risk items in the collection. In a previous era, many items in the collection were encapsulated in Mylar, and the current conservation team has decided that this was not appropriate and is causing fungal growth; they train a Machine Learning algorithm to identify such materials by manually labeling 1% of the collection, and the algorithm returns results for the remaining 99%.


AI allows humans at CH institutions to scale their efforts to granulate, abstract, and connect the data that enriches their collections. The results can find new threads of commonality between and deepen our understanding of our collections. All of a sudden, a single researcher can access information that would otherwise be unavailable or perhaps left unknown. Making connections from one object to other references could open up new worlds beyond a person’s interest or perhaps by expanding a researcher’s original thought. The visitor could be offered suggestions based on their evaluation of an experience.  The museum could expand its offerings to make a virtual tour more rich and expansive to those who could not otherwise afford to see the collections in person. The development and use of AI in cultural heritage is up to us to define. We are responsible for its use, its importance, and its contribution to the community.  

Ready To Get Started?

As a community, despite being a frequent buzzword at conferences and academic papers in the last few years, we are just at the start of our journey to using AI in a practical and effective way; that’s why PA is funding the Artificial Intelligence in Cultural Heritage Grant (PA ArCHER Grant). We hope you’ll survey your institution’s missions, collections, capabilities, and goals, and write a proposal for a task that you think AI can assist you with. No matter the outcome of your proposal, you, we, and the community as a whole will be taking another step forward on that journey together.


The extended deadline is fast approaching.  Read more about the PA ArCHER Grant here.
Need help developing your proposal? Questions and Ideas can be directed to Brady Wilks, Grant Manager. bhw@pixelacuity.com

Learn More About Pixel Acuity!

Now, more than ever, digitization of our heritage is critical. Preserving cultural heritage collections, improving accessibility of historic records, and transcribing hidden scientific and forensic materials are just a few examples of projects that institutions have undertaken within the past year alone.

Working with the world’s most demanding institutions has required us to optimize every aspect of our offerings. Each of our workstations complies with national and international image quality standards: FADGI 4-Star, Metamorfoze, and ISO 19264. Our team often creates custom solutions for our clients. In the past we’ve created custom color profiles and conversion methods for challenging historic film stocks and developed purpose-built software. Some of our solutions include AI models for streamlining workflows, optical character recognition, transcribing handwritten text, and automating metadata entry. We understand that every job is unique, and bring those tools and expertise from every project we’ve done to your project too.

Tell us a little bit about you and your upcoming digitization project to get a quote or send us your questions to get more information.

Please include your primary material type or types and the size of your collection in your message (such as flat, bound, transmissive, or three dimensional materials).










PA ArCHER Grant | Frequently Asked Questions

Ready to submit your application? Please submit your materials here.


In addition to responding to some of your frequently asked questions below, Pixel Acuity hosted a webinar as a resource for applicants to get a better understanding of the grant. You can watch the event here.

During the webinar, Pixel Acuity presented information relating to the grant including grant criteria, application process, our intention behind funding the project, and details related to equipment loans and technical support for digitization.

Experts in Artificial Intelligence (machine learning and computer vision) from RIVER ai discussed what kinds of problems and tasks AI is well suited for. A member of the Pixel Acuity team described AI’s capabilities for digitization and outline the resources that will be available to applicants should they need assistance, in the form of digitization services, in order to complete their project. Additionally, a Digital Transitions staff member described their product line and outline the digitization hardware and technical support that will be available to the applicants throughout the duration of their projects.


Brady Wilks, the primary contact for the grant, will be answering questions during two one-hour sessions, which will be held via Demio. The format will be similar to that of in-person office hours in an academic setting.

You can register for the third Q+A session on September 17th here.

You can re-watch previous Q+A sessions here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to apply for the PA ArCHER Grant?

A. All private, commercial, non-profit, individual, and government institutions with digitization programs or projects within North America and associated territories may apply. Please see the Eligibility section of this document for more specific information.

Q. Will existing clients or customers be eligible for the grant?

A. Yes, but the selection process does not measure that factor in the decision making process. Please see the Eligibility section of this document. 

Q. What kind of projects will be considered for this grant?

A. As an exploratory grant the definitions are purposefully vague so that applicants will have freedom to create a proposal unique to their own idea. We have provided some broad examples in the ‘About Artificial Intelligence’ section of this document, which might be exactly what you are looking for or simply provide an example of what is possible, leading you to your own idea.

Q. Will applicants be allowed to witness or review the Granting Advisory Board selection process?

A. We will publish the results of the Granting Advisory Board selection but have yet to decide on logistics regarding a review process or specifics to the selection process.

Q. Will the Granting Advisory Board provide feedback to applicants that were not selected?

A. We will make a concentrated effort to provide feedback to every application. We cannot absolutely guarantee this should the number of proposals be unexpectedly large. If we decide to make this a recurring grant for future years, we will distill some of the feedback provided in order to help future applicants on additional granting periods. 

Q. If a grant is funded and it proves to be a success that should continue beyond the grant term, will you be able to provide additional support for continuing the effort?

A. At the conclusion of the project the results will be published and presented to the community at large. Should the grantee want to continue the project, we can meet as a group to discuss potential for continued support. We can not commit specifically to any extensions of equipment use, funding, or licensing of software, but we are willing to discuss potential ways of continued support. 

Q. Should we have a professional grant writer help us with the application?

A. We have worked to make this a simple process and we feel it is not necessary to hire any outside support but should you have staff with grant writing experience on your team, then certainly take advantage of any resource you have to assist in preparing your proposal.

Q. Who is financially backing the award?

A. Pixel Acuity, a division of Digital Transitions Inc., is leading the grant project. Each of our divisions has multiple responsibilities, both financial and supportive. Together our team is funding the monetary portion of the award. Pixel Acuity is offering digitization support. Digital Transitions is providing equipment for digitization and technical support for that system. RiverAI is providing the AI/ML components of the grant with their support focused on building the AI. All other granting advisory board members are volunteering their time to make suggestions for the selection process. 

Q. Due to COVID-19, my institution is not sure when or even if we will be able to open our digitization facilities to in-person access. Is this still a grant we can apply for?

A. Absolutely. In fact, this grant is ideal for institutions looking for projects that bring value to their collections and stakeholders in a period where traditional digitization is slowed or halted due to physical distancing and other restrictions. Please specify if the collection in question is already digitized and if your IT team can provide us remote access to the digital assets, if the collection has not been digitized, and your facility is inaccessible (or lacks spare capacity for this project). We are able to digitize them at one of our facilities provided you are able to arrange for them to be shipped or driven.

Questions not found in the FAQ resource can be asked during our Grant Overview Webinar, which is scheduled to take place August 13, 2020. Questions deemed relevant during the webinar will be compiled, organized, and answered at the end of the webinar. 

The PA ArCHER Grant Deadline is Now Extended!

After considering our current timeline and requests from the community wanting to participate, we have decided to extend the proposal submission due date through the end of September.  We recognize this window is short and want to accommodate everyone so that more time is available.

The proposal deadline has been extended to September 30, 2020


This means our current schedule will extend with the following revisions:
Proposal Due Date – Sept. 30th 2020, 11:59PM
Advisory Granting Board Review – Oct. 1
Grant Winner Announcement – Oct. 2
Project Commencement Nov. 2 (or sooner)


We will reevaluate the time needed for project completion and work to identify a completion date and presentation dates. 


For those of you who have submitted, or are rushing to complete, you may use extra time to ask more questions and/or develop the proposal further.  Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions directly to bhw@pixelacuity.com.  Whether you have questions or want to generate ideas and review your collection, we can schedule time and include all who are best suited to support you for that discussion. Please let us know how best we can support you. 


You can download the formal call for proposals here.



We are looking forward to hearing about your ideas and we are excited about being able to select one for funding. Please refer to our full Grant Application document and consider joining us for a webinar reviewing the details of the grant and hosting Q&A drop-in sessions during the proposal creation phase.

Questions?

Check out our FAQ Page!

Watch our informational webinar to get a better understanding of the grant. You can watch the event here.

We will be holding an additional Q+A session via Demio during which Brady Wilks, the primary contact for the grant, will answer questions. The format will be similar to that of in-person office hours in an academic setting. You can contact Brady directly via email at bhw@pixelacuity.com

Watch the replays of our previous Q+A sessions here.

Ready to Apply?

Submit your application here by September 30, 2020 at 11:59PM ET to be considered.

Announcing the PA ArCHER Grant

As the digitization industry continues to grow and evolve, there is increasing interest in how the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning might influence our community. The potential for how we can utilize this technology is only limited by our ability to identify possible uses and dedicate time needed to train AI/ML models. Pixel Acuity and Digital Transitions have partnered with RIVER ai in order to announce the Pixel Acuity Artificial Intelligence in Cultural Heritage Exploratory Research Grant (PA ArCHER Grant for short). 


This grant is designed to further research in, and develop community understanding of, the state of machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and other forms of artificial intelligence as applied to the challenges and tasks of cultural heritage institutions in regards to the annotation, description, or other enrichment of their collections. 


You can download the formal call for proposals here.



We are looking forward to hearing about your ideas and we are excited about being able to select one for funding. Please refer to our full Grant Application document and consider joining us for a webinar reviewing the details of the grant and hosting Q&A drop-in sessions during the proposal creation phase.

Questions?

Check out our FAQ Page!

Watch our informational webinar to get a better understanding of the grant. You can watch the event here.

Two one-hour sessions will be held via Demio during which Brady Wilks, the primary contact for the grant, will answer questions. The format will be similar to that of in-person office hours in an academic setting.

You can watch our previous Q+A sessions here.

Ready to Apply?

Submit your application here by September 30, 2020 to be considered.