Image Quality Assurance Specialist

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Created: February 7, 2013


Stanford University Libraries (SUL) has an ongoing program to produce and archive digital reproductions of library materials. Digital Library Systems and Services (DLSS) supports SUL’s program by managing and operating several labs dedicated to digital imaging, as well as engaging in collaborative digitization projects around the world. The materials digitized in the labs largely consist of unique and/or historically significant materials, often rich in color and fine detail. To support long-term preservation as well as research, digital surrogates must faithfully represent the character and color of the original artifact. The standard for quality is extraordinarily high, especially for fine art, and rare and precious materials. DLSS labs also support mass digitization of both published and unpublished materials. For mass digitization projects, especially those involving texts, image quality must support acceptable viewing of scanned pages as well as high accuracy optical character recognition. Quality procedures and requirements vary across content types and projects, but in all cases a rigorous quality assurance program is necessary.

Reporting to the Manager of Digital Production, the Image Quality Assurance Specialist will be responsible for ensuring that high standards for image quality are achieved in DLSS digitization labs, projects and workflows. He or she will ensure that imaging lab workflows include appropriate quality assurance procedures, will configure software and hardware to comply with image standards, will develop and codify quality assurance standards and procedures, will collaborate with project managers and imaging staff on proper imaging-related techniques, and will consult with SUL staff and external partners on issues of image quality. He or she will play an active role in reviewing and analyzing scanned images from all projects and devices to ensure that they meet quality standards.

• Work actively with SUL's imaging lab staff to ensure that lab setup and digitization procedures produce the highest quality output. This involves training and ongoing communication with imaging specialists, quality assurance staff and project managers, calibration and validation of hardware and software, and critical analysis of lab output for the purposes of improving lab workflow and outputs. The Image QA specialist will be on-call to assist lab staff in trouble-shooting issues related to image quality. 25%
• Actively review the quality of output files and metadata produced for imaging projects at SUL, at partner institutions, and by vendors. This includes detailed review of image and derivative files in a controlled environment, and producing formal quality reports to lab staff and partners. 25%
• Conduct detailed reviews of library collections that have been identified for potential digitization. Develop preliminary production plans, describing appropriate imaging devices and workflows and including time and cost estimates, to help determine feasibility and support resource planning for potential projects. Help determine if outsourcing digitization is appropriate for certain projects, and support vendor selection and acceptance testing of vendor output. 25%
• Develop and document QA standards and procedures as part of SUL’s digitization workflows. 20%
• Consult with SUL project managers, and partner institutions on issues related to image quality and digital preservation of image data. This includes developing and maintaining relationships with peers in the cultural heritage imaging community, and gathering knowledge on and actively contributing to new developments, methodologies and best practices in the field. 5%

Required Knowledge & Expertise:
• Expert knowledge and at least three years of experience with a range of digital imaging and digital photography technologies, including expertise in digitization lab setup, digital camera and scanner technology, digitization workflow, imaging system troubleshooting, and image analysis and processing software.
• Demonstrated experience with technical photography, lighting principles, procedures and studio setup.
• Ability to troubleshoot photography hardware issues and acceptance test and modify equipment for highest quality output.
• Expert knowledge of image file formats, and current and emerging image standards, including TIFF, JPEG, and JPEG2000.
• Expert knowledge in color management, including use and creation of color profiles, color calibration of imaging devices and displays, and color analysis.
• Expert knowledge in setting up an appropriate quality assurance environment for the evaluation of high-quality digital images of cultural heritage materials.
• Knowledge of optical character recognition software, and the relationship between image quality and OCR accuracy.
• Experience assessing cultural heritage materials for digitization, and developing professional project plans and production cost estimates.
• Demonstrated experience and understanding of principles of image quality assurance procedures and standards that apply to the evaluation of library, archive or museum objects.
• Strong technical understanding of output technologies, specifically methodologies and techniques for the accurate reproduction of the color of original objects on screen or in print.
• Experience training others in photography techniques and image quality review methods, and experience creating training materials.
• Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, as well as possess strong interpersonal skills.
• Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
• Demonstrated ability working with all levels of staff, vendors and consultants.
• Experience in a research library setting
• Experience working with vendors, managing RFI/RFP processes to select vendors for hardware/software purchases or imaging services.

Desired Knowledge & Expertise:
• Experience using the Image Science Associates Golden Thread target and software for device calibration and image quality assessment.
• Formal training in technical photography.
• Knowledge of metadata standards related to digital still images. Understanding of preservation issues involved in reformatting print materials, specifically training and experience handling rare and fragile special collections materials.
• Sufficient computer systems and networking knowledge to implement and manage imaging systems in a heterogeneous hardware and software environment.
• Ability to work effectively with computer systems administrators and software developers to establish and integrate automated image QA processing into routine workflows. Knowledge of current and emerging cultural heritage standards pertaining to the preservation of digital files, in particular still image files and associated metadata.

Two to three years of experience required working in the field of digital imaging . Four to seven years of relevant experience desired. Work experience in the cultural heritage community a plus.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 23:46 UTC