Providing images

As we do not always have an image of every print, or images of the quality we
would prefer, assistance in providing better images is always gratefully
received. This page provides information for those who would like to help us
by providing images of prints for which we either lack an image, or only have
a poor image. 

We will generally only use any such images for display here, and scholarly purposes, and will take steps to protect the images. Please see the "Watermarks" section below, for more about this.

Thanks in advance for helping! It will truly need a community effort to make this site complete.

How to create an image

This section describes various approaches to creating an image.

The best way to produce a high-quality image of a print is to scan it, rather than photograph it. That is because cameras almost always do not exactly map the image the lens system is pointed at onto the sensor which records that image; with real lens systems, the image is usually somewhat distorted. (See here and here for more about this.)

Although it is possible to mostly correct such distortions, with various software tools, we don't currently have those tools available, and in any event, scans usually provide better images anyway.

However, a photograph is better than nothing, so if you do not have access to a scanner, by all means use a digital camera. A section below gives tips on using a camera.

Scanning prints

Unfortunately, most scanners are for standard letter size (A4, or 8-1/2" x 11"), and the typical ō-ban sized print is somewhat larger than that.

If you have, or have access to, a large-format scanner (A3, or 11" x 17"), that is clearly optimal. (If you're really serious, you can find used ones on eBay for as little as US$100, but we realize our average contributor is not about to go to those lengths!)

Failing that, you can scan your print(s) in two sections (top and bottom), and send us the two parts; we can then 'glue' the two parts together electronically. Important: Make sure that there is some overlap between the two scans.

We have not yet settled on the optimal resolution setting for our high-quality images yet; we hope to make a decision on this soon, after completing some experiments we have in progress. In the meantime, a minimum of 100 dots per inch should be used, with 150 dpi preferable (the latter will produce an image about 2100 pixels height, for an average ō-ban print). If you don't mind, 200 dpi would be even better.

When you save the image, JPEG format is preferable for these very large images, but please use the highest-quality option (i.e. least compression) for the JPEG image which your software has available.

Using a digital camera

As mentioned, there is also the digital camera option... usually not the greatest images, but it's easy and quick. Here are a couple of tips for getting the best results: To help us in reading the title, date seals, printer seals, etc please provide close-ups of all cartouches, seals, etc; these don't usually show up as clearly in photographs as they do in scans.

Sending us the image(s)

To get the image(s) to us, you can either i) upload them to a photo-sharing site, and then email us the URL(s), or ii) email the image(s) directly to us.

Instructions for doing the latter are available here.


Note that our larger images generally contain watermarks, to discourage unauthorized re-use of images from the site; this is to protect the people and institutions who have provided our images. We will habitually add a watermark to any large image provided to us, so image contributors do not need to worry about performing this operation themselves.

In fact, we prefer it if contributors do not add their own watermarks, so that all the images on the site will contain a similar watermark, rather than a hodge-podge of different ones. We are willing to be flexible on this policy, if that is a requirement for getting an image - but note that such images will be replaced when possible, to make our lives simpler.

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© Copyright 2009 by J. Noel Chiappa

Last updated: 15/August/2009