presented at the International Workshop on Virtual Observatory Plate Content Digitization, Archive Mining, Image Sequence Processing, in Sofia, Bulgaria in April 2005, published in Proceedings of the International Workshop on Virtual Observatory: Plate Content Digitization, Archive Mining, Image Sequence Processing, 2006 M. Tsvetkov, V. Golev, F. Murtagh, and R. Molina, eds., Sofia: Heron Press, p. 54.

The Harvard Plate Scanning Project

by Douglas J. Mink, Alison Doane, Robert Simcoe, Edward Los, Jonathan Grindlay
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

There are over 500,000 glass photographic plates in the Harvard Plate Stacks, exposed in both the northern and southern hemispheres between 1885 and 1993. This 100 year coverage is a unique resource for studying temporal variations in the universe. We realized that it would be even more useful if the images were all available in digital form over the Internet. We report on progress in the design and construction of a high resolution, large {f}ield scanner, which we are building after discovering that no commercial model could adequately deal with our largest, most useful plates. In addition to plate scanning, we discuss our progress toward digitizing the catalog of plates, constructing an automatic pipeline to make the scanned images useful, and the scanning of the handwritten observing logs which provide the most complete information about the conditions under which the plates were taken.

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ADS Abstract

[Plate Stack Scanning]