Dragon and Phoenix Software Inc.

Digital Conservancy

DPS Digital Conservancy Methodology

The methodology used to conserve virtual textiles leverages repeatable image capture with a highly granular storage of data that relates to both the textile in general and the specific textile samples. The repeatable image capture is based on detailed Steele Photographic Protocols that address aspects of:

  • Ambient light
  • Topology contrast
  • Image distance
  • Image granularity
  • Image distortion
  • Camera perspective stability
  • Textile forms
  • Colour synchronization and reference

Selection of Textile Candidates

In conjunction with the textile museum or collection, textiles are selected for database inclusion based on variables such as: motifs, weaves, fiber types, colour and dye variations, mills and manufacturers, historical periods, etc.

Support Different Perspectives

All of the protocol controls provide high quality input for the database. The recorded and retained database elements address multiple avenues of investigation. In order to provide the widest possible value for divergent research perspectives, the information is kept in granular form. Some of the main viewpoints that form the underlying repository infrastructure are:

  • Museum or collector
  • Commercial designer
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Historical textile evolution
  • Visual degradation of dyes and fabrics
  • Design drift
  • Geographic concentration and migration
  • Cultural textile perception and indicators
  • Textile composition and form trends

Image Storage

The captured data is stored in a relational database management system that allows flexible connection and research inquiry. A clear distinction is made between the base textile and each collected specific fabric or textile instance. In such a manner, the first sample of a Cocheco Mills 1881 cotton print would build information on the basic manufacturing and the specific sample from a museum. When subsequent samples are found and captured, those samples are associated with the first. This allows textile historians and researchers to see relative effects of the different provenance of the textiles, how the dye has aged based on storage, etc.

Research Possibilities

The possibilities for research perspectives are extremely broad. They will continue to expand as the database size and content grow. The repository is projected to include more than one million textiles by the end of the year 2020.