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Technical Details

Collection of specimen data:

This data was collected from the appropriate museums, in the following order, Specimens sorted into numeric order, specimen number noted, dimensions measured (height x width x depth ±5mm), acquisition date & year noted this was then added to a simple spreadsheet. Barcode labels produced, with museum system name and consecutive numbering, specimens then labelled.


Obtaining good quality photographs of anatomical specimens in glass or acrylic containers is difficult. Obviously the specimen cannot beremoved otherwise a huge amount of work would be involved. Without good qualit images the project would be useless and the following technical issues were addressed in order to produce the images on this site. 

Photographing Mounted museum specimens:

  1. These are difficult to light due to refraction & scintillation problems.
  2. Do you show the container or not?
  3. It is more difficult to photograph when showing the container as the perspex gives rise to scintillation.
  4. All cut ends of glass or perspex will look bright as light escapes with the scintillation.
  5. Using black card behind the specimen prevents this effect being seen on the background.
  6. Scratches can be eliminated by applying an oil of high refractive index, i.e. as used for oil immersion microscope objectives.

File conversion & optimisation of images:

Image files from the camera were captured at a maximum resolution of 8MB pixels, in TIFF file format. This equals a file size of 22.8MB per image (3264 x2448 pixels) this is our Master archive image. These images were then optimised to prepare them for Web delivery.

Optimisation steps

Conversion of file format from TIFF to JPEG. Using original Master archive image, rotation of image (to correct anatomical orientation), crop as necessary, optimise light levels, then saved as adjusted image no file name change (Because format change will help identify Master Archived from Adjusted file)

From this adjusted file whose physical dimensions are still to large for web delivery, three further files were produced. Just simply an adjustment of image physical size.

  1. Super size file 700 x 525 or 525 x 700 pixels, approximately 21% of original file dimensions.
  2. Viewing size file 500 x 375 or 375 x 500 pixels, approximately 15% of original file dimensions.
  3. Thumbnail size file 150 x 113 or 113 x 150 pixels, approximately 5% of original file dimensions.

Equipment / software used:

  • Camera: Sony DSC F828 (8 Megapixel)
  • Close up filters x1, x2, x4, x10 as required.
  • Lights
  • 2 x 160GB Western Digital External Hard drives
  • Wasp Technologies Wand reader
  • Barcode software: Nicelabel
  • Adobe: Photoshop
  • Adobe: Dreamweaver

This page was last udated in July 2019 by bartspathology