Table of Contents for: Section J | Entire RFP




The high demand items are copy photographs that have been produced by the Library of Congress over the last thirty years, generally in response to requests from patrons outside the Library. The bulk of the copy photographs were produced from original graphic materials in the Library's Prints and Photographs Division. A black-and-white negative or color transparency or negative is retained by the Library for each item reproduced by the Library's Photoduplication Service. The copy photograph is for future reproduction orders to eliminate repeated copying and to reduce handling of the original materials in the collection.

About 100,000 of the high demand items were digitized beginning in 1992. The following list indicates the numbers of additional items remaining to be digitized as of January 1997. Each year, approximately 5,000 new copy images are produced.

The current inventory of copy photographs consists of:


4.2.1 Black-and-White Negatives

Each black-and-white negative is housed in a paper sleeve and marked with the Library's reproduction number. Each reproduction number is composed of a series, e.g., LC-USZ62, and a unique item number. The item number often has been inked on the clear border of the sheet film negative. The 8x10-inch negatives form the bulk of the copy photographs to be copied for this project.

Compared to a typical black-and-white camera negative, most of the Library's copy negatives have relatively low contrast and generally have lower density. Although no systematic survey has been made, the following table provides density measurements for six sample 8x10-inch negatives in a post-1992 group. The measurements were made on an Eseco Compumaster, model TR-90M with an aperture setting of 3mm.

Negative Maximum density Minimum density Difference
Sample 1 1.22 0.33 0.89
Sample 2 1.24 0.31 0.93
Sample 3 1.00 0.29 0.71
Sample 4 1.34 0.50 0.84
Sample 5 1.65 0.33 1.32
Sample 6 1.78 .62 1.16

The difference between the maximum and minimum densities for these images averages 0.98. For comparison, the 35mm negatives from Mead-Bateson Collection (resulting from typical in-the-field photography; Lot 2 in this solicitation) averages a 1.25 difference from Dmax to Dmin, with no items measuring a difference below 0.94.

The copy negatives were produced with low contrast in order to assure capture of the extreme tonal values from highlight to shadow.

Film type(s):

4.2.2 Color Transparencies and Slides

The 8 x 10- and 4 x 5-inch color transparencies are housed in clear plastic sleeves marked with the reproduction number. The sleeves have a snug fit. The sleeved transparency is additionally housed in a paper envelope, also marked with the reproduction number. Contractor personnel shall remove the envelopes and sleeves at the scanning station, and following image capture, shall resleeve and rehouse refiling them in numerical order.

The 2x2-inch color slides are stored in segmented boxes. Each slide is marked on its mount with the full reproduction number. The contractor shall remove the slides from the boxes and refile them in numerical order following capture.

Film types:

The images captured on the color transparencies and slides include the Kodak Gray Scale and Kodak Color Control Patches.

4.2.3 Color Negatives

The 4x5-inch color negatives are housed in clear plastic sleeves marked with the reproduction number. The sleeves have a snug fit. The 8x10-inch color negatives are not sleeved in plastic. All negatives are housed in paper envelopes, also marked with the reproduction number. The envelopes and sleeves shall be removed by the contractor at the scanning station. Following image capture, the contractor shall rehouse the negatives (after resleeving the 4x5s), refiling them in numerical order.

Film types:

The images captured on the color negatives include the Kodak Gray Scale and Kodak Color Control Patches.


4.3.1 Image Resolution--Larger Items

In accordance with C.4.3, other than 35mm slides, the following set of mandatory images shall be created for each item in the collection:

If applicable, the desirable image type to be created shall be as follows:

4.3.2 Image Resolution--35mm Slides

In accordance with C.4.3, the following set of mandatory images shall be created for each 35mm slide in the collection:

If applicable, the desirable image type to be created shall be as follows:

4.3.3 Challenge of Low Contrast Source Material

The contractor shall use appropriate tools and techniques to compensate for the low-contrast of the black-and-white negatives and do the utmost to meet the requirement in Section C.3.4 regarding distribution of tonal values.

4.3.4 Cropping and Tonal Values

The contractor shall not crop the copy negative or transparency, i.e., the digital image shall reproduce the entire copy photograph, including any color patches or gray scales. The contractor shall not be influenced by apparent edges; it is sometimes difficult to determine where the original item ends, e.g., where the borders of a print on white paper end and a white background begins,

The contractor shall produce digital images that display the original items in their proper viewing orientation, understood to mean the item in the copy photograph, either portrait or landscape. All copy photographs are first generation reproductions, meaning that they are properly viewed from the base side of the film.

The contractor shall adjust tonality and color by analyzing the most important image area, e.g., the imprint portion of a print, giving some consideration to such elements as white borders. Generally speaking, the copy photographs show original items in their entirety, including edges or mounts, and may also include extraneous background features, e.g., part of a copy stand. These elements and features should be ignored when tonality or color are being adjusted.


4.4.1 Filenaming

Each copy photograph format has been assigned a unique number by the Library beginning with the characters LC-USZ. To produce computer files which will be compatible with MS-DOS filenaming conventions, the Library has assigned a two-character code for each of the copy photograph series. The contractor shall assign filenames to individual images that employ the two-character digital code as the first two characters of the filenames for images in that series.


8x10 black-and-white negatives
4x5 black-and-white negatives
5x7 black-and-white negatives
2x2 color slides
4x5 color transparencies
8x10 color transparencies
4x5 color negatives
8x10 color negatives





The contractor shall assign the next five characters of the digital image file name by using the item number of the image, according to the instructions that follow. This number appears on both the copy photograph and the sleeve which houses the photograph.

The LC-USZ62 series for 8x10 black-and-white copy negatives begins with item number 100,000. Because this number is six characters long, the first digit ("1") shall be dropped from the filename. For example, the first seven characters of a digital file name for copy negative LC-USZ62-107645 would be 3c07645.

All other copy photograph series are item numbered below 10,000. For these items, the contractor shall add zeroes in front of the first non-zero number to fill the number to five characters. For example, the first seven characters of a digital file name for the copy color slide LC-USZC2-3541 would be 3f03541.

The contractor shall assign the eighth character and the extensions to filenames in order indicate the file type and format, as follows: