Patent Medicine

Technical Information

The objective of The Patent Medicine digital collection was to digitize and provide web access to this valuable resource.

The project implementation can be divided into three separate processes:

  • Scanning
  • Metadata creation
  • Database creation and web access

The scanning was done by the Collection Digitization Department, University of Toronto Library, on the Eyelike digital camera system V 3.04. The master images have been captured to the following standard:

File Format: TIFF

Scanning Bit Depth: 8-bit per channel of colour information (24 per pixel)

Compression: Uncompressed

Digital Resolution: 600 dpi

Since the chosen standard for archiving generates large files (average file size 48 MB), the project team chose to convert the images to JPGs for online delivery. The site provides users with 4 sizes of JPGs—a thumbnail for quick reference and three of varying sizes for examination and usage. In order to balance the onscreen quality with the overall size of the download, JPG images were created at a medium compression level.

The collection contains cookbooks, songbooks, family health guides, and tradecards.

The structural metadata was captured in a relational database during the scanning process. The structural metadata tables contain information about the pagination of the document, correlation between filename and page numbers, features of the document as well as particular comments about the quality of the original material.

The descriptive metadata was also saved in a relational database format. The descriptive metadata contains fields such as title, author, subject and others that facilitate in the discovery and retrieval of information.

In 2017 the collection was migrated from ColdFusion to Islandora. At this time, the relational database was converted to MODS xml. 

Database Creation and Web Access
The Patent Medicine digital collection is initially made available on-line using ColdFusion technology. ColdFusion is a web application development product that enables the creation of dynamic websites by providing database to web connectivity. 

This digital collection was initially built using ColdFusion and then migrated to Islandora 7 in 2017. Click here to view a web archived copy of the original ColdFusion site. In 2024 the digital collection was migrated from Islandora 7 to the University of Toronto's homegrown Collections U of T Platform. Click here to view a web archived copy of the original Islandora 7 site.

Technical Information