Canadian Broadsides and Pamphlets: Technical Information

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The objective of the Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides Collection was to digitize and provide web access to the pre-1930 Canadian pamphlet and broadside holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

The project implementation can be divided into three separate processes:

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 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The Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides collection was originally made available on-line using ColdFusion technology. In 2017 the site was migrated from ColdFusion to Islandora. Click here to view a web archived copy of the original site.