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In-house and dial-up photo archives.

BESIDES COMPUTER PROBLEMS facing those working on photo archiving, there are a few photographic ones.

Brad Henderson of the Toronto Star put his finger on one of them when he said that, if an image were originally on color negative film but were used in the paper in black and white, you would not want to archive the published version because you might want to use it later in color.

Henderson, picture editor of the Star, said his department was still filing film as his newspaper, the largest in Canada, made the transition from its old letterpress operation to its new four-color offset plant. Then, if you set up a photo archive as a picture agency, you could find customers willing to pay for an image blocked from the archives by browsers as dial-up access becomes more popular. AFP now requires a guarantee of minimal use from its PressLink customers.

At the Los Angeles Times, Cecily. Surace, the newspaper's librarian, said she planned for "selective redundancy;' although the library did not intend to continue filing hard copy after 1994. At present, old hard copy is scanned into the paper's Mac-based archive after republication, she added.

Surace said she was "waiting for more robustness in image storage systems:'

Mildred Simpson, L.A. Times photo librarian, said an electronic image database started last November had 500 images in it so far. She has a staff of seven working on Mac Quadras with a Mac fileserver running AXS' NewsPhotoAccess.

Photo archives are becoming more important as agencies look to offer clients dial-up convenience for accessing photos in the wake of PressLink's success as a purveyor of images from such diverse sources as Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Knight-Ridder, and the Bertmann Archive, which contains the UPI and Reuters photo libraries, as well as historical photos.

Among developments in photo archiving are PhotoProcessor from AXS -- software that packages thumbnail and high-resolution images with captions in one compressed file and the new Version 8 software with compression for AP's PhotoStream report.

As always, there are also some newspaper people who have found their own solutions and are willing to share them for a price. Photoview is a software program for photo archiving developed at Idaho's Lewiston Tribune. It is part of a PC-based production system.

"You don't have to be in Silicon Valley to come up with these products," remarked Tribune data processing manager Glenn Cruickshank.

He said that the program was the resuit of five or six years of research and development on the part of Tribune Solutions, a subsidiary of the newspaper's Tribune Publishing Co.

PressLink's photo service is less than two years old, and PressLink itself dates from only 1986, when it was established by Knight-Ridder to exchange graphics among the chains newspapers and to sell them to others.

Now the emphasis at PressLink is on photos, according to Lisa King, on-line services coordinator. There are 47,000 pictures from all sources, available as either high-resolution images or thumbnails, she said.

The photo agencies select images to be carried on their PressLink bulletin boards and may require a contract covering photo credits, non-manipulation of images, and rates before access is provided.

Photos are archived in a database rented from the GE Network, and are available by phone lines and computer modem with PressLink Access software developed by AXS. A user pays $50 for the software and $6 a month to PressLink, which issues each user an ID number.

There is also a 23C-per-minute ($13.80 per hour) access fee, plus a downloading charge of 5.4 a kilocharacter. A thumbnail takes about 10 kilocharacters.

The photo agencies do not charge customers for looking at PressLink thumbnails, only for the high-resolution flies of individual photos selected afterward. There are also free bulletin boards, such as that maintained by the U.S. Army, which do not charge for high-resolution files.

The AP is working on an off-line archive for newspapers, which would operate as a dial-in file delivering photos using the excess capacity of the wire service's PhotoStream satellite feed. The added capacity is created by the image data compression afforded by the system's Version 8 software.

Harold G. Buell, assistant to the president at the Associated Press and a former executive photo editor there, said the offline archive and PhotoStream would benefit from IBM's Unix-based RS6000 computer running an Informix database.
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Title Annotation:Special Pullout Section: Photography; news agencies, newspapers capitalize on success of PressLink
Author:Salgado, Robert J.
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Feb 20, 1993
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