Recuperating Zip files… Image Media Workflow

Meg Conkey’s Between the Caves Project with CoDA has faced the team with an extensive, daunting, yet fastidiously kept array of media backlogged to the early 1990’s. Her collection features media ranging from unerased chalkboards, to fieldnotes, forms, slides, floppy zips, PCDs, and powerpoint presentations. All media was impressively catalogued and organized, waiting to be formatted into our personalized Codifi application. The steps were like any other project, until we came upon the notorious PCD’s.

Remember Kodak Photo CD’s?

Once the pinnacle of digitized photo conversion and preservation, this technology is now practically obsolete. Kodak retained proprietary rights to the formatting of these CD’s and now PCD’s are almost completely incompatible with most applications, even photoshop has dropped the plugin. Heaven forbid one should attempt to convert these metallic gems into something accessible, such as a tif, jpg, dng… conversion means risking of loss of fidelity in image resolution and precious metadata. An archivist’s nightmare.

Maybe you have a pile of PCD’s in the top drawer of an old, busted, file cabinet, perhaps you have decided to let them sit on that dusty shelf, or reverted to rescanning the original film and forgetting all the work hours invested in 1996 towards obtaining these caskets of imagery…

We had thought about bronzing our gold cds and handing them down to posterity, a box for the interns. Let them deal with it! We just couldn’t give up that last glimmer of hope…


What I wish I had known, Kodak Photo CDs: Recuperating Zip Files… Image Media Workflow

Looking back on the process, PCD conversion almost seems easy. If you are at the beginning of your zip recuperation journey, these steps may not be obvious. The only solution available which will not only keep images high-resolution, convert and maintain original metadata, and save you a LOT of working hours.. PCD Magic!

With PCD magic, conversion is easy. Below are some of the steps CoDA took to convert Meg Conkey’s time capsules of images to a useable and shareable format.

1. Create folders to house PCD, TIF, JPG, and import CD’s

Before a PCD is even entered into the system, CoDA standardizes a “processing pipeline” of file-storage. This pipeline will not only store original media, but eventually the processed images, once we can extract and embed the metadata.

The Pipeline Folder is set hierarchically from physical to digital properties of the disk and image system and looks a little like this:


Above, you can see ‘PCD-Box 3’: This is the name of the physical box the hard copies of the PCD’s are stored in. Inside the  box are PCD’s 4084-4786. Eventually CoDA will need to have .jpg’s of our files, but with PCD magic, we prefer to convert them into .tif’s. When setting up each CD folder, we make a place to store current and future versions of each set of files stored in the same place.

2. Import PCD from CD to Hard Drive, PCD Folder: Easy as Insert disk, Copy and Paste! If your computer is slow, you may want to bring reading material.

3. Convert .PCD to .TIF using PCD Magic: You will need to open the Browser of PCDMagic, and select the folder to view. Select all files by using “Command: A”, and in the bottom left corner of your browser, click “convert to” and select your file type (we convert to .tif). The new files will show up in the same folder as the originals. Once PCDMagic “automagically” converts these files, all we did was copy and paste them into the .tif folder!

4. Rename files into Codifi-friendly format, using “A Better Rename”:

(PCD****’cd.number’_****’image.number’.. ie: PDC4153_001). You don’t have to do this, but we like the consistency.

5. Extract and Embed Metadata descriptions and keywords using Portfolio:

In order to extract and embed all keywords and descriptions, we set up two Portfolio’s, one to identify Keywords, the other for Descriptions, this was all the metadata set up at our PCD’s creation. We did this process by individual CD’s:

a: Open both Portfolios, sync the PCD folders.

b: In the Keywords Portfolio, Select all images, then from the windowpane, click “file” and “Export field values”

c: In the Pop-up window, all fields will be selected. We want to “deselect all” (by pressing command:a and clear) then just select: “filename” and “keywords”, then export.

d: It will now ask you where to save the .txt file to be exported, so pick a memorable

place! (we put all our portfolios and metadata texts in one folder)

e: Now open the text file you just saved. This is all your keywords in one place! Notice

that all your filenames say “.jpg”. All .jpgs need to be replaced with .tifs to be read by the

descriptions database. So you should select all the text, go to “edit>find” on the windowpane (or command:F) and find all .jpg, replace with .tif:

f: Save your text file

g: Now go to your ‘descriptions’ Portfolio database. Select all the images you were just working from, go to “File>import field values”, now select the corresponding .txt file you just edited. Click Open.

h: You see a table with the imported field values from the text document. Make sure filename”=”filename and keyword”->”keyword (see below). If the keyword does not link the same way, click on the arrow (or equal sign or skip jump) between keywords, and make sure it is set to “import”. Once it looks like the image below, click “import”

i: Magic!

j: IMPORTANT: Last step is to “embed” the new field values onto your files. Do so by

selecting all images, and clicking “embed” at the top of your screen.

6. Now you have a converted PCD file with embedded metadata all wrapped up in one .jpg! You can check your files by viewing them and seeing all the data accessible and readable by your computer!

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