Skip navigation Hide thumbnails
Profiles in Science
Home | Search | Browse | What's New | FAQ | About
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is "OCR?"
  2. May I have permission to use the documents (letters, articles, photographs, etc.) from Profiles in Science?
  3. What viewers do I need to play the movies and view the documents?
  4. How do you choose the scientists you profile?
  5. Will you be adding more scientists?
  6. Does Profiles in Science digitize collections in their entirety?
  7. Are the documents available for me to see in-person?
  8. What is "metadata?"
  9. What format do you use for your scanned files?
  10. What dots per inch (dpi) do you use when you scan your documents?
  11. Does Profiles in Science have an application programming interface (API)?

Answers

  1. What is OCR?

    "OCR" stands for optical character recognition. The scanned image pages of the documents on Profiles in Science are subjected to OCR to obtain the text within them. An example of a scanned document and its corresponding OCR text can be found at FSBBDL. OCR is often imperfect, particularly for historical documents such as those found on Profiles in Science. OCR is ineffective for handwritten documents. Profiles in Science is currently making the OCR text available as an experiment. In cases where the OCR text is accurate, it may be helpful to someone with low vision who is using a screen reader. No OCR text is listed for scanned documents that have already been transcribed since the transcript is more accurate than OCR. If you have suggestions for making the digitized materials on Profiles in Science more accessible for users with vision problems, please email them to profiles@nlm.nih.gov.


  2. May I have permission to use the documents (letters, articles, photographs, etc.) from Profiles in Science?

    Most of the digital materials in Profiles in Science are protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Under Copyright Law, some use of copyright protected documents may be allowed under "fair use." Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. You are under obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing digital materials found on Profiles in Science. Whenever possible, we have provided information about the copyright owner of each document; this information appears in the "Rights" section of each metadata page. The National Library of Medicine would like to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified (profiles@nlm.nih.gov). Our Historical Collections Copyright Information page contains information specific to copyright and historical collections. More information about fair use and copyright in general is available from the U.S. Copyright Office.


  3. What viewers do I need to play the movies and view the documents?

    You will need either Quicktime or the RealMedia player to see the movies and play audio. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files. Please see the list of necessary viewer applications/plug-ins at http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/Help/Helpers/.


  4. How do you choose the scientists you profile?

    Many factors are considered when choosing collections for Profiles in Science. We are looking for scientists who have had an outstanding career and whose research can stand as a model for scientific investigation. The availability of a scientist's papers, and the depth and complexity of the collection are important factors. Another factor we consider is how well the papers reflect the scientist's activities in promoting public understanding of and debate on science-related topics.


  5. Will you be adding more scientists?

    Yes. We are continually adding new collections as well as adding more digital objects to the collections that we already have up. Please check the What's New section for updates.


  6. Does Profiles in Science digitize collections in their entirety?

    No. Our staff evaluates the documents according to their historical significance. Historians and archivists select documents from the collections that provide insight into both the development of modern biomedical science as well as the character and life of the individual scientists. The physical collections contain additional materials that are not selected for digitization.


  7. Are the documents available for me to see in-person?

    NLM collections are available for use by contacting the History of Medicine Division at the NLM. (email: hmdref@nlm.nih.gov, phone: 301-496-5405). For collections not owned by the NLM, researchers may contact the institution that holds the papers about their availability. Contact information is provided with each collection.


  8. What is "metadata?"

    Metadata is broadly defined as "data about data." For example, a library's card catalog is metadata -- data about the books, prints, photographs, and films that make up the library's collections. On Profiles in Science, you will find a metadata record about each document -- letter, article, photograph, interview, etc. -- in the digital collection. Each metadata record that we create contains information such as the document's title, creator, date of creation, copyright statement, location within the collection, and page length. The metadata is particularly useful because it provides information that may not be apparent on the digitized document itself. You can search the information contained in the metadata by checking the box in front of the word "Metadata" on our search engine page.


  9. What format do you use for your scanned files?

    Black and white (b&w) pages are scanned and stored in a lossless, compressed b&w TIFF format. These TIFF files are used to create Adobe image+text PDF files. The TIFF files are stored offline for future use, and the PDF files are made available over the Web.

    Greyscale and color items are scanned and stored in a lossless, uncompressed TIFF format. Greyscale items are 8-bit (256 shades of grey). Color items are 24-bit (about 16 million colors). These TIFF files are used to create JPEG files. The TIFF files are stored offline for future use, and the JPEG files are made available over the Web.


  10. What dots per inch (dpi) do you use when you scan your documents?

    Black and white pages are scanned and made available at 300 dpi. Greyscale and color items are scanned as 600 dpi TIFFs, and made available as 600 dpi and 75 dpi JPEGs. Small items are scanned at a higher resolution. For example, 35mm slides are scanned as 4,800 dpi TIFFs and made available as 4,800 and 600 dpi JPEGs.


  11. Does Profiles in Science have an application programming interface (API)?

    The Dublin Core Exit Disclaimer; please review our Privacy Policy subset of the metadata associated with the Profiles in Science digitized items is available through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) Service. More information and examples are available on the OAI-PMH Service Help page.



U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services
USA.gov, Copyright, Privacy, Accessibility
Comments, Viewers, Acknowledgments