In my role as Assistant Project Manager, I respond to the many requests for reproducing content from the William Blake Archive, of which the overwhelming majority are for images (a surprise to me). One of the most memorable request so far was a patron asking if he could screen-print one of the images on his home stereo cover. While this was a strange request and much different than the normal reproduction requests for publication, it tells us that the images in the archive contain a tremendous power outside of academic use. I wondered how I can locate that power.
Potential Stereo Cover
What method does one use to evaluate a large corpus of images? Can we use computational tools to distantly read images? I thought I would try to see. Projects like Lev Manovich’s Software Studies Initiative (softwarestudies.com) have tried to deploy software to read and categorize images. Images with massive amounts of data are much harder to compute than text files, which explains why Manovich’s team utilized supercomputers to process the data from images. Without a budget for supercomputing power, I thought I would start on a small scale to prototype what could we find out about the images in the …read more