Page images of the narrative documents in Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 were digitized from microfilm by Preservation Resources of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Two images of each page were created: a 600-dpi bitonal TIFF, and a grayscale pageturner GIF reduced to 600 pixels wide. Preservation Resources also performed Optical Character Recognition (OCR) text conversion using TextBridge software on the TIFF images. TextBridge generally performed with a five to ten percent error rate, depending on such factors as image quality, gutter curve, and the amount of punctuation in the text. Because the OCR process produced errors in the text files, corrections for improved accuracy were made to approximately ten percent of the text files during the quality-review phase of production. The resulting raw, or "dirty," OCR text is used to enhance collection searching although it cannot be viewed online. The OCR text files have been minimally encoded using the American Memory SGML Document Type Definition (DTD) for identification purposes.
Photographs were digitized by JJT Incorporated of Austin, Texas, using an overhead-capture MARC II digital camera installed in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. An uncompressed grayscale master TIFF is available online, as well as three service images: a grayscale compressed reference image in the JPEG format, averaging 1024 pixels on the long side of the image, with a compression rate of 8:1; a high-resolution grayscale compressed display image in the JPEG format, averaging 640 pixels on the long side of the image, with a compression rate of 15:1; and a grayscale thumbnail GIF averaging 150 pixels on the long side of the image.