Coloradan John Nebel is a great friend of both the Numismatic Bibliomania Society and the American Numismatic Association. He hosts the NBS web site for free and donated his time to develop programs to turn each E-Sylum issue into individual web pages.
For the ANA meanwhile, John created very high-resolution photographs of the ANA's Bebee collection of U.S. paper money. We recently announced the availability of new web pages featuring the notes.
But John didn't stop there. His original images were too large and detailed to use as-is on the site, but taking a page from the Google Maps playbook, he set about creating programs to slice the images into bite-sized chunks for faster loading. Now visitors to the Bebee web pages and click on the notes to view the high resolution images. Here's his story of how he did it.
The high-definition images are something to behold - see details you've never viewed so clearly before. Check it out!
All the Bebee banknotes are now clickable and the instructions linked from http://ana-museum.org have been changed to reflect that.
To keep the download time reasonable, each of the higher-resolution (40"+ wide on a 100 dpi monitor) images was sliced into 2000+ 64x64 pixel squares, only 64 of which are loaded on a mouse click. Since the images are cached by the browser, repeated clicks in the same area load fewer squares.
The slicing process went well beyond the capabilities of Photoshop, so I used a program originally written for the Unix environment, ImageMagick (www.imagemagick.org), to do the slicing. This worked on all but the imges of uncut sheets which had to be
pre-sliced in half.
Currently the site has 2+ million slices. A separate
virtual disk was set up for the site so it would have its own file system due to the large number of potentially active files. Using the file system rather than a database for a static application such as a web site allows the operating system to manage its caching over all applications instead of optimizing one at the expense of others.
This turned out to be quite interesting and fun although I had my doubts at first, especially when Photoshop went into an infinite loop whenever I tried anything less than a 256x256 slice.
To view the Bebee Collection online gallery, go to www.money.org (select "Visit the Money Museum," then select "The ANA Bebee Collection of U.S. Paper Money/View the Collection")
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ANA DEBUTS ONLINE BEBEE PAPER MONEY COLLECTION EXHIBIT
Wayne Homren, Editor
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