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Guidelines for Submitting Your Material for Placement on the MPHS Web System
The Military Postal History Society encourages members
to share their collections and research with the
Society and the general public.
We heartily encourage members to provide
items of interest for posting. These can include,
but are not limited to:
SEE ALSO the following topics:
To make this work well for everyone involved,
there have to be some guidelines, so this web page
has been created to help you set up your
material for world-wide viewing.
Sending Large Files
Many files you use for articles and presentations
can be very large, especially
if they contain many images. Of course, our
hobby is very visually-oriented, and we
certainly encourage images to be posted.
Given the large size, you may not be able to
attach them to an email message.
This is especially true of PowerPoint
There are services that
allow you to transfer such large files. You
set up with the service, and then upload the PowerPoint (and/or
other large) files
to their website. The service
then provides a link that you email to
the webmaster. He, in turn, requests the link
in his browser, and downloads the large file.
Examples of such a service include
as well as "cloud" systems such as
Google Drive and DropBox.
[Note that if you have an account
with Google (including an Android
phone account), you are automatically
provided with storage on Google Drive
for any files you want to save and/or
share with others. Go to
Drive to access and upload.]
A presentation is assumed to
be a set of slides that are shown on
a screen at a club meeting, seminar, or stamp
show. Typically, the author narrates
the presentation, moving from slide to
slide and describing the material and
subject of the talk.
The usual tool used to prepare a presentation is
PowerPoint (tm), a Microsoft product for Windows
computers. Note, also, that
the free product
can be used, and it is highly compatible with a
wide variety of computers.
Since there is no "viewer" for PowerPoint
on a typical website or browser, we have
to convert the presentation to something that
can be viewed.
We ask authors to "export" or convert their PowerPoint
presentation to a Adobe Portable Document Format
(PDF) file. If you do not have the tools to
create this, it is OK to just send the
original PowerPoint file to the webmaster.
We would also like PowerPoint presentations
to be exported to "web" or "HTML" format.
See a short
discussion on this topic.
PowerPoint files can be very large, so
take a look at the
discussion on how to send large
files before emailing
anything large to the webmaster.
We have been able to process exhibit pages,
when they are in an appropriate format.
Often, most exhibitors have to hand-create, or
print their exhibit pages from a computer, before
adding the postal history items. In
this case, it is best to scan the
entire exhibit page. Take a look
exhibits by Al Kugel to see
how the pages appear. Al had his exhibit pages
scanned at 300 dpi, and saved as
JPG image files (also
known as JPEG).
Important! before scanning
any image or exhibit page for submittal
for the website, please read the
of this web page.
Scanning is labor-intensive, but creation
of computer archives, particularly of images
is a now-important aspect of our hobby.
If images and pages are not scanned
correctly, they can be unusable.
If a word processor was used to create
the verbiage for an exhibit, we can
certainly use that information to create web
pages (HTML files) as part of the
MPHS website. If you have such files,
please send them along to the webmaster as
part of your exhibit submission.
Submitting an article to be published
on the website is not much different
than submitting to the Editor for
inclusion in the Bulletin.
If you have used a word processor
to create the article, please send it
to the webmaster. If your word processor
file is large (more than, say 4 megabytes),
please follow the suggestions
in the 'Sending Large Files' Section.
Alternatively, it is not difficult to
send an article
in a very simple form:
Please provide the text as plain-text or
using a typical word-processor, such as
Microsoft Word (tm), or LibreOffice (aka OpenOffice). Please indicate the
text for a particular chapter or section by numbering
them from 1.
The length of an article is not
an issue: a single page with a single
image is more than acceptable.
If your article is more extensive, it
is a good idea to supply a "Table of Contents",
that can be integrated into the web
Of course, an article is much more interesting when
there are illustrations. Please supply
of the material to be displayed. Usually these
scans are formatted as JPG files. Don't worry about
sizing them, the webmaster for MPHS will resize them
as needed. Please indicate in the text
where each image(s) should appear.
Images are displayed as smaller "thumbnails" embedded
in the final web pages. When the user clicks on an image,
a popup window will appear with the larger
version of the image. The following is an example
of such a pop-up image:
(Click on image to see larger version.)
Postal History Items
Sometimes, you just have a scan of a cover,
card, or letter. Perhaps you don't know
much about it, or only have a little bit
to say. In that case, send it
just as if you were
submitting an article for publication.
Those guidelines apply for a single item,
just as much as for a multi-page
This section is appropriate to all images that are scanned
for web use, including exhibit pages. It gets
a bit technical, but be warned: if postal
history items and/or exhibit pages are
not scanned correctly, they can
be useless to the process of publication,
as well as useless to future archivists.
entire exhibit pages, do take a look
exhibits by Al Kugel to see
how it looks. He had his exhibit pages
scanned at 300 dpi, and saved as
JPG image files. Don't know what that
means? Read on.
We must state right now: we do NOT
recommend scanning exhibit pages
or postal history items
directly into PDF format, as there may
be a severe loss of image quality. In addition,
it is worth carefully setting up the
scanning software you (or your assistant)
uses to ensure that the JPG quality
is high enough for postal history items.
And, what is "high enough"? Keep reading...
JPG Quality Settings
This is a discussion of JPG "quality" settings,
and it is very important to the preservation
of postal history material. When you save
any image (by scanning or otherwise), many
computer tools save in the JPG format. This
format was devised to handle photographs
on the web, and it does a fine job. However,
postal history items are not photos, and there
is usually important detail in our images that needs
to be retained.
JPG is a "lossy" format. That is,
information is removed to make the image
smaller for internet use. Once removed, that
information can never be brought back. For
many photographs, the human eye does not
detect this removal of detail. However,
as postal history collectors, we often
want to "zoom in" on an item to see
markings and manuscript detail.
JPG Compression Examples
It may be easier to explain
A cover image saved with high compression (loss)
doesn't look so bad, until you
look closer for detail.
Looking at the
detailed close-up of the cover image,
you can see that the lettering on the cover becomes
blotchy and surrounded by odd "haloes". The
rest of the cover appears as blocks of color
with no detail inside.
Contrast this with the photo of the
lovely hula dancer:
The hula dancer image with high compression (loss).
Our eye sees the woman and we think
that we can see a great deal of detail
that is not really there.
A detailed close-up of the hula dancer image
reveals the same "blotches" of color as
the cover image, but our eye accepts
those as part of her arm, and we even
"see" details in her face that aren't actually present.
JPG files have a "quality number" associated
with how much information is lost, when
the file is saved. This number runs from 1 to
100, with 100 being the maximum retained
information, and 1 being very bad. The
extreme examples shown above were
saved with quality 20, which is far
too low for our needs. Quality 75 is often
used as a compromise and appears to be acceptable for
our needs. Ideally, the higher the number
the less information is lost. For photos
posted to websites like Flickr.com, the
general opinion is to use level 85.
In actual usage, archivists have very strong guidelines
about how items are scanned for permanent
storage. These guidelines include using a
storage format that has NO LOSS at all, such as TIF (no
They will probably reject archival material
saved as JPG. They also recommend a
DPI of 2400. Oh yes, now we were going to
talk about DPI (or pixels per inch).
Pixels Per Inch
In addition to the statement above about Al Kugel's
exhibit pages, you may have also
seen references to "dots per inch" (DPI) or
"pixels per inch" (PPI), in regards to
image scanning. The concept originated with
the display of pictures in the commercial
printing process. So, many discussions about
the pixel density of images are oriented
towards the printed page.
For our purposes, we consider the number of
pixels per inch, when an item of postal
history is scanned into a computer. When such
a scan is saved in lossless format (TIF, PNG),
or, if necessary, as high-quality JPG,
it should retain the detail appropriate to
the setting of the scanner, and scanning
For many postal history items, 300 pixels per
inch should handle most markings. That is,
the smallest detail of interest should still
be seen when enlarged. An example might be the
comma or period in a machine cancellation dial.
If the scanning resolution is set too low, such
as 72 pixels per inch, this detail may be
lost, and will not be useful in the final
image (regardless of the format used to save
As usual, examples seem to work better. The following
are scans taken of machine cancel dials. They are
sized to the dial, so that the scanned area
is roughly the same in all example images. Compare
the detail you can see, as the resolution (pixels
per inch) is varied:
Dial scanned at 72 dpi (PPI)
Similar dial scanned at 300 dpi (PPI)
Similar dial scanned at 600 dpi (PPI)
The 600 dpi seems quite superior, and will produce
useful images when viewed as a web page,
or embedded in an exhibit or presentation.
You can even see the envelope paper pattern.
Yes, the period in the dial is visible in
all 3 images, but that feature of the postal
marking becomes increasingly useful
as the resolution increases.
Note that archivists want scans of historical
material to be at 2400 dpi (!) and in
lossless (TIF) format. The only problem with
such scans is the size of the files they
produce. For instance a single scan of a
postal history item at 2400 dpi and TIF
format, is 63 megabytes. That is the
computer storage (usually a disk)
required to hold that single image.
On the other
hand, the 300 dpi scan of a page from
Al Kugel's exhibit, saved as JPG (quality
75) is a "mere" 8 megabytes. Note that
when these images are posted to the website,
they may receive additional alteration.
Be assured, every image is reviewed to ensure that it
looks right on the webpage.
Re-Processing of Images
It is NOT RECOMMENDED that you save
a file in JPG format for subsequent
For instance, if you use an image-processing
program, such as PhotoShop, to read, process,
and save a JPG file repeatedly, the image will degrade
each time it is saved, until it becomes
useless. Intermediate images kept during processing
should be stored in a lossless format, such as
PNG or TIF. [Some image-processing programs allow
you to save the results in their internal proprietary
which are lossless.]
PowerPoint Export to 'Web' or HTML
We would like users of PowerPoint to
also export their presentation to web-page (HTML)
format. Some versions of PowerPoint allow
this as a "save as" or "export" function.
Newer versions of this software do not
seem to allow the feature. There are various
work-arounds suggested in articles posted
on the internet. We only suggest this type
of export, if the user is familiar with
more advanced features of PowerPoint and
their Windows computer system.
More About Image Formats
Graphics Formats Explained
JPG Article from Wikipedia
More About Pixels Per Inch (DPI)
DPI Explained at Wikipedia
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