Using CONTENTdm
and other Image Databases

Many web pages are actually generated by databases that organize text, images and other content. CONTENTdm is a database system used by many libraries and historical societies to manage and share their digital collections. Columbus, Ohio based OCLC developed and sells the CONTENTdm system. Among the Ohio users are the Ohio Historical Society/State Library of Ohio, Cleveland Public Library and Cleveland State University's Digital Library projects.

Items displayed as PDF can be saved directly. Use Photoshop or Acrobat Professional to extract the page(s) you want to use.
Items displayed as an image, can be saved as they appear in the item's web page (not the list thumbnail image). Right click and choose "save image as" or "save picture as". For an illustration view this pdf.

To get the full size image all at one time, you can use the following form. It makes use of the code used to search for and display the database items. This can make saving oversize maps and images for image overlays simpler. The search code is combined in a URL to query the CONTENTdm database. Use this form to desconstruct the query for an image and then display it. To get the URL of an image, right click on the image and in Firefox choose "copy image location", in IE choose properties and then copy the "address (URL)". Because of the large size of some images, it could take a minute or longer to completely display in your browser.

Older versions of CONTENTdm use the cgi getimage.exe and the server path should be similar to "http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?" getimage.exe seems to work with any browser. The latest version of CONTENTdm uses ajax and requires the second form below...

Example Image URL: http://www.ohiomemory.org/cgi-bin/getimage.exe?CISOROOT=/p267401coll34&CISOPTR=8983&DMSCALE=9.29224&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&REC=3&DMTHUMB=0&DMROTATE=0

Copy image location: (URL) here:

Updated Web Location: (copy these values from the image location you pasted above - be careful to copy only the needed information)
Server CISOROOT= CISOPTR= (next item is often this value +1)

DMSCALE= percent of full image size
DMWIDTH= (maximum pixel width desired - leave at 6000 unless you want only part of the image)
DMHEIGHT= (maximum pixel height desired - leave at 6000 unless you want only part of the image)
DMX= DMY= (offset from top left (XY) of image in pixels - leave at 0 unless you only want part of the image)

(after it loads, right click to save - renaming "getimage" to describe image you are saving and including the .jpg extension.)

UPDATE: CONTENTdm version 6 has been released and users are migrating to it. CDM6 uses ajaxhelper to create the image tiles. The server path will be similar to "http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/utils/ajaxhelper/?" WARNING: image display with ajaxhelper seems to only work with Internet Explorer.

Example Image URL: http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/utils/ajaxhelper/?CISOROOT=p4014coll25&CISOPTR=1&DMSCALE=35.4107&DMWIDTH=750&DMHEIGHT=1007.79036827&DMX=0&DMY=0&DMTEXT=&DMROTATE=0

Copy image location: (URL) here:

Updated Web Location: (copy these values from the image location you pasted above - be careful to copy only the needed information)
Server CISOROOT= CISOPTR= (next item is often this value +1)

DMSCALE= percent of full image size
DMWIDTH= (maximum pixel width desired - leave at 10000 unless you want only part of the image)
DMHEIGHT= (maximum pixel height desired - leave at 10000 unless you want only part of the image)
DMX= DMY= (offset from top left (XY) of image in pixels - leave at 0 unless you only want part of the image)

(after it loads, right click to save - renaming "ajaxhelper" to describe image you are saving including the .jpg extension)

The description of the code needed to search and display items from a database is called an (API). When you combine content from multiple sources it is called a "mashup". Use these terms to find information about how to search and make use of other databases.

Library of Congress
Chronicling America API

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