Scanning technology selection impacts acceptability and usefulness of image-rich content
Keywords:Interlibrary Loans, Photographs, Image Enhancement, Image Compression, Pathology, Radiology
Objective: Clinical and research usefulness of articles can depend on image quality. This study addressed whether scans of figures in black and white (B&W), grayscale, or color, or portable document format (PDF) to tagged image file format (TIFF) conversions as provided by interlibrary loan or document delivery were viewed as acceptable or useful by radiologists or pathologists.
Results: Of 982 assessments of 87 anatomic pathology, 83 clinical pathology, and 77 radiology images, 471 (48%) were unidentifiable. Unidentifiability of originals (4%) and conversions (10%) was low. For scans, unidentifiability ranged from 53% for color, to 74% for grayscale, to 97% for B&W. Of 987 responses about acceptability (n¼405), 41% were said to be unacceptable, 97% of B&W, 66% of grayscale, 41% of color, and 1% of conversions. Hypothesized order (original, conversion, color, grayscale, B&W) matched 67% of rankings (n¼215).
Conclusions: PDF to TIFF conversion provided acceptable content. Color images are rarely useful in grayscale (12%) or B&W (less than 1%). Acceptability of grayscale scans of noncolor originals was 52%. Digital originals are needed for most images. Print images in color or grayscale should be scanned using those modalities.