Does It Matter If You Remove the Blank Space?

The image accompanying this post is one I plan on using in an upcoming post on the records from the “East Frisia, Germany, Fire Insurance Registration, 1768-1937“ which were recently released on

This post isn’t about those records. It’s about whether or not I need to include a comment on my image indicating that I modified the image by removing blank space from the original document.

The names in the original book and accompanying image are spaced apart, most likely to allow for later comments or annotations. In the interest of making good use of space, I decided to remove most of the blank space from the original image, creating the image shown in this post.

When an image of a document is manipulated by moving actual text or graphic content, I think that the individual modifying that image should indicate that such a modification has been made for essentially two reasons:

  • the image is different from the original and that makes it a derivative image
  • there is always the chance that moving text or graphics on an image leaves the viewer with a different impression or conclusion than was implied by the original document

But what if blank space is removed? Should that be noted?

Note: the entire image can be viewed here.



5 thoughts on “Does It Matter If You Remove the Blank Space?

  1. Yes it is essential to note changes in document. But that would be a warning to potential user to look at the original document since the locations of removed spaces would be very hard to specifically describe. Such a modified document would be marginally useful for display during a lecture, but should not be disseminated.

    • There are probably a few situations where I might choose to “publish” a modified image, particularly if it was just the removal of “non-essential” blank space. Notating that there’s been some modification is key and absolutely essential. Where image modification comes more into play is with photographs, where sometimes the enhancement process is more than simply changing the contrast. I’ve seen photographs that were damaged and “restored” where the restoration was significant and some guesswork had to be done as to what the person looked like.

  2. One way to handle the removal of spaces, would be to show the original image and then explain that the following image has the spaces removed from each entry for ease of reading.

    At first I didn’t understand “blank space removed from image.” It might have been clearer to say “the blank spaces between the entries were removed.” Having a view of the original image would help this.

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