Please consider this invitation to participate in our Plains Indian Ledger Art Digital Publishing Project (PILA) by publishing digital images of your Plains ledger drawings on our website. 


Our website is set up for researchers who are interested in studying and writing about Plains Indian ledger books, sketchbooks, albums, and loose drawings. The website serves as a convenient tool both for researchers so that they do not have to go to a museum, library, or other institution to look at the physical copy of the ledgers, and for the museum by creating less exposure and wear through the handling of fragile drawings on paper. In this manner, the PILA website also serves as a conservation tool. We are extremely interested in having the important examples ledger art in your collection in our project.  


The Plains Indian Ledger Art Digital Publishing Project (PILA) asks for non-exclusive permission to place digital images in the PILA database for access through the PILA web site. No other use of these images is allowed without specific authorization from the custodial institution or individual. If the the ledger book can be safely opened flat or the ledger drawings are unbound, the master files are created on a professional flatbed scanner in uncompressed 48 bit color TIFF format at 600, 800, or 1200 pixels per inch (ppi).  If the ledger book cannot be laid flat it is photographed with a professional digital camera. Color calibration and correction will be done at the time of the digitization. Copies of the original digital images and all derivatives created by PILA will be provided to the custodian of the ledger drawings.


Once in the database, the image used for public access is a JPEG at 2400 pixels on the largest side at 75 dpi. This file is never directly available to the user of the PILA web site. The images viewable in the Plate View measure approximately 500 (long direction) pixels at 72 dpi resolution and therefore are not close to sufficient quality for reprinting or publishing. The image files that appear in the "zoomer" window and enable multiple levels of detail only allow a small portion of the full file to be seen at a time in each open window. If there are other questions about the imaging process or issues that need to be resolved, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention.

Digital Printing

At present, the Plains Indian Ledger Art Digital Publishing Project (PILA) funds the digitization of ledger book and the development and operation of the web site through donations. Users of the website may also order high-resolution color prints of ledger images offered in various formats: note cards, study prints, and in some cases, limited edition full-size digital reproductions on high quality linen paper. The printing business that fulfills online orders, Tribal Print Source, is part of Tribal Digital Village, an enterprise established through a grant from Hewlett-Packard to the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, in collaboration with UC San Diego. Custodians of ledger drawings in the PILA image database may at any time choose to authorize the online ordering of digital images of these drawings.  The PILA Store would return half of the profit from online sales to the custody, or the custodian may elect help towards PILA's ongoing digitization of Ledger books and drawings. 

Please contact:

Ross Frank | PILA Director and Associate Professor | Department of Ethnic Studies, UC San Diego | 9500 Gilman, Dept. 0522 | La Jolla, CA 92093-0522 | (858) 534-6646  office |