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Notes from University of Texas Library's preservation dept

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vitorio
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Notes from University of Texas Library's preservation dept

Post by vitorio » 17 Oct 2013, 17:02

Toured the digitization portion of the preservation department at the University of Texas at Austin today, on the first floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library. Some of their best practices are interesting, because I figured the amateur stuff was a little behind the curve.

First and foremost, books, loose pages, and images are scanned and preserved as 400dpi TIFF images. This makes me feel much less antsy about only getting 350dpi from the Canon A2200s.

They have two Digibook Suprascan A0 scanners, one with a 10000 RGB camera, one with a 14000 RGB camera. Preservation or archival masters are saved as unmodified 400dpi TIFF images, and every scan includes a color calibration card as part of it. Those are archived to tape, and then a production master is made by cropping, straightening, color correcting, binarizing, whatever, and that's given to the department that requested the scan.

They also have a Kirtas KABIS automated book scanner. The archival masters there are the camera RAW files, which they post-process to 400dpi TIFFs, and then on down to production masters as necessary. Even though the KABIS helps turn the pages, they still have a person standing in front of it for the entire scan to help flatten the pages and make sure only one page is turned at a time.

The other interesting bit is that they do have overhead lights on. The Suprascan seems to be photographing through a metal arm with a slit, and lighting on both sides of the slit, onto a flat sheet, so there's no glass to cause glare, and I guess the bright lighting on the arm overpowers any room lighting.

The KABIS is mostly enclosed and also has its own lighting, and the pages are held flat by little rails that fold down onto the page edge, so no glass to cause glare there, either.

Their main stated reason for "only" scanning at 400dpi is the storage requirements, as they produce over 1TB of new data a month. They do scan individual pieces at higher resolutions (typically 600dpi, or 1200dpi or 2400dpi on one of many flatbed scanners) for enlargement reproduction.

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daniel_reetz
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Re: Notes from University of Texas Library's preservation de

Post by daniel_reetz » 24 Oct 2013, 10:18

Never heard of the SupraScans. Interesting stuff. Linear scanners seem common in the world of very high-end digitization. I have heard from several institutions with auto-scanners that they have a person supervise at all times. Bummer, that.

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