Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

A place to tell us about your work and projects. Self-links encouraged!
User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 17 Aug 2010, 09:34

A bit back, Mark donated one of the Monson's Sticks scanners he posted about in the hardware forum to my library. I promised him that I would take a photo/video of the scanner in action, and took an age and a half to actually get around to doing anything. I had opportunity to use it recently, though, and I wanted to both highlight Mark's scanner and what I'm doing.

The library was recently loaned a set of rare, fragile Canadian militia and military handbooks from the 19th century by Richard Shaver. The books are very valuable information sources that aren't to my knowledge available online, but they're also a pain to scan because they're tiny and bound very tightly. Luckily, however, it turns out that they can open just enough to scan from overhead, and a slightly tweaked version of Mark's scanner is perfect to get clear, detailed scans without risking any damage to the books. I have a bit more detail on my blog, along with a sample scan and a photo and video of the scanner being operated. I'll embed the video here, too. The books aren't available on the Digital Collections website yet, but will be sometime later this year when the Burford and Oakland Township projects launch.

The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

User avatar
daniel_reetz
Posts: 2776
Joined: 03 Jun 2009, 13:56
E-book readers owned: Used to have a PRS-500
Number of books owned: 600
Country: United States
Contact:

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by daniel_reetz » 17 Aug 2010, 10:39

posted to news; something I plan to do a lot more of in the coming weeks.

User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 17 Aug 2010, 11:08

Thanks, Dan! Nice to see the news page being updated again.

Do you mind adding to the news post the links to my blog and Mark's scanner that are in the post? I noticed you copied the text just as plaintext.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

User avatar
daniel_reetz
Posts: 2776
Joined: 03 Jun 2009, 13:56
E-book readers owned: Used to have a PRS-500
Number of books owned: 600
Country: United States
Contact:

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by daniel_reetz » 17 Aug 2010, 11:44

No problem! It's your content, after all. :) I also put in a note about your blog. I'm working on a few short summary articles based on your articles, which should be useful to both of us.

Congrats on this latest project. I didn't know Monson had donated a scanner -- seeing it in your video was a totally awesome surprise!

User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 17 Aug 2010, 12:13

Thanks again! Yes, just recently - he sent it to us last month. I've been looking for the right project to put it to work on so I could document its use here, and this seemed like the right case.

I forgot to mention - note the high-tech "finger platen" in use for this scanner. The books are in a condition where I don't trust pressing too much force on the book without complete control, so no glass, and too physically small to use an air platen without masking out too much of the book. (With the books being 4 inches tall, even a thin air platen takes up a lot of the page!) I don't like getting any finger in the shot, but it's turned out to be the best option right now.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Tim

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Tim » 17 Aug 2010, 22:00

Would a single piece of narrow glass in place of the sticks in the design work? For such a small book, I think the glass would be more than rigid enough by itself, even though it would be just the width of the book page or so. Especially since for this project the goal is no damage to the book, you wouldn't want to be pressing against the glass anyway--instead just barely holding the page down. It's been a while since I've cut glass, but I don't recall it being extremely hard, though I suppose we had the scoring wheel and something to grind the edges with. In a pinch you could use one side of whatever piece of glass you have for half the book, then move it so the other side was under the camera for the other half.

I think the work you do archiving and putting interesting material online is really important by the way.

User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 18 Aug 2010, 09:23

That's a possibility, and I have used a small piece of glass before. Eliminating the sharp edge is a problem, though, and I don't have access to the tools I need to do that or to attach the glass to the sticks. I'm quite concerned that the sharp end could cause even small cuts on the edges of the pages. I also have to take time into consideration. The books need to be scanned in the fairly near future so that they can be returned to Richard.

The other issue is reflectivity. I'm using a flash for these books. I usually forego flash because of the uneven illumination, but I'm using it for these books for a few reasons. Namely:
  • The books are only 8 inches away from the camera, so the flash remains strong at that distance
  • The pages are only 4 inches tall, so unevenness of illumination is less of a problem than it tends to be on larger book pages
  • Keeping the pages still is more difficult than usual in this configuration, especially because of the poor ambient lighting. Flash allows a shutter speed of 1/50s, instead of 0.4s, eliminating blur from page movement. This might be helped with glass to steady the book, but I'm not sure it would be eliminated.
I don't have access to low-reflectivity glass at this point in time, just standard glass, and I'm quite certain it would react poorly to using a flash pointed directly at it. If I had a more controlled lighting environment and an enclosed light shade for the scanner, I could probably find a way to set up some diffusers to mitigate it, but I'm working within the resources I have right now.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Tim

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Tim » 18 Aug 2010, 16:21

Apparently (from a few random internet sources but a lot of comments) sandpaper or a sharpening stone works pretty well for sanding the edges of the glass. One also noted that glass shops may be willing to part with glass scraps for free or nearly free, and that may be in the size you want. The kevlar glove idea univershul had was a good one too, but at least some kind of sturdy gloves to prevent disaster would be good. And I wasn't thinking attaching the glass to the sticks, more replacing the sticks with the glass and then maybe using a C-clamp or something to hold everything down to the work surface. You could even support the glass on the other end somehow if you were worried about it breaking.

Yeah, I'm not sure about the glare. You'd have to try it. Are you using a diffuser on your flash? A cheap plastic diffuser would do wonders for glare and evenness of lighting. They even make them for the built in flash, but those are more limited of course. And focusing 8 inches away is certainly an advantage you get with your G series camera. You have to use a macro lens or an extension tube to get in that range on a DSLR.

User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 18 Aug 2010, 16:54

Thanks a lot for the glass advice, Tim. I haven't had a chance to look that way much, and it sounds like that will help a lot. Re: the gloves, I'm honestly not worried about my hands so much as the pages. Thin, brittle pages can be scarred or cut by sharp glass!

I'm not using a diffuser right now, but ultimately I want to upgrade my lighting situation. The flash is very specific to the militia handbook project, and I only have six handbooks to scan. Buying equipment specific to these items is not really practical at this point in time. In the future, I want to move to a system more like the Scribe and Atiz scanners for all items, with black shading from exterior lights and diffused light panels to provide bright, even illumination; right now, I'm not in a position to do that.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

User avatar
Misty
Posts: 481
Joined: 06 Nov 2009, 12:20
Number of books owned: 0
Location: Frozen Wasteland

Re: Scanning rare militia handbooks with Monson's Sticks

Post by Misty » 20 Aug 2010, 16:27

No luck with the glass:
2010MM004.001.jpg
2010MM004.001.jpg (82.18 KiB) Viewed 7417 times
The glare of the flash was quite bad. If you look closely, you can also see a reflection around the world "Field". Given the straight overhead angle, it would take a very non-reflective piece of glass in addition to a diffused flash to be effective.

On the plus side, I'm approaching finishing the fifth and final of these books, a 700-page monster (that's still only four inches tall). Anyone need to learn how to salute?
2010MM004.051.jpg
2010MM004.051.jpg (56.64 KiB) Viewed 7417 times
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest