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

USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

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USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 24 Sep 2010, 21:49

Hey Y'All - it's been a few months. My grant to digitize the USS Essex Log Books (1876-1919) at the National Archives in Washington and at the USNA in Annapolis took place in mid-July to August 2. I took 21,674 images of which I have 21,499 that will be used in the final editing process for the log books. It took me 70.95 hours for the actual photography - including screw-ups - 17.05 hours to save the files to 2 external hard drives as back-up and set up the next book for digitization, and 13 hours to set up and tear down the digitization set-up - a total of 101 hours. I had to write a report and fill out paperwork, too, I've edited one log book from beginning to end and uploaded it - and my written report - to the Internet Archive.

If anyone wants to download the report and log book, that would be great since the stats are being tracked for the grant. There were 62 log books in total, but not all of these will be edited into e-books since they are redundant, but I've got a grant pending to edit half the images, create metadata (this may be skipped depending on a couple of factors), transcribe half of the books into searchable text (we'll be using MacSpeech Dictate that does really good speech to text work and reading is faster than typing 21.499 pages), and then write another grant to handle the second batch of log books. I also quickly digitized a journal of a sailor who served on the USS Essex on her maiden voyage and that will be available as well.

The report contains mostly photos of the digitization process and a spreadsheet of my problems, the number of images per book, etc. The log book is hand-written, dates from February 1, 1898-April 6, 1898, and the transcription will be done and uploaded during the next grant. So, here are the links:

http://www.archive.org/details/LogBookO ... April61898

http://www.archive.org/details/UssEssex ... jectReport

If you want to see other reports we've uploaded to the Internet Archive, just type in the name of our non-profit - Maritime Heritage Minnesota - in the search box and all of our stuff will come up.

Questions? Comments? Pleased to answer them. Thanks everyone!

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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Misty » 27 Sep 2010, 11:15

Your log book looks great, Ann! It's great to see your results. I was wondering how your project's going. I think it's great you're making this available at Archive.org, too.
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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 27 Sep 2010, 21:17

Hey Misty - Great to hear from you! Thanks for the compliment - but please, any criticism is OK, too - I can re-do the log books as needed if they suck. I won't be editing the rest until the second grant comes through, probably in November, especially since we've got two other open grants to finish up first - side-imaging sonar survey and a dry nautical excavation. And, my PhD dissertation has been accepted for publication, so I'm re-editing over 1000 images for that - yuck!

The whole white balance problem I was having - that was basically solved with the WhiBal Card - didn't turn out to be so much of an issue as it was initially. I purchased Adobe Lightroom and the AWB with that looks better than the WhiBal Card adjustment, at least with Log Book 40; this may not be true with all of the books, so I'm going to mess with the adjustments until I think they look good and the histograms aren't too bad. Thanks to you and Dan for the WB advice so many months ago - I understand it much better now. Thanks again!

Oh - and for anyone else who doesn't want to go to Internet Archive to download my report on the digitization process, I've attached it here - 6 MB; I can't attach the log book because it's over 29 MB.
(6.04 MiB) Downloaded 587 times

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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by rob » 28 Sep 2010, 09:09

I chose the "read online" option -- I hope that adds to the stats. It was interesting to see that they had to take weather readings every hour, 24/7. A floating weather station! I also found the font and condition of the typed papers interesting.

So what's the history of the Essex? The log book shows the boat going from port to port, taking on coal. Did it see any action?
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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 30 Sep 2010, 22:31

Hey Rob - Well, "action" is a relative term....What's most important/interesting about this Essex is that she was designed and built by the famed clipper ship designer and builder Donald McKay. She was the last ship he built, she was a member of the last class of wooden-hulled warships built for the Navy (all-steel after her, except for one wooden-hulled purpose-built training ship called the Chesapeake that was never active duty), shes was the last of her class to be de-commissioned, and she's the only known example of McKay's work to survive anywhere in the world - and we have her here in Minnesota. During her time as an active Naval warship (1876-1893), she went around the world 3 times, acting as "America's power" in the Asiatic Station for quite a bit of time. She "came to the rescue" of American citizens when needed - but to my knowledge, she never fired her guns at an "enemy." One of the reasons is that really, she was almost obsolete a decade after her launching because of her wooden hull. She was on stand-by during the Spanish-American War, but didn't see service (interestingly, her first commander was Winfield Scott Schley, the hero of the Battle of Santiago). She had advantages because of her dual steam and sail configuration for propulsion (economical), but nearly all Naval vessels by 1900 were strictly steam. In 1893 she became a training vessel and here is where she made her mark, training Annapolis Naval Cadets to be not only fighters, but true sailors. Ironically, even though her wooden hull wasn't coveted by commanders, she was upgraded to advanced guns when she became a training ship in order to train her cadets properly, so that they would be ready to serve on the pre-Dreadnaught active duty fleet and not be confused by the armaments. She moved to the Great Lakes Naval Militia in 1904 and was stationed in Toledo, then Chicago, and finally Duluth. She trained thousands of sailors for WWI service and did fleet maneuvers with many well-known vessels such as the USS Constellation, USS Constitution, and USS Michigan, and with Michigan in 1913- now called Wolverine so that her name could be used for the new Battleship Michigan - she escorted the newly-raised and restored USS Niagara around the Great Lakes during the Perry Victory on Lake Erie Centennial celebrations. So, the log books cover all of this - except that I'm missing a chunk from when she was in Toledo 1904-1909 and in Duluth 1920-1921. She was not used as a Naval Militia or Naval Reserve vessel past 1922 and she was housed-over to become a Receiving Ship (many ships suffered this fate, basically becoming a house/barracks/storerooms - even the Constellation and Constitution had this happen to them at one point before they were restored to their current configurations) until 1930. She was sold as scrap to the Klatzky Co. in 1931, stripped of her accessible valuable copper fastenings, and burned on Minnesota Point in Duluth on October 14, 1931. I have photos from a newspaper of her burning, and it kills me. Some local Duluth folks have some photos of them climbing around the wreck in the 1950s when the turn of the bilge was still there (the wreck, in normal water, is in the surf zone and is only 2-4 feet under water; right now she's covered in 3 feet of sand since the Corps of Engineers often dumps dredge spoil from the inner harbors to the north of her and the sand migrates; she's safe, though, and we know where she is), and we're going to scan those soon, I hope. Our plan to preserve the Essex is also on the Internet Archive if you're interested, written by my husband on another grant - lots of great historical and archaeological photos in that one. Any other questions? Just ask! ;)

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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by pathall » 02 Oct 2010, 04:18

I love the idea of Twittering your progress as you work. It can get kind of lonely in the stacks, and Twittering at least establishes contact with the outside world!

We should set up some sort of DIYBS Twitter-based drinking game network... every 1000 scans, everybody drinks! :lol:


Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 02 Oct 2010, 15:00

Hey, I'm all for that! When we gave a PowerPoint on the Essex in August at a pub in Duluth, they fed me two beers and I'm such a lightweight, I got a bit tipsy! Beer and PP, a good combo!

At least with this project I was out in the NARA search room like all the other researchers. It's kind of funny - I had requested bids for this work from some Washington-area freelance historians (I had to for the satisfaction of someone linked to me getting my grant) and everyone I contacted said they couldn't do a job this big in the way I needed it done. But, beyond that, one of the freelancers sat next to me for several days during my work - we got a bit friendly and when she asked me what I was doing, she looked at me with a grin and said "Hi, I'm Candace and I submitted a bid for this project." I knew exactly who she was and when she saw what I needed, with my two back-up hard drives and the way I was digitizing, she said "I could never do that." She's digitized a bunch of stuff for several maritime historians that I know, even one of my old professors from grad school, so that was cool. At the USNA, since their research room was being re-designed, I worked in their own work space and chatted with the two archivists during the whole process, so that wasn't too bad.


Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 02 Oct 2010, 15:08

Since we're discussing my Essex project, I changed my avatar to the Essex. This postcard is from about 1904 when she was assigned to the Ohio Naval Militia and was stationed in Toledo.

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Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by univurshul » 05 Oct 2010, 15:48

Ann wrote:....I purchased Adobe Lightroom and the AWB with that looks better than the WhiBal Card adjustment...

I recently purchased Lightroom 3 as well; it's LEGENDARY (like Misty). I might go as far to say that it's a crucial image-editing tool we should all be using pre-Scan Tailor.

I'm starting a new thread in Software, illustrating the benefits of book scanning with Lightroom 3. I'm sooo excited :shock:


Re: USS Essex Log Books Digitization Pilot Project

Post by Ann » 05 Oct 2010, 22:32

Because of the PowerPC processor in my iBook, I'm using LightRoom 1.4.1 right now. We've ordered a MacBook with an Intel processor and that runs LightRoom 3 - we'll probably upgrade to 3 since that will be our "business" laptop. I love it for a variety of reasons, particularly how easily it enlarges files without losing detail. The WhiBal Card is still great and I'm using it for a variety of things - and for some of the remaining log books, I bet it will look better the LR's AWB - I'll try everything both ways.

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