What can you scan in the Digital Archiving Lab?

The Digital Archiving Lab, located in room 322 of the Hurley Convergence Center, is a space for high-resolution digitization, image processing, and lots of creativity and learning. Patrons can make use of image processing on both PCs and iMacs as well as get assistance with using one of our main three pieces of hardware. Each piece of equipment excels in a different area and can meet many different digitization needs.

One type of scanning device that the Digital Archiving Lab provides is the Cobra Rare Book Scanner. As its name suggests, this scanner was built to carefully scan bound material so that a very limited amount of stress is placed on the binding. The glass cradle gently holds open the book while photographs of both the left and right pages are taken simultaneously. The scanner can produce 600 pixels-per-inch images, optimal preservation resolution for manuscript materials, and can accommodate pages as large as 13 by 18 inches on each side of the book. Furthermore, the glass cradle can be removed so that items that can’t be flattened, such as herbarium specimens, can still be digitized!

Photograph of an overhead rare book scanner ready to scan a book.

The glass V-cradle on our overhead scanner gently holds open the pages of rare books.

A second type of scanning equipment is the Epson Flatbed. The flatbed scanner excels at imaging flat materials at very high resolutions. This equipment can be used to enlarge small materials, such as film slides or small artwork, when the goal is to reprint the image in a larger size. For example, a recent slide that we can scanned was originally about 1 by 1.5 inches, but after scanning at a resolution of 2400 pixels-per-inch, it could be printed in high-resolution at about 8 by 11 inches. This scanner can accommodate flat items as large as 12 by 17 inches, and includes plastic templates that you can fill with film slides or film negatives. Finally, we have flatbed scanners connected to both a PC and an iMac so that more than one person can scan at once, or so that you can use your operating system of choice!

Photograph of a flatbed scanner with its lid open, and a tray of slide film sitting on top.

The flatbed scanners can create very high-resolution images of flat items, including film. They also come with convenient templates so multiple small items can be scanned at once.

Our third option for digitization is most often used when it’s time to get creative with your items. Our Canon 50MP DSLR is the best choice for framed items, clothing, and other objects that are too large or otherwise unable to fit on the scanners above. This device can typically provide a 300 pixels-per-inch image, often more than enough for web viewing or regular printing jobs. There are no size limitations for using the DSLR, and the pop-up photography studio is created to fit the materials needs, whether it’s using a clothing stand or a copy stand! Furthermore, we use industry standard color charts to ensure the color accuracy of every image. While the first two devices can be used independently after training, the DSLR and photography studio require assistance from a staff member. We are happy to help during open hours or by appointment!

Photograph of a camera and lights pointed towards the binding of a book.

Our DSLR can be set up in many different ways. In this case, the camera was used to photograph the binding of a book.

If you have an upcoming scanning project or are curious to know if the Digital Archiving Lab equipment will work for your items, contact us at archives@umw.edu.

March 2, 2018