By Shannon Kupfer, Digital/Tangible Media Cataloger Librarian
In March 2010, more than two years after its selection, the State Library was able to purchase the Indus 5004, a high-quality overhead scanner for digitization. Because of its color-scanning capabilities, we can now scan and make available the many fantastic manuscript materials in our collection as well as continue to digitize government documents.
The Indus 5004 is an open-book scanner with a mechanical cradle which protects the spine of the book to be scanned. To assist in the scanning of items that have been rolled or folded, such as maps, photographs, or posters, a hinged glass plate may be lowered to flatten the page. This also aids in the scanning of tightly-bound books, as it rests gently on the page, thus helping to ensure that damaged or otherwise compromised binding remains intact. The large scanning surface of our new scanner – it accommodates items up to 16.53 inches by 24.8 inches – will allow us to select items for digitization that would otherwise have been extremely difficult to scan.
Indus bundles their scanners with BCS2, a robust and user-friendly software. Ideally, scanned images should be manipulated as little as possible, so we generally limit our image editing to cropping or to small changes in brightness and contrast. BCS2 allows us to make these changes quickly and easily, cutting down the amount of time spent on each individual image. In fact, the time we spend on each digitized page has been cut nearly in half due to the speed of our new scanner and the ease-of-use of the BCS2 software.
As previously mentioned, our new scanner’s capabilities have allowed us to schedule many of our manuscript collections for digitization. Most recently, our collection of federal land records from the Land Office in Cincinnati, that sold lands from the Symmes Purchase, have been scanned and will be available soon via our online repository, Ohio Memory. Soon to follow will be our registries from the Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia, which contain thousands of names of both Ohio luminaries and average citizens. We anticipate huge interest in these items from researchers of all types.