All posts by Stuart Rochford

Happy Birthday, George Washington!

We here at Special Collections and Archives would like to wish George Washington a happy birthday. Though President’s Day was originally created to honor our nation’s first Commander in Chief, many states have since adapted it into a joint celebration which includes Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays.

President’s day, federally known as Washington’s Day, originally fell on George Washington’s birthday, February 22 but in 1971 was moved to the 3rd Monday of February under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Montana, Minnesota, Utah and Colorado all recognize today as an official holiday honoring both Washington and Lincoln, whose birthday was on February 12th. With election season in full swing, we’d like to take the time to honor all of the United States’ presidents.

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Portrait of Washington in his colonel’s uniform – The Story of Washington
New York Herald newspaper from the day of President Lincoln's assassination.
Profile of President Abraham Lincoln from the New York Herald Newspaper – April 15, 1965
Capture One Pro in the Digital Library Center

DLC Behind the Scenes – Turning Books into E-Books

There’s nothing like getting up-close and hands-on with some of the rare books in FSU’s Special Collections department, but sometimes it’s not possible for visitors to visit our Reading Room in Tallahassee to see them. Digitization allows us to make our materials available to a global audience who would otherwise never be able to interact with or use our collections.

To help alleviate this problem, the Digital Library Center (DLC) has been hard to expand access to some of our most important collections. We have digitized thousands of pages of our rare books and uploaded them for the public to access at their convenience. Digital reproductions of these books can be viewed in FSU’s Digital Library as individual pages or with the animated book viewer.

Ever wonder how these collections end up in the Digital Library? Turning books into ebooks is a complicated, but exciting process. So, the burning question is:

How do we get from this…

openbook

…to this?

Nonsense drolleries. Edward Lear, 1889
FSU Digital Library spread from Nonsense drolleries. Edward Lear, 1889

Typically our Digital Archivist has a queue of projects lined up for us which range from quick scans of reference material to digitizing vast collections of rare books and manuscripts. Once a project is decided upon, the material makes its way up the production studio where the imaging work is done.

Creating these images using a conventional flatbed scanner is not ideal due to the fragile condition of many of our rare books. Also, many books we digitize in the DLC have tight binding that would be nearly impossible to accurately scan without compromising the integrity of the books themselves. Improper scanning practices can lead to poor image quality and potential damage to the books.

In this case, as it is with most rare books, we’ll head over to our ATIZ BookDrive Pro station to start our work.

ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit
ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit

As you can see, this setup is specifically designed for book digitization. The V-shaped, adjustable book cradle and platen gently hold the book in place while dual Canon 5D Mark ii DSLR cameras photograph the left and right pages. Freedom to vertically and horizontally adjust the cradle and platen allows us to get the pages nice and flat before shooting, all without putting too much pressure on the book.

Each camera is tethered to the computer via USB and, as they fire, the digital images are automatically loaded into our processing software, Capture One 8 Pro. This powerful piece of software handles the file-management, editing, and exporting of the final image files. Within Capture One we can make any necessary color/exposure corrections, cropping adjustments, sharpening and QC work.

Using our BookDrive and Capture One Pro software to digitize our rare books.
Using our BookDrive with Capture One Pro software to digitize our rare books.

Once all the images are edited and double-checked for errors, they are exported as high-resolution TIF files and are ready for the next step: metadata!

Here in the studio we primarily focus on image production, however we do create basic metadata for certain items. In order for these images to recreate a traditional book-reading, page-turning experience within the Digital Library, we need to provide some basic information about this book’s contents. Some of the metadata we create for digitized books includes the front cover, page numbers, title page, table of contents, back cover, etc… Essentially, we are connecting each image file to its corresponding location in the actual book. This information, along with the more complex metadata entered later by our Metadata Librarian allows the book to be virtually perused and navigated with ease.

By using the Internet Archive’s book viewer within our Digital Library, the individual pages we scanned and edited earlier can be turned back and forth, from cover to cover. This animated display of the full book is designed to give users the next-best experience to actually thumbing through our rare books in the Research Center Reading Room.

So there you have it! That’s our basic workflow from book to ebook. We’ll continue adding more interesting content to the Digital Library, so keep checking back to see what we have to offer. At the moment we’re deep in the middle of scanning a large collection of cookbooks and herbals dating all the way back to the 1400s. There are some fascinating recipes in these books and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Open-book image downloaded from freeimages.com

Oversized book being digitized in the production studio

Digital Library Center 101

Greetings from the Digital Library Center!

Want to get a head start on your upcoming research papers? Looking to learn more about the history of the university and life on campus? Maybe you just want to view some of Special Collections and Archives‘ notable rare books and historical collections from the comfort of your own room. Check out FSU’s Digital Library (FSUDL) to view digital reproductions of the fascinating items held right here on campus. Visitors to the site can access primary and secondary source material or just go to see some really cool images without having to pay a visit to Strozier Library.

The Digital Library Center (DLC) staff is diligently working behind the scenes to digitize and share their fascinating collections with the FSU community and the rest of the world. Their expert staff consists of the Production Studio team, Metadata Librarian and Digital Archivist. Together they work closely with library staff as well as with faculty to create high quality digital collections. By regularly uploading quality content to the FSUDL, the DLC is helping connect users to material needed for their research.

Rare and fragile New York Herald newspaper detailing President Lincoln's assassination, April 15, 1865.
Rare and fragile New York Herald newspaper detailing President Lincoln’s assassination, April 15, 1865.

While the DLC mainly focuses on uploading content to the FSUDL, their work serves several purposes, including preservation. By digitizing rare, fragile collections and uploading the images, they are safeguarding items from over-handling while making them accessible to more users. The DLC also provides community members with expertise in the digitization of materials, digital project management and metadata creation.

Our Metadata Librarian, Matthew Miguez provides expertise on the description of materials for long-term access and preservation. Without his meticulous organization of information backstage, finding content in the Digital Library would be frustrating and nearly impossible.

Krystal Thomas, our Digital Archivist provides essential project management expertise to the DLC and ultimately decides which materials are chosen to be digitized and uploaded to the FSUDL. From each project’s initiation to completion, her comprehensive work helps ensure that relevant, quality content is consistently being added to our growing digital collection.

Oversized book of hymnals from the 1600s, Breviarium Romanum, being digitized in the Digital Production Studio
Oversized book of hymnals from the 1600s, Breviarium Romanum, being digitized in the Digital Production Studio

Stuart Rochford, Giesele Towels, and Willa Patterson make up the DLC’s production studio team. They are tasked with photographing and scanning Special Collections material for their images to be uploaded to the Digital Library. Their extensive knowledge of state-of-the-art photographic equipment and imaging standards allows for high quality, high resolution images to be shared.

This week the DLC is starting production on its next exciting project: Cookbooks and Herbals dating all the way back to the 1400s. New collections are always being added to the FSUDL and are often promoted right here on our blog, so check back for more updates on our digital collections!

Happy Birthday, Napoleon!

Happy birthday, Napoleon!

Born on the French island of Corsica in 1769 on August 15th, Napoleon Bonaparte is known for being the steadfast emperor of France who conquered much of Europe during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. After winning most of his conflicts against relentless European coalitions, Bonaparte was ultimately defeated by the British at the famous battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was imprisoned on the remote island of St. Helena where he died at the age of 51 in 1821.

Just after Napoleon’s passing on the island, one of his doctors created a customary death mask for the remembrance and final portrayal of the great leader. In addition to over 20,000 rare books and manuscripts from this significant era, the Special Collections Department at FSU houses one of the few remaining authentic death masks of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon's Death Mask, FSU Special Collections and Archives
Napoleon’s Death Mask, FSU Special Collections and Archives
Napoleon Bonaparte on his Celebrated White Charger, Ireland's Life of Napoleon Vol. 1
Napoleon Bonaparte on his Celebrated White Charger, Ireland’s Life of Napoleon Vol. 1

In the early 1960s the Department of History established the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution which thereby led to the creation of this rich collection currently held in Strozier Library. Together, FSU’s Department of History and the Institute allow students a unique opportunity to study this historical period without traveling to Europe. Visitors to our Research Center can access French Revolutionary newspapers, primary source materials, letters, and, of course, Napoleon’s death mask.

Part of the French Revolution and Napoleon Collection is already available online and does not require a campus visit to peruse. Focusing on this period, the FSU Digital Library’s French Revolution Collection on Camille Desmoulins, Lucile Duplesis, and Arthur Dillon contains high-resolution images of original manuscript letters, notes and pamphlets from the years 1702-1876. This unique online collection and many others in the Florida State University Digital Library is open to the public.

Feel free to stop by the Special Collections Research Center at Strozier Library to wish Napoleon Bonaparte a happy birthday and learn more about the fascinating history surrounding his life.

Maps of the Caribbean

The Florida State University Digital Library (FSUDL) has been a contributing member of the Digital Library of the Caribbean (DLOC) since its formation in 2004. Since then, the FSUDL has uploaded historic and rare maps of the islands to DLOC. These maps were created by some of the world’s most talented cartographers and explorers and our oldest map, created by Abraham Ortelius, dates all the way back to 1584.

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Abraham Ortelius’ map, Pervviae avriferæ regionis typvs

The FSU Digital Library Center was asked by DLOC to contribute to the collection by selecting and photographing some of the unique maps held here in Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. The intention was to expand the scope and geographic area of the existing DLOC collection and, once the maps were uploaded to the Digital Library, they would be made viewable to the public. The availability of these digital images will help reduce the wear-and-tear caused by repeated handling of these fragile maps.

wholemap
Carte du Golphe du Mexique et des isles Antilles

In addition to adding more maps to the collection, the Digital Library Center at FSU decided to re-photograph its previously digitized maps that were originally captured on a now-obsolete piece of scanning equipment. The updated images were photographed by a more powerful overhead, medium-format camera and lighting kit which ensured the maps were digitized at a higher resolution. Now these high-quality images in the collection accurately represent the true detail and colors of these works of art.

Phase One overhead camera and map of Trinidad
Phase One overhead camera and map of Trinidad
Closeup of Trinidad map
Closeup of Trinidad map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the maps in FSU’s previous contribution consisted mainly of the West Indies, Eastern Caribbean, Cuba and the Bahamas. However, the Digital Library Center has since included some areas of the Western Caribbean as well as parts of Central and South America.

Artwork detail on Kaarte van de Golf van Mexico
Artwork detail on Kaarte van de Golf van Mexico

Some of the images in the Caribbean Maps collection display detailed drawings, etchings and engravings printed with vibrant colors. Other maps are equipped with informative, color-coded keys that show which countries controlled the islands at the time. In these maps, each island is painted according to the colors in the key.

Color key showing ownership
Color key showing ownership

To view the maps in our Caribbean Collection, click here. To view other FSUDL material, including historic books, photographs and ephemera, head over to the Florida State University Digital Library.

Stuart Rochford is the Digital Library Center manager at FSU and has worked with Strozier Library since 2011. He graduated from FSU with a BFA in graphic design and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Library Science.

Introducing The Digital Library Center

The Digital Library Center at FSU’s Strozier Library has digitized thousands of rare and unique items ranging from existing materials in FSU’s own Special Collections & Archives division to international patron research requests.

Their staff of experts consists of Willa Patterson, Giesele Towels and studio manager, Stuart Rochford. Together they carefully work to create content for the ever-growing FSU Digital Library, which already contains a vast collection of academic and FSU-related scans.

Utilizing a combination of flat-bed scanners, a book scanner and a medium-format, overhead camera, the Digital Library Center creates accurate copies and works closely with its patrons to deliver the perfect product.

The DLC typically receives digitization requests directly from Special Collections & Archives and, based on the size and scope of the project, will ultimately decide which equipment to use for the job. Smaller, flat items such as individual manuscripts and photographs are usually scanned using the extremely capable Epson Expression 10000 XL.

ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit
ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit

Other times they are handed fragile, rare books with damaged binding or spines which require a bit more delicate attention. For these materials, the Epson would do more harm than good, due to having to lay the book flat and apply pressure for an accurate scan. In this case they will move to the ATIZ BookDrive Pro (pictured above) which features a 120° V-shaped book cradle and adjustable glass for applying gentle pressure to lay the pages flat.

This setup contains two Canon Mark II 5Ds and an LED lighting kit for uniform light distribution. The book scanner software allows for rapid production by shooting two pages at a time and automatic organization and numeration.

Large-format camera
Phase One IQ180 Medium Format Camera

For larger materials, including maps, posters and even oversized books, the Digital Library Center uses their powerhouse setup; the overhead medium format Phase One IQ180 camera back with Schneider lens and vacuum base (to pull the items flat). Along with two massive HID (High Intensity Discharge) light fixtures, this setup allows the DLC to produce accurate copies without sacrificing the integrity of the photographed material.

Together, the Digital Library Center staff and its state-of-the-art technology produce accurate and high-resolution scans and continues to upload quality content for our researchers’ convenience. Feel free to browse around FSU’s online Digital Library and see what we’ve been up to!

Stuart Rochford is the Digital Library Center manager at FSU and has worked with Strozier Library since 2011. He graduated from FSU with a BFA in graphic design and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Library Science.

The FSU Digital Library Presents: Club Downunder Posters!

Since the 1970s, in the heart of FSU’s main campus, Club Downunder (CDU) has been entertaining FSU students with its eclectic range of live performances, including rock shows, comedy acts, and other recreational events.

David Rañon, coordinator of Union Productions and Club Downunder, recently donated 316 event posters to Heritage Protocol and University Archives at Strozier Library. These posters range from the years 1998 to 2013 and showcase local talents such as Look Mexico and more internationally-renowned bands like Of Montreal, Jimmy Eat World and Rilo Kiley.

The collection consists of promotional posters provided by the touring bands as well as original designs by FSU students and staff, most of which were displayed around campus and in the windows of CDU.

 

Look Mexico promo poster 11/07/2008
Look Mexico promo poster 11/07/2008
Jimmy Eat World promo poster 03/27/1998
Jimmy Eat World promo poster 03/27/1998
Local Covers Show poster 04/09/2010
Local Covers Show poster 04/09/2010

 

 

   

 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

These posters were digitized in high resolution by the Digital Library Center staff in Strozier Library using a combination of flatbed scanners and specialized, overhead camera equipment for the larger prints. To view the posters and their metadata (concert dates and supporting artist information included) please visit the collection at the Digital Library, Club Downunder Poster Collection.

Please note the posters are set to display alphabetically by default. If you’re interested in seeing them sorted by date, click here.

For more information about Club Downunder and Union Productions, including upcoming concerts and events, please go to their website or check out their more active Facebook page for updates.

Stuart Rochford is the Digital Library Center Studio manager at FSU and has worked with Strozier Library since 2011. He graduated from FSU with a BFA in graphic design and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Library Science.