Tag Archives: book of nonsense

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

Alone and without Nonsense

On January 29, 1888, Edward Lear quietly passed away with only a servant by his side. A lifelong nomad, Lear was often alone as he hunted for new painting grounds. He was first and foremost a landscape artist and spend a good deal of his life wandering the Italian countryside in search of a new view to paint.

Detail from a letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, 1884
Detail from a letter from Edward Lear to Henry Bruce, 1884

His Book of Nonsense, a result of trying to entertain the children of one of his patrons, would be his greatest achievement however. First published in 1846, it led to dozens of editions and re-imagings by other authors and artists over the years as well as Lear himself who revisited the “nonsenses” as he called them in the 1860s and 1870s. It also was one of the first publication instances of the limerick. The Learian Limerick was named in Lear’s honor to specify the style Lear used in composing the short poems to accompany his character sketches.

In 1884, Lear contracted bronchitis and never fully recovered from it for the rest of his life. His health continued to deteriorate until his death in 1888 in San Remo, Italy, the closest place to a home the wandering poet and painter ever knew.

We have many of Lear’s Nonsense books in our digital library as well as a set of letters from Lear to one of his many patrons, all part of our John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry collection.

A Lot of Nonsense

A new digital collection is now available in the FSU Digital Library!

A page from A Book of Nonsense, 1846
A page from A Book of Nonsense, 1846

Edward Lear was a British poet and painter. Although he wrote many poetry volumes and travel journals, he is best known for his Book of Nonsense, first published in 1846, which consists of drawings and short poems he wrote for the grandchildren of Lord Derby. While he is not credited as the inventor of the limerick, the poems of the Book of Nonsense would be defined as such today. This online collection includes the multiple editions of the Book of Nonsense published from 1846 to 1880. It also includes the many derivative editions and works which call the Book of Nonsense their inspiration.

Our Edward Lear collection belongs in the John M. Shaw Childhood in Poetry collection. John MacKay Shaw (1897-1984) was an AT&T Executive who began collecting related to childhood in the 1930s. From this hobby the collection grew. Following his retirement in 1959, Shaw gave his collection of almost 6,000 volumes to Florida State University Libraries. For the next 25 years, Shaw went to Strozier Library daily to study, write, and talk about his books. The Shaw Collection has grown immensely over the years and it currently comprises over 35,000 volumes and 69 linear feet of archival material.

Also, this spring, see an exhibit about John MacKay Shaw in our Exhibit Room put together in collaboration with the Spring 2014 Museum Objects class. For more information, see our post about the exhibit!