Tag Archives: digital library center

Ready for its Closeup: The J.R. Clancy Collection

On many personal notes, this collection is cool. One, I was a theater nerd in high school and I’ll be honest, I never gave much thought to the stage rigging. This collection is changing things. Two, J.R. Clancy calls my hometown its hometown. So, I’ve enjoyed getting to work with this collection which is a very good thing because we’ll be working with it in the Digital Library Center (DLC) for a long time into the foreseeable future.

Details for Rear Wall Storage, J.R. Clancy Collection
Details for Rear Wall Storage, J.R. Clancy Collection

The J.R. Clancy stage rigging firm was established by stagehand John Clancy in Syracuse, New York, in 1885. The firm is known for innovating products and techniques for stage design including the Welch tension floor block, the automatic fire curtain, and automated stage rigging. The collection itself includes architectural and engineering drawings related to construction and renovation projects managed by the firm, including theatrical designs, drawings for standard parts, wiring diagrams, and standard assemblies for stage rigging systems. You can see the finding aid for the collection in Archon.

The collection here at Florida State University was acquired through the School of Theatre several years ago with the idea that the collection would be digitized in its entirety in the future. Due to the nature of materials, and the scope of the collection (numbering in the the tens of thousands of drawings!), we’ve been doing some major planning and thinking through the digitization project. The collection itself is still in processing which adds another challenge on top of the volume of it. So, for the moment, the collection is being digitized by patron request through the Clancy firm. The first batch of materials is now available online through this process. This set of drawings are for rigging components for the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada which is getting ready for a renovation project and wanted the original rigging plans for their upcoming work.

As we add more to this collection, we’ll be sure to highlight it here on the blog. In the meantime, the collection does have a finding aid and is available upon request in the Special Collections Research Center Reading Room.

DLC in Review

It has been a busy year for the Digital Library Center! I wanted to take a moment to bask in our success.

We completed 7 planned digital projects which included:

We also started a long-term digitization project with Le Moniteur, a periodical from our Napoleonic collections.

DLC staff member digitizes a textile fragment.
DLC staff member digitizes a textile fragment.

Collaborative digitization projects were also started with the department of Art History, for which half of the John House Stereograph Collection is now available online, and with the department of Anthropology where we hope to have materials to share online soon!

 

All in all, we added 6,026 objects to the digital library this year which encompasses thousands and thousands of digitized book pages, letters, photographs and 3-D objects.

It has been a busy and rewarding year as we keep growing how many projects we can take on each year. We’re already working on new projects for next year so stay tuned for what comes next!

Summer Report

A look at what a student worker has been up to in Special Collections & Archives this summer

My name is Meg Barrett and I started working with Special Collections and Archives at the beginning of the summer. When I found out that I was going to be working on digitally archiving old pictures from the College of Nursing and the French Napoleonic newspaper Le Moniteur, I was ecstatic. I’m currently a sophomore, majoring in Art History and minoring in French, so old photographs and French newspapers are exactly the sort of things that I love.

Because I am working on two different projects, I generally spend the first half of the week in the Research Center Reading Room and the second half in the Digital Library Center (DLC). In the reading room, I go through and catalogue the volumes of Le Moniteur. On my first day, I started with papers from the year 1792, and I finished the summer with papers from the year 1800. I think it’s amazing to be able to say that I’ve gone through over 2,000 newspapers from the 18th century! In the DLC, I have boxes of photographs in file folders, and my job is to scan the pictures onto the computer, type up information about them into a metadata spreadsheet, and then upload them onto DigiNole so that people anywhere can access them. The dates of the photos range from the 1950s to today, and seeing things from pinning ceremony traditions and headshot styles transition from then to now is such an interesting thing.

School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony; April 29, 1988 http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_HPUA_2014111_B42_F4_4_004
School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony; April 29, 1988 

Working in Special Collections has been such a wonderful experience: what I’ve been doing has been interesting, the people have been so kind and helpful, and I enjoy it every day. When I found out that I got the job a few months ago, I couldn’t believe it. It’s now the end of the summer, and I will continue working on these projects, and I still can’t believe it!

Visualizing an Invisible Machine

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View of the current exhibit on the digital library

For our current exhibit, What’s Past is Pixels, we faced a challenge. How do we represent our digital library in a physical space? To some extent, we could easily do so with pulling the physical objects we’ve digitized and talk about the challenges and decisions we made when translating them online. We could visualize the metadata created, highlight digital representations through screens and screenshots. What I could not wrap my head around, and what of course was on my list to figure out, was representing what the digital library was in some visual form…

As an exhibit planning group, we decided on the words representing the main functions of the digital library: discovery, scholarship and engagement. We also as a group decided on the raw ingredients that made those functions go: materials, community and system. My colleague working on the visualization with me originally suggested some sort of web visual, which would show the interconnectedness of the ingredients and functions. However, while that solved one problem (showing how the digital library works), it didn’t quite show how it worked in the bigger context of DigiNole, the platform that also held the Research Repository.

I kept playing around with the idea of engines, which eventually led me to the final graphic of cogs and functionality as the motion moving the cogs. The digital library was only one engine of DigiNole so the Research Repository could be represented as a part of the greater machine in which the digital library moved. From there, I assigned each ingredient to a cog of the machine and then named the movements after the different functionality we wanted to highlight. It was clean, simple and did its job in illustrating a highly conceptual idea in a straightforward manner for the exhibit without lots of text and using vocabulary that our intended audience (non-librarians) wouldn’t understand. Hopefully it succeeded!

The finished visual to explain how the digital library works
The finished visual to explain how the digital library works

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 6pm, Monday through Thursday, 10am to 5:30pm Friday. It will be held until April 8, 2016.

What’s Past is Pixels, a new exhibit at Strozier Library

As a digital archivist, when I’m working with exhibits, they are usually of the digital variety. However, when we wanted to make a splash for the launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository which combines the digital library with the research repository, we knew we needed to do something a bit bold, a bit crazy and very impressive.

What's Past is Pixels

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is an exhibit opening today about our work on the digital library. Perhaps our introduction to the exhibit says it best:

For over 10 years Florida State University Libraries has hosted a digital library in some form or another. In that time technology has evolved, changing how we can interact with physical objects in a digital space. The FSU Digital Library continues to evolve as well.

Today, the Florida State University Digital Library, under DigiNole, our new digital platform, provides online access to thousands of unique manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, rare books, historic maps and other materials from across the FSU campus libraries and beyond. Our goal is to support active learning and engagement by providing ample opportunities for discovery and scholarship. In order to achieve this goal new resources and projects are constantly being added to the digital library.

The exhibit takes you through the process of materials being selected, digitized, and described before they find their way into DigiNole. It then explores the new uses for materials that can occur in the digital environment and what the future may hold for the development of DigiNole over time.

We’re having some Opening Day festivities today for the new exhibit. A Coffee Talk at 10am, Cake (!) from 12-1pm and then a Closing Reception from 3-4pm. Also throughout the day, there will be demonstrations of DigiNole and what you can find and do with our materials.

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. It will be held from February 29 until April 8, 2016.

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!

A Mask for Napoleon

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the making of a death mask was fairly customary when a great leader died. A plaster cast of the face of the recently deceased would be taken and from that parent mold, plaster and bronze copies could be created. They were mementos of loved ones lost and could be used by artists to paint portraits or create sculptures of the dead. 

Napoleon's Death Mask, FSU Special Collections and Archives
Napoleon’s Death Mask, FSU Special Collections and Archives

When Napoleon Bonaparte died on May 7, 1821, a death mask was created by his attending physicians. It is undecided which of them took it or if both took separate ones and indeed, mystery has surrounded the original mask and its copies ever since. There are supposedly few copies of the death mask in existence today and here at FSU, we hold one in the French Revolution and Napoleon Collection. 

The death mask made its first appearance at FSU in 1966 when the owner, Dr. David F. Sellers, allowed it to be put on display for a colloquium on Napoleonic history held at FSU. Sellers’ mask was made from the mold taken by Dr. Francis Burton the day after Napoleon died. 

It was not until 1984 that a death mask found a permanent home in FSU’s collections, donated to Strozier Library by Edward Scott of New Hampshire. It has remained one of the focal points of our Napoleonic collections ever since.  

Getting some height to get the right angle
Getting some height to get the right angle
Setting the mask up for its closeup
Setting the mask up for its closeup

In celebration of Napoleon’s death anniversary this year, we took our mask into the Digital Library Center for a photo shoot. It is one of the most interesting pieces (in my opinion) to share with people, not only for the historic figure the mask is of, but as an example of the lost tradition of mourning it represents. 

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.