Tag Archives: digitization

The comic adventures of Old Mother Hubbard, and her dog.

FSU_PR4984M28O41819_021The Digital Library Center is currently digitizing a number of hand-colored chapbooks from the John MacKay Shaw Collection. Chapbooks derive their name from the chapmen who sold them. Peddlers and tradesmen would offer small, cheap books among their wares, often accounts of fairy tales or current political events, lessons in language and song, or engaging stories. Many of the chapbooks in the Shaw Collection cater to a younger crowd; these examples of 19th century juvenile literature would have been popular among the middle and lower classes. The hand-colored illustrations would have increased the price of the simple text by offering a richer, more attractive set of pictures to accompany the story.

FSU_PR4984M28O41819_020The comic adventures of Old Mother Hubbard, and her dog by Sarah Catherine Martin provides an excellent example of hand coloring in a chapbook. Most of us know the rhyme about the woman who went to the cupboard to find her poor dog a bone, but that’s not quite the whole story. First published in 1805, the nursery rhyme follows the increasingly outlandish behavior of the dog, who teaches himself to read, play the flute, dance a jig, and ride a goat. This 1819 version is one of many chapbooks that anthropomorphized animals to tell an amusing story. Unlike other fairy tales, this story doesn’t offer an obvious moral lesson, relying upon the antics of the dog to simply entertain, rather than instruct. Sadly, the tale of Old Mother Hubbard and her comical dog ends on a somber note – the final illustration depicts Hubbard weeping over the grave of her now-deceased pup. Though not exactly a happy ending, this chapbook represents an interesting time in publishing, storytelling, and the consumption habits of the masses. The full text will soon be available on DigiNole.

For those readers who aren’t quite dog people, try Old Dame Trot and her comical cat instead.

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

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.

IMG_20150223_161831
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.