The Digital Media Group has been cooperating with Digital Transitions on their hardware equipment for many years. Digital Transitions supports the programmatic digitization efforts of libraries, archives, and museums with sustainable solutions.
The latest entry in the Digital Transitions portfolio is the Zeutschel ScanStudio. It combines the best of two worlds–the world of studio photography with the world of professional overhead scanners. The system consists of a camera with a PhaseOne digital back, interchangeable lenses, as well as a special lighting system for both gentle and high-quality digitization of valuable documents. In addition to book cradles for A2 and A1 formats, there is also a transparency unit for the digital capture of films, slides, and glass negatives.
Image quality and productivity are among the most important features of the product concept. This fulfilled key requirements of the Digital Media Group, which opted for the standard version of the ScanStudio with the A2 book cradle.
Important for the decision was also the excellent ‘Service and Support’ provided by Digital Transitions.
“If we had problems with the equipment in the past, we could always count on the support of Digital Transitions. In some cases they helped us to solve a mechanical problem, in other cases they designed a new solution to a technical problem,” emphasizes Simon Ingall.
Currently, the Zeutschel ScanStudio is digitizing a large collection of Pomology books. Pomology is the study of the types and varieties of fruit as well as their determination and systematic classification. The books are from different collections within Cornell Library. The goal is to make them available online in digital form, bringing them together in one place for the first time.
This is happening via the online portal of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The BHL is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries with the aim of digitizing the respective historic holdings on the subject of “biodiversity” and publishing them via an open access information platform. This is a significant scientific task. Because much of the published literature on “biodiversity” is available in only a few selected libraries. These collections are of very high value, because the domain of systematic biology depends, more than any other science, upon historic literature.
From the project experience, Simon Ingall draws a first interim conclusion of the Zeutschel ScanStudio: “The image quality is incredible and we achieve a very high scanning speed.” He saw room for improvement on the software side. The device complies with the FADGI 4-star quality level, but in practice the capture solution only allows the output of 8-bit files. However, because FADGI 4-star requires 16-bit files, Zeutschel’s latest version of their capture software provides 16-bit output.
A major challenge remains since the metadata structuring of books currently still takes place in spreadsheets. In addition, quality control will be made more efficient. “Ideally, we will find a solution that allows us to perform both steps–metadata capture and quality control–in one end-to-end workflow.”