Skip to main content

Decision to scan from microfilm vs. original newsprint, Kent Stater project

Over the summer, we completed the monumental task of digitizing over 90 years of the student newspaper at Kent State. In the last batch of materials that were ingested (1926-1939), we had to make a decision whether to send out the originals- slim, bound volumes- or, to scan from microfilm. All of the previous scanning had been done from the print. We send the full volumes out to our vendor (Backstage Library Works), who disbinds the content before scanning (Note: this is from our second copy, for anyone who is curious! I also love that the disbinding machine is called the guillotine).

These early volumes were more problematic however, so our team talked about other options. As we looked at the early years, the newspaper had become extremely brittle, so much that even turning the pages to review the volumes was a little harrowing. We had to really tackle the potential problems for the scanning vendor before we decided whether to send these out. The level of brittleness in these early years was enough that we did not think the regular guillotine method would be a good idea. There were also a number of torn pages and missing pieces that would have to be addressed and if possible, repaired.

We then turned to the micofilm copy. These had been done some years prior, and to the best of our knowledge, had been filmed in-house. This option also presented its own set of problems as well- Since this was done in-house, we noted some skipped pages throughout the reels, and at times, low quality capture (hot spots in lighting, bad contrast, etc.). However, using our new microfilm reader/scanner, we noted that since the capture had taken place at an earlier date when the paper was less brittle, the quality was overall better than what we would likely get from capturing the physical volumes. And, another selling point was that the decision to scan from the microfilm instead of the physical volumes with numerous preservation issues, it was also much cheaper.

So, we sent out the microfilm, and I had the not so fun job of going through the scans to determine the missing pages. Fortunately, with our file naming schema in place, I did have some clues along the way to identify the missing pages. I did however end up doing a page level review, since we had noted the capture problems (lighting/contrast) in our initial review. All I will say, is that lots and lots of coffee was ingested during this tedious review. Once I had a list, we scanned the missing/low quality pages in-house from the brittle originals. We used our Bookeye 4 scanner to make the capture. These new scans were then added to the scans from Backstage, and these were sent on to the encoding vendor. Even though the number of issues from the early years were significantly lower than later years, this was a pretty tedious chore that took me about four weeks to complete in the late spring/early summer of 2017. (Only 3,254 pages from thirteen years of publication...)

I thought this topic might be of use for folks in the same scenario, and here's a link to our first issue of the student newspaper. At that time, called The Searchlight::: 


Popular posts from this blog

New image viewer in place for Omeka content

In anticipation for the addition of a large number of textual documents to be added to our online digital archive in the next year, we've added a new image viewer that allows for much more interaction with the digital items. Now a user can zoom in and navigate through an image or document. Here is an example:

One feature that we are excited to have in place with this new viewer is to provide a slideshow/scroll view of items with multiple pages or images. Thanks to Project Mirador!

Check back for more additions in the coming months.

Digital Scholarship

Digital Scholarship is a term that could probably defined in a dozen different ways if you asked a group of people to define it. It's a somewhat elusive concept, but for me, it's finding new connections between ideas that were previously unknown, using a tools and techniques that were not previously available using a little expertise from programmers, digital librarians and an array of other folks. What does this look like?

I've put together a few samples below. Some make use of data analysis, while others apply newer metadata applications to bring an idea into a new level of understanding and research. This goes beyond a digital repository that simply provides access to material, but allows a whole new level of interpretation and use.

Here are a list of some of my favorites:

Belfast Group Poetry Networks: showing an interactive network of a group of writers, and how we can now make new mappings of the connections within the group

Linked Jazz: a research project that uses L…

New video capability to our digital collections

This week, we have added a handful of video content into our digital repository from the May 4 Collection. This represents just a small portion of the video collection that is out of copyright that the library is able to share openly, and was transferred from VHS over the last year. Please take some time and give it a look:

We are looking forward to adding video content from the May 4 Oral History Collection down the road as well, so check back for more updates!