Digifun with Historical Bibliography 2

Following on from yesterdays post where I dealt with the Digital Photography aspect of digitising  early printed book facsimile pages.

My Task
Title pages from some early printed books and one entire 19th century book (missing its boards).  The aim is to  digitise the title pages for use in Historical Bibliography module at UCL with students for the quasi facsimile (title page facsimile) practice.

Today I tried flatbed scanning.

I didnt really have to do much to make this happen, after faffing figuring out how to turn the flipping thing on. Insert the image you want to scan. Check the resolution, which I set at 300dpi.  Press Preview, crop to the image and then press Scan.  Job done. I didn’t fiddle with anything else as we were told it is best to capture the image as is, and leave adjustments for later on.  It is wise to always save a high quality copy of the image as a TIFF file so it will meet archival standards (admitidly I forgot to do that for half of them – Sorry Anne! but for the purpose of the digitisation the JPEG should be adequate…i hope).

The resulting image is really sharp, and lost the phantomness from the digital photographs.  But you sort of lose the condition and colour of the paper.  So it shows the pros and cons of the two different methods.  Depending on what you want the digitised image for.

4 thoughts on “Digifun with Historical Bibliography 2

  1. Hi Claire

    Looks like you are having fun!

    JPEG is absolutely fine – take a look at EEBO ( https://shibboleth.chadwyck.co.uk ) for a wide range of different quality scans. The advantage of the images you are creating is that the students use these books for collation and quasi facsim, and I can mount your images on our module intranet page so they can use them outside class. So they can use object and image of the same object.

    I’m sure your instructor pointed out we don’t use flatbeds for rare books, but specially designed book scanners (if photography is not available). You’ve got loose title pages because the books are old tatty things that were cheap, cheap, cheap and I’ve not had them rebound because it’s useful for the students to be able to see the construction of the book, which is exposed because they’re falling apart 🙂

    I’m really glad you’re getting to try out a range of repro techniques: as a consequence, I can use your images alongside the real thing to compare and contrast with the real thing and each other, and discuss the sorts of issues you are raising. One big loss that occurs with most digital is the evidence of the depth of the impression made by the weight of the press, and in previous years we’ve compared the object with the image. It will be great to extend that exercise.

    Thanks again,


  2. Pingback: “Digifun with Historical Bibliography” « Library Marginalia

  3. Pingback: DIS Student Blog » Blog Archive » Digital Humanities Summer Institute

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