Libraries: Archives and Special Collections
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Digital historical documents serve to preserve and share the history. Original documents deteriorate with age and with the technology of digital scanning can be preserved and shared for many generations. There are various digital options that should be considered prior to purchasing. Understanding the longevity and usage of the historical documents is key to purchasing the correct equipment to serve the historical preservation. Multiple digital copies should be stored to ensure files are backed up, and won’t be lost. With the changing technology, digital files should be periodically transferred to new storage media every two to four years.
Why go digital?
The primary challenge of original historical documents is degradation due to handling and usage. The main goal of preserving the documents digitally is to be able to share them while preserving the complete version for future generations. Copies can be made, distributed, and replaced when necessary. Archives, including Special Collections, should be maintained in multiple locations.
Interlibrary loans can serve a bigger purpose than just a temporary exchange of information and materials. If a larger library has large scanning equipment, and a smaller library has important historical documents that the larger library does not have, the smaller library can request to send the information to the larger library in order for that information to be copied and preserved. In this way, libraries are working together to help preserve historical information for generations to come.
What maintenance is required for the scanners?
Proper maintenance will help prevent any issues or problems with the scanner. If you are experiencing any hardware issues, cleaning the scanner can help resolve those problems. If the issues persist even after maintenance and cleaning, we advise you to call a professional for assistance.
What types of scanners would work best for libraries?
When choosing a scanner for your library that will be used by the general public, students, and library staff, you need a scanner that will give you the most benefits for the lowest cost. So should you get an overhead book scanner or a regular flatbed scanner? Ideally, your library could purchase both types of scanners. A less expensive flatbed scanner would do for most libraries that are only scanning simple documents, and the more expensive overhead book scanner would be good for scanning most types of books. If you can only afford one scanner though, you will need to consider the different types of documents your library will be scanning the most of. If your library will be mostly scanning books with fragile spines, the book scanners are the way to go. Yet be aware that keeping the book open at 180 degrees can cause a lot of wear and tear on the spine. Also, you must consider the user-friendly features of each scanner. Generally, most people are more familiar with flatbed scanners, which makes them more popular among the general public. Plus, flatbed scanners typically scan at a faster rate than most overhead book scanners. Yet with a little demonstration, anyone can learn to operate an overhead book scanner. Ultimately, the type of scanner you purchase comes down to who will be using the scanner and what types of documents you need scanned.
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Do you have any questions regarding digital imaging equipment, or how it can help your library? We provide extensive product offerings and exceptional consultative service across North America, including Canada. We are excited to hear from you!
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