This week was my first week on the new job, and there’s a lot to learn! I haven’t been weaving much because I haven’t had the mental and emotional energy to do anything that focused. Instead, I’ve been working on scanning magazines. I’ve completed the first 24 out of the initial set of 60 magazines (16 Prairie Wool Companions + the first 8 issues of Weaver’s).
Here is a photo of my setup:
You can just barely spot the camera in this photo, slightly NW of center. It’s held facing down towards the magazine (the invisible blaze of white on the platform); the magazine is held open by a pane of glass and is also lit by two halogen floodlights on either side. The camera is triggered by a remote.
Here is a photo that lets you see the camera setup slightly better:
The blue tape on the platform shows where the magazine should be placed. The camera is set at the exactly correct height to photograph both pages at once; it’s held there by the copy stand. (Which, by the way, I got from Craigslist for $20. Craigslist ROCKS!) Before starting a run, I focus the camera manually (the focus is then left there for the duration of that scanning session), and adjust the aperture/exposure time settings. After the setup is done, though, it’s just a matter of lifting the glass, flipping the page, setting the glass back down, and triggering the camera; rinse and repeat until all pages are done. It takes me anywhere between five and seven minutes to photograph a 60-70 page magazine. Then I move to the next one, and so on until they’re all done.
After that, I run it through the OCR software (Abbyy Finereader 10.0) for a first-pass text conversion. That takes about 20 minutes per magazine. Later, I’ll go back through each issue and manually correct the image regions and any egregious misspellings. That takes up about an hour per magazine issue.
I am seriously considering digitizing my entire collection of Handwovens. This is a nearly complete collection that I “inherited” from the estate sale of a fellow weaver; it goes back to the 1980s at least and possibly to the 1970’s, so we are talking about a LOT of material. For sanity’s sake, if I digitize those, I will probably not do manual correction except on the table of contents. I’ll scan it, run it through the OCR software, and export two files: a searchable PDF/A of the entire magazine, and a searchable PDF of just the table of contents for each issue. That way I can search just through the table of contents for all the articles if I want to do that. (Yes, I know, there is the Handwoven Master Index, but I think I can get more info from the table of contents.)
Hmm…I wonder…is it mere coincidence that I am getting enthusiastic about archiving magazines? I am, after all, just starting to work at a university library, building platforms to allow online access to academic journals.
Food for thought!