We like to occasionally highlight tools used in the archive (see our previous homage to tools) and have decided that we would dedicate a post to a piece of equipment that we fondly refer to as “The Beast“. The Beast (aka the BookDrive Pro Scanner) perches on one of our processing tables like a giant vampire bat (see images above) and does its best to collect a heavy coating of dust. The Beast came with minimal instructions and a pretty hefty learning curve. In a nutshell, two heavy duty professional cameras are responsible for capturing images of text (from books, newspapers, etc.) or photographs that are either too large or too fragile for our flatbed scanner, but they must be positioned at precisely the correct angle and height-not an easy feat.
Soooo, the Beast sat unused for some time. In the last couple of weeks however, Steve has bravely snow shoveled off the dust and rolled up his sleeves in an attempt to tame the Beast. (A hearty shout-out is also in order for one of our IT staff, Stephen Leather, who has spent a LOT of time learning how to use the scanner & trying to impart this knowledge to us. Thanks for your patience Stephen!) Long, long, long story short-the Beast has been tamed. It now sits quietly, awaiting our next two big ‘ole digitization projects: the entire run of the University Echo student newspaper (1906-present) and all of the university’s published yearbooks! These projects will take quite a bit of time (at least a year) to complete, but the digitized collections will be extremely valuable to many of our patrons. Thanks, Beast!
Feel free to stop in and meet the Beast at any time. 🙂