Unit Info Archive

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Revision as of 08:36, 22 April 2015 by Kgmatheny (talk | contribs) (Capture Problems)

Digitization Setups

The Overhead (or Scanback) was a Better Light digital back scanning system. It was essentially a digital camera that operated like a scanner, moving from side to side to capture an item. It was in room 216. It was a bit persnickety about focus. It had no live view, just a screen where you could see a preview scan. It was faster than the flatbed scanners but nothing as fast as a digital camera capture system. If you need to locate images done with that machine, an easy place to look is at the Woodward diaries.

The Bookdrive was an Atiz product, using two digital cameras pointed at two sides of a v-shaped book cradle. The cameras we used on that station were Canon EOS 5Ds. It had serious focus problems. We re-structured it so that it shot things against the capture bed just like our other mounted-camera systems. The lighting was torturous that way. For these reasons, we stopped using the setup. Also, the Canon EOS 5D was a Mark I, which wasn't compatible with EOS Utility, which we use as our live-view capture interface (see Cameras. One collection captured on the Bookdrive was the Crimson-Whites.

The Captureback was a Phase One P45 digital back camera capture system. It used a sort of overcomplicated proprietary software. It could be a bit flaky, especially with regard to powering off during use. This was partly because it ran on batteries, which was also pretty inconvenient. It was used extensively during the Cabaniss grant project.

Capture Problems

The Captureback had a tendency to create thumbnail TIFFs within full-size TIFFs (see Discoveries and Challenges).

The Canon EOS 6D has a slightly different interface in EOS Utility than the other cameras. It is possible to export smaller TIFFs than normal. If this setting is changed, it must be changed back for regular exports; closing the program and opening it again does not return that setting to default.

The Canon EOS 5D Mk III does not like power failures. After a power outage or unplugging, you'll have to look at the camera's screen and follow directions to make it happy again. The camera back is not a touch screen; use the round button beside it to enter.

The 100mm lens was causing a double exposure problem because of its Image Stabilization technology. It was designed for freehand camera use, to compensate for movement; when the camera is attached to a stand, switch this feature to off so that the very movement of the shutter, rocking the lens, doesn't trigger this compensation.

The new 50mm lenses were having trouble maintaining focus over multiple shots. Normally, we use the Auto Focus setting (AF on the camera), but for these we use the Manual focus setting (MF), which is more stable.

For all the Canon cameras, the wheel under the on/off switch should be set to M for manual.

Other Equipment

There is no bulb in the back corner light in room 215 because we took it out. The socket is fine.

There is no carpet in room 215's other back corner because there was a bookcase there and apparently someone just carpeted around it.

The motorized stand-up/sit-down desks don't like power failures. After a power outage or unplugging, first return the height to base level (22 on the readout) in order to be able to raise it up again.

Peculiar Collections/Items


  • Mass digitized: u0003_0000252 (Cabaniss), u0003_0000555 (Gandrud; except items 0000001-0000801), u0003_0000535 (Foster)
  • Outsourced metadata creation: u0008_0000002 (Rohlig, by Mary Alice Fields)
  • Minimal metadata created at DS, augmented by others before MU remediation: w0001_2014001 (Cartes de Visite, by Christa Vogelius and Chris Sawula)
  • Items with scrapbook numbering
    • p0001_2013022_0000001 (Hughes photo album)
    • u0001_2008006_0000001 (Cowan scrapbook)
    • u0003_0000633_0000039 (Harper timetables)
    • u0003_0000633_0000040
    • u0003_0000633_0000076
    • u0003_0000900_0000423 (Manly)
    • u0003_0000900_0001203
    • u0003_0001127_0000454 (Perkins scrapbook)
    • u0003_0001260_0000001 (Sharpe ledger)
    • u0003_0001495_0000001 (Vaughn diary)
    • u0003_0003925 (all items; ROTC scrapbooks)
    • w0001_2013001_0000001 (Lincoln Normal School albums)
    • w0001_2013001_0000002

Capture setup

  • Captured with slide scanner: u0001_2007004 (Smith cotton slides)
  • Captured with batch feeder attachment to Epson flatbed: u0002_0000002 (Corolla; part of collection currently online, probably all the disbound ones)
  • Captured against the light box: u0003_0000555_0000783 - u0003_0000555_0000801 (Gandrud)
  • Captured with the batch feeder: u0008_0000003 (Working Lives oral history, transcripts only)


  • Captured in black and white: u0008_0000003 (Working Lives oral history, transcripts only)
  • Captured in color, desaturated to black and white: u0003_0000431 (Dent), u0003_0001577_0023151 - u0003_0001577_0023786 (Woodward)

Collections split between photos and manuscripts

  • Woodward (u0003_0001577 and u0001_2007010)
  • Perkins (u0003_0001127 and u0001_2007007)

Photo collections which have match files (not all photo numbers correspond to filenames)

  • u0001_2007010 (Woodward)
  • u0001_2007001 (UA Photos)

Workflow and Documentation Issues

We used to keep tracking data in separate files. We switched to integrated tracking data exported to separate files in January 2013. Both files are stored in the archive as .log.txt. The easy way to tell them apart is how many columns they have. Old-school tracking data files have dozens of columns, some to record info about audio. New-form tracking data files have less than 10 columns.

During the flatbed period, "optimizing" was done by opening and editing .tif files in Photoshop. Jeremiah created several different Actions over a couple of years. These straightened and cropped images. Optimization is now done to raw files in Adobe Camera Raw (built into Bridge/Photoshop), with .CR2 files exported as .tif (or, if shot on flatbed, original .tif files are optimized and exported).


See Troubleshooting

Upload scripts makeJpegs, relocate_all, and moveContent were first created in the summer of 2010.

QC script filenamesAndDupes was created in 2012. Prior to this, other QC check scripts were used. A more general mass content QC script, MassContentCheck, was created in the summer of 2013, replacing CabanissCheck. ScrapbookCheck was created in the spring of 2013.

Shift_reporter was first used in the summer of 2012.

Upload script makeJpegs was replaced with makeJpegsPurls in June 2013. At that point, not only did the script add PURLs to the MODS during upload, it also copied those MODS to deposits and deleted the Share copies, which had previously been done with moveContent.

Upload script ScrapbookMakeJpegsPurls was created in June 2013. Prior to this script, I don't know how scrapbooks were uploaded, but I do know there was no creation of stub MODS for pages or subpages until this script. This is also when it became possible to incorporate captions using captions files.

Common subroutines in QC and upload scripts were extracted and put into external function calls in September 2014.

MIX files were created for the archive and the creation of FITS and MIX files was fully incorporated into the QC and archiving process in September 2014.

Unit History


  • The first head of DS was Doug Boyd. He started in late 2006 or early 2007 and left in late 2007 to take a professorship at UK. As of 2014, he's the head of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.
  • Jeremiah has been around since summer 2007. Kate Matheny was here as a student worker May 2007-August 2010. Nitin Arora worked as a student worker in the department as early as fall 2007.
  • Jody DeRidder arrived in July or August 2008.
  • In the interim between Doug and Jody, Jeremiah Colonna-Romano worked independently, reporting to former Hoole Curator Clark Center. Jeremiah often consulted with Donnelly Lancaster Walton (manuscripts) and Marina Klaric (audio-visual materials). Kate worked under Donnelly during this period.
  • The Curator of Hoole was Clark Center until he retired. After an interim with no curator, leadership went to Mary Bess Paluzzi, filling the new position Associate Dean for Special Collections.
  • Digital Services has been under the following associate deans: Tom Wilson (as AD of Library Technology), Mary Bess Paluzzi (AD for Special Collections), Jason Battles (AD for Library Technology)


  • Digitization Technologist: Nitin Arora, Shaun King, Austin Dixon, Corinne Chatnik
  • Repository Manager: Charles Howard, Jessica Anderson
  • Outreach Coordinator: Amanda Presnell, Kate Matheny
  • Digitization Manager: Jeremiah Colonna-Romano, then phased out Oct. 2014
  • Digitization Researcher: Jeremiah Colonna-Romano


  • We used the CONTENTdm digital library interface in the early days of the program. Mary Alexander wrangled and created metadata and handled the upload to the interface.
  • After Jody's restructuring of the archiving and workflow, we did the uploads in DS, by Perl and sometimes Python scripts. Metadata was created on the item level by April in Special Collections, managed and uploaded by DS, and remediated and re-uploaded by the metadata unit.
  • We used to be able to pull materials ourselves. As of 2011 (?), we use a particular procedure and form to request materials. At first, Donnelly and Jessica Lacher-Feldman were authorized to do exchanges. When Jessica left, Martha Bace took her place on the list. As of fall 2014, April Burnett was an authorized backup.


  • Room 214 used to be the office of Marina Klaric.
  • Room 215 used to be the audio-visual workroom.
  • Black drop cloths are used to block ambient light as well as keep the scanning lights from reflecting off the white walls.
  • No one on the Hoole end has keys to our offices, not even Kevin.

Random Info

  • We once took an Exacto knife to some surplus copies of old yearbooks. They're probably still back here. Some have been digitized already; others are awaiting the go-ahead to continue the collection.
  • Some material was captured against a white background. These are flatbed scans. If a scan's background looks dirty, that's because the flatbed lid was. The batch feeder attachment was especially prone to dirty gray tracks.
  • Why are the white cloth gloves dirty? Because Marina used to wash them like 100 years ago, but now it's our responsibility, and we forget.
  • Yes, you can wash the green cloths we use to clean the glass. DO NOT use fabric softener!
  • Why is there black paper or electrical tape attached to the cameras and camera rigs? So that the shiny bits of the camera do not reflect off glass when it's used during the capture process.
  • What is PBO? Publisher's Bindings Online. DS did not scan this, though we have it in our archive (not in Acumen). It was a grant project we shared with the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Who to Ask About What

  • Cameras and lenses: Jeremiah
  • Flatbed scanning: Jeremiah; if he's not available, Kate
  • Other hardware: Jeremiah
  • Software: Jeremiah
  • Scripts: Jessica; if she can't answer or is not available, Jody or Jeremiah
  • Materials: Jeremiah; if he can't answer or is not available, for manuscripts, Donnelly and Martha; for books, Allyson Holliday; for photos or audio, Marina Klaric
  • Metadata: Kate; if she can't answer or is not available, Mary Alexander or Vanessa Unkeless-Perez
  • Audio: Corinne or Jeremiah
  • Digitizing things for publishing or display: Jeremiah
  • Williams Collection: Nancy DuPree or Donnelly
  • Collection-specific:
    • Cabaniss: check the wiki first, then ask Jody
    • Gandrud: check the wiki first, then ask Kate; if she's not available, Jody
    • Rohlig: Jeremiah or Corinne
    • Williams Cartes de Visite: Jessica, Mary Alexander, Vanessa Unkeless-Perez, Chris Sawula