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Kirtas To Attend ACRL Conference March 22-24, 2017

March 3, 2017

Spring fever is in the air and new digital imaging projects are in full bloom. What's more, high quality digitization has never been so streamlined, efficient and affordable! Come visit us at this year's ACRL convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Stop by booth 1504 to view our exciting line of manual, semi-automated and automated digitization products, including our KABIS II+ which offers 23 megapixel, high resolution digital images at speeds of over 1,700 pages per hour! 

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Where There's A Will There's A Way-- Digitization at The University of Mary Washington

November 9, 2016

The University of Mary Washington's Digital Archiving Lab in Fredericksburg, Virginia is currently
using
Grace 5the Book2Net Cobra overhead scanner to help convert the Simpson Library’s rare and unique archival materials into digital formats.

The Cobra utilizes two high-resolution area sensors in combination with high quality optics, safe handling and LED illumination to enable high-resolution scanning of fragile bound books and documents of various sizes.

Ristech/Kirtas originally installed the digitization system at the university during the fall semester of 2014.

Since that time, the Cobra has been involved in several important preservation initiatives.
Over this past summer, the lab worked in collaboration with the Washington Heritage Museums and the Fredericksburg Circuit Court Archives to digitize the original will and testament of George Washington's mother, Mary Ball Washington.

The digitization will enable staff and patrons access to high-quality digital representations of the will, which can then be reproduced electronically for exhibits without repeated handling of the extremely fragile original document.

UMW's other digitization initiatives can be viewed at http://libraries.umw.edu/digital-collections/

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IMAGINE

September 28, 2016

Imagine-- millions upon millions of rare, fragile books, locked away in some darkened room in the back of some sparsely patronized library, never seeing the light of day, or perhaps more pointedly, never being pulled out and opened by human hands; never perused by human eyes-- forgotten, awaiting further decay and disappearing from existence.

Over the past generation or so, the answer to this nightmare scenario, for many concerned, was to digitize those forgotten books. Digitize them and create preservation quality image files that could be used for storing, reprinting or sharing; to be available via the ever expanding worldwide web.

Now imagine if you will--  millions of rare, fragile books, digitized, locked away in some computer hard drive, never being displayed on some computer monitor; metadata and/or hyperlinks never being accessed via a computer mouse or the click of a smartphone screen. Backlit words never being read by human eyes, forgotten and waiting for that day in the future where the hard drive malfunctions and those pages, in the form of fragile bits and bytes, simply disappear from existence.

Digitization matters, certainly, but accessibility may, perhaps, matter more. That is a valuable lesson to be learned, but perhaps the greatest lesson here lies not in preservation or even accessibility of the written word, but rather in our own ability to take time, seek out and find what we need in the present or what we may need in the future. Sometimes we may assume that everything that is known, or at least, everything that we deem worthy of being known can be easily accessed with a simple Google search. We may also assume that, upon encountering the information, we need not place it to permanent memory in the vast vaults of our own personal storage drive of gray matter, because if it is forgotten, we can just Google it again at a future date.

Knowledge is a continuous wellspring of past information and inspiration in which we reach in and take what we need in order to feed our intellectual needs at present and to bring to fruition the dreams and goals of our futures.

At one point in the not so distant past, mankind would wander far and wide over miles, countries and continents-- hours, days and years-- in search of knowledge. Most of us have heard the stories of a young Abraham Lincoln, living in the backwoods of southern Indiana, hastily striding miles through unbroken forest and field to borrow books from his “neighbor’s” collections. We might ask ourselves, “Would we undertake such a physically demanding quest nowadays, or has the universal and facile accessibility of knowledge and information via the internet cheapened perhaps not the knowledge itself, but the manner and methods in which it is eventually acquired? And if that is the case, could it be said that the value of knowledge may not only be in the words and sentences that are read , heard or otherwise understood, but also in the manner in which it was sought after and/or conveyed?

These are all fairly interesting questions to consider and ponder over, but the fact remains that more and more, we are relying on digital medium to find, collect, express, and propagate our thoughts and ideas, whether they are thousands of years old or merely a few seconds old. The key to making information accessible lies, fundamentally, in the tools and methods that we use to capture, preserve and share it—and acquisition of those tools and methods is increasingly sought by universities, libraries and businesses alike.

So, all sales pitches aside, next time you wander up to that bookscanning kiosk at your local library, intent on scanning a few pages of an age old, rebound reference book or flopping down in front of your favored computer screen, rapidily tapping in a keyword search into your preferred search engine to lay claim to an obscure tidbit of popular culture trivia, remember that it is your own inquisitive nature and, in a broader sense, the unending human quest for knowledge that gives real value to the complex and high-cost technologies that companies such as Kirtas provide-- technologies that serve to help obtain some (but not all) of the answers in which you seek.