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McGill University: Remarkable Reproduction of a Renaissance Relic

April 2, 2019

Utilizing i2s' SupraScan Quartz A0 
and its considerable digitization know-how, the Digital Initiatives Lab of 
McGill University's McLennan Library have successfully reproduced a true-to-life facsimile of a 15th century antiphonal from
the early Italian Renaissance, bringing the unique treasure nearly 600 years into the future to be marveled at and perused
by eager, 21st century eyes.

Ristech Company of Burlington, Ontario originally sold the SupraScan system to McGill back in the summer of 2017. Since
that time, the university has utilized the system to scan a varied assortment of rare and fragile documents in their collection.
This latest undertaking posed unique challenges to the members of the digitization group. The massive 55 by 36 cm.
manuscript, bound in leather and wood and embellished with unique brass bolting, contains 143 fragile vellum pages of a
Gregorian Chant, with medieval Latin gothic script and musical notation meticulously printed upon luminous red, four line
The rare document, known as "MS 73", has been housed in McGill's famed special collections for generations, having
acquired by a patron in Florence, Italy in 1930.

The digitization team at McGill created a customized cradle to minimize curvature while gently and securely holding the
document in place. Once the manuscript-laden cradle was placed into position inside the SupraScan’s frame, the
high-definition CCD camera passed swiftly overhead and imaged each set of pages at a 600 PPI optical resolution.
The end result
was the creation of uncompressed, full-color output files at an exact 1:1 ratio, suitable for both color-accurate
reproduction as well as high quality, digital enlargement for present and future research and analysis.

The remarkable image quality achieved as a result of this challenging initiative offers ample evidence of the Quartz' versatility
and value, characteristics that make it a robust, top-of-the-line offering in Ristech’s extensive collection of digital imaging
solutions. Originally designed for the reproduction of large, flat format items, the SupraScan has consistently shown its
effectiveness in handling of fragile, oversized bound documents such as MS 73.

Now in its third decade as a respected supplier
and reseller of specialized optical imaging equipment, Ristech is both pleased
and honored to have an ongoing part in the
exciting ensemble of McGill’s and many other noted institutions’
digital preservation ventures.

Kirtas Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

By Borden D. Mills

APT Book Scan 1200 digitization systemOctober, 2018

As Kirtas celebrates the 15 year anniversary of the first sale of its revolutionary APTBookScan 1200 digitization system, let's flip through the pages and take a brief glance back at some of the earlier chapters of its memorable history.

The novel concept of a high-volume, automated book scanner that would later become Kirtas’ unique flagship model had its genesis in the late 1990s at the Xerox Venture Laboratory (XVL) and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). After a successful proof-of-concept, the project was further incubated and developed under a brand new company founded by core innovators and investors of the Xerox program-- Kirtas Technologies, Inc.

In spring 2003, after 2 years of intensive mechanical and software development with several Rochester, NY based companies, a fully-functional pre-production demonstration model was unveiled to the public eye, and by the end of the year the first units were being manufactured and installed at leading internet search engine companies, document management service bureaus and prestigious universities across the U.S.

By 2008, Kirtas had nearly 200 systems installed in 20+ countries around the world, with many notable global institutions and companies actively operating both the APT-1200 and its dual-camera sister model, the APT-2400.

Flip forward to 2018. Several of the original first generation APT-1200 model book scanners, now into their teen years and having digitized literally hundreds of millions of pages, are still in use around the country and abroad. Their continued use, reliability and productivity is a testament not only to the sound concepts, robust patents and solid manufacturing that were incorporated into the original models, but also to the stunning volume of bound material still left in the world to be digitized.

While Kirtas no longer produces the vintage APT-1200 or APT-2400 models, we continue to offer the second generation KABIS line of automated digitization solutions. Over the past 9 years, the KABIS line has added new chapters to Kirtas' ever-expanding story. It has proven its worth at Universities, service bureaus and libraries worldwide. Whereas the original APT-1200 imaged books from 5” x 8" to 10 by 13" at rate of 1200 page per hour utilizing a 12 megapixel digital camera, the KABIS line allows imaging of pages from 4” x 7" to 11" x 14" at a rate of up to 2900 pages per hour, utilizing a 30.1 megapixel camera.

As long as there are bound materials in the world in need of digitization, there is no end in sight to the Kirtas story. While millions of pages have been scanned, millions more still await efficient, high quality digitization, and Kirtas is honored and humbled to be a part of the ongoing narrative.

Café Brews Satisfaction for University of Toronto

cafe pro scanner

"Renting the Café book scanner has allowed us to scan our inventory of index cards that house important student-athlete
information that is not captured anywhere else. Previously, these cards had been kept in boxes. Now that we have digital files, we can look them up easily and quickly. This would never have been possible without the Café book scanner.

The unusual size of the cards meant that scanning these cards on a normal scanner would require cropping –
a tall order for 17,000 cards. The scans of the cards are extremely crisp and legible.

Furthermore, we can use the Café software to make the files searchable PDFs. Thank you to Julie and the Ristech team
for making this project a success!"

University of Toronto

FADGI & Metamorfoze: The Gold Standard of Preservation Standards

February 2, 2018

FADGI and Metamorfoze are two sets of preservation standards developed within the last decade that provide comprehensive numerical analysis of accuracy and quality of digitized image output from a wide array of imaging devices. FADGI (Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative) was first developed in the United States in 2007 as a collaboration between federal agencies to ensure best practices and superior quality for the digitization of still images and audio/visual content. Metamorfoze was developed through a partnership with the National Library of the Netherlands and the National Archives as a series of digital preservation guidelines for two dimensional materials and now is used across Europe and elsewhere in the world.

Both FADGI and Metamorfoze use a tiered rating system to evaluate the quality of digitized content. FADGI uses a rating of 1-4 stars, with one star being the lowest quality and 4 representing the highest (preservation level) quality. Metamorfoze uses three separate categories that correspond to FADGI's 4,3 and 2 star ratings, respectively: Metamorfoze (the highest, or preservation quality), Metamorfoze Light, and Metamorfoze Extra-Light.
Using an integrated method of physical imaging targets and an official, computer-based analysis software known as Goldenthread, FADGI captures and analyses a wide array of color, light resolution and detail metrics at the device and/or object level and separates them into several distinct categories. These categories measure lighting and luminance uniformity, RGB color accuracy, white balance, tone response, spatial frequency response, image noise, color registration, and sampling frequency. From images of an industry accepted test target captured from a specific imaging device, Goldenthread plots the data as a series of charts and graphs which then compares the results alongside a baseline set of industry accepted values in order to determine a final rating.

FADGI ratings can be used to determine a specific digitized output's suitability for display and/or preservation. A four star rating signifies stringent, preservation-level content; a superior comparison of color, tone and detail accuracy between the original, still image and its digitized counterpart. A three star rating signifies fairly accurate digitized content that would be suitable for full color re-printing through most commercial printers as well as high-success optical character recognition (OCR) and searchability. A two star rating may indicate an image suitable for average OCR accuracy and as a means of reasonably accessible online access. A one star rating reflects subpar image quality that would be strictly for direct reference to the original, physical item or for limited, textual purposes only.>

While primarily as a means of assessing overall performance of both linear and area array imaging technologies as well as quantifying consistent image quality that meets baseline parameters and other technical specifications, FADGI standards can also be used to better configure and adjust variable digital image capture devices to improve overall image quality. Settings in regards to lighting, color space, lens type, focus, shutter speed, exposure time, ISO speed, aperture setting, and white balance of camera sensors and planetary imaging devices can be objectively analyzed and fine-tuned to optimize capture content as well as streamlining the pre- and post-capture processes involved in the digitization workflow.