April 7, 2016
With four libraries, more than two million visitors and a combined total of more than two million books, McMaster University in Ontario, Canada is a top ranked research establishment in Canada and it is considered one of the leading research institutions in the world.
The Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections houses extensive archives including those of Bertrand Russell (1872)the British philosopher, logician, essayist,and renowned peace advocate; and a noteworthy collection of 18th century literature.
Like so many other institutes of higher learning, McMaster University Library faced the challenge of providing online, digital access to content that is currently only available by making a visit to the library in person.
The library has some experience bringing books from its rare collections into the digital world through a manual scanning process, but the project proved to be a slow, arduous task. McMaster University Library began searching for state-of-the-art equipment that would enable its books to be released to the world and viewed electronically on a daily basis by its end users.
Together with their Canadian reseller Ristech, Kirtas Inc. was able to provide the exact solution McMaster University Library was looking for. The Library determined that Kirtas’ APT 2400RA was best suited to meet their needs.
The main appeal of the Kirtas solution is its speed and dependability to handle books more gently than the human hand. The APT system is unique in that the binding does not have to be removed or forced open at 180 degrees under glass for digitizing. Instead, special page-turning technology gently advances each page with the SureTurn™ robotic arm and safely holds the book in a continuous, height-adjusting 110° SmartCradle™.
“Previously, we had a number of flatbed scanners and a copy stand, which were able to scan some of our materials for digitizing,” said Digital Strategies Librarian, Nick Ruest. “The Kirtas scanner has a process so that we can scan books more quickly.”
The Library plans to digitize much of its rare book collection (pre-1800 publications) as well as selections from the Bertrand Russell Library and the Library’s general collection. The ultimate purpose is to make the collections more accessible to McMaster students and faculty and to outside users,through both online and print-on-demand services.