We’ve got a special treat for the blog today! An advance peek at new digitizations:

Vintage Vancouver circa.1925-1933

This hand tinted shot of Vancouver taken between 1925 and 1933 is from some of the Uno Langmann Collection items awaiting digitization. It is a panorama taken from the Capitol Hill area over the Burrard Inlet showing much of Vancouver proper as well as North Vancouver.

From the photo you can see a clear view of the Lions mountains. In the lower righthand side you can see what is today known as the Second Narrows train crossing bridge. It is one of the few things that date the photo. The original bridge was constructed in 1925 mainly for train travel, and was the first to connect Vancouver to the North Shore. After being hit a number of times by ships passing through  it was bought in 1933 be the government, and had a lift section added- which is not seen here.

Here’s a video of the image being scanned. Curious? Learn more about our scanners!

 

 

On the left side of the photo you can see the Giant Dipper, a rollercoaster built in 1925, in what is now the PNE, but was then known as the Vancouver Exhibition. It  was demolished in 1948 to make room for an expanding Hastings Racecourse track.

There is also something missing from this photo. The Lions Gate Bridge isn’t hidden behind the clouds, it wasn’t built until 1938.

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This photo has been edited to make the image easier to see – It is extremely faint in the original scan.

Other cool things to note about this image – it was printed on the back of “Empress Jam” cardboard. Empress Manufacturing Co., Ltd.,  imported coffees and made local jams and jellies and one of the earliest and most successful of the local food supply companies.

This week we are going give you a sneak preview of one of the coolest new machines coming soon to the Digital Initiatives, and even better a new collection we are partnering with Woodward Library!

The machine sounds about as futuristic as it gets—a 3D imager. But not to worry, it is far from HAL territory.

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The imager is made up of small tent, turntable, some light boxes, an image program, a Canon EOS camera.

Currently the 3D imager is being used to digitize the Memorial Artifact Collection at Woodward. The collections of 450 medical artifacts are from mainly the 19th and 20th centuries (though there are a few from as early as the the 18th century and as last as the 21st century). People from the British Columbia area, including retiring doctors and antiques collectors, donated the bulk of the collection. The items range from brass microscopes, to cough syrup bottles – with cough syrup still in them, to electroshock therapy machines

 

 

 

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Check out one of the first items to be digitized: a Whitehead mouth gag. It was once used to hold patient’s mouths open during mouth examinations. The camera snaps each item as it rotates on the table 16 times.

It allows for cool gif’s like this! [here’s hoping this works on wordpress]

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Having a bit of fun! We hope you are too!

 

It’s time again for another “Exploring Open Collections” installment! This week we’re taking a look at one of our biggest collections (and one that’s featured) B.C. Historical Books. Previous to the Open Collections launch B.C. Historical Books was known as B.C. Bibliography and was a standalone site associated with Digital Initiatives – now it’s been incorporated into Open Collections for even more amazing search capabilities!

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Click on me to see more!

Combining the tools of a bibliography (published work description) with the tools of a digital library, the we are offering a searchable database of the Bibliography of BC by digitizing as many works from this traditional print bibliography (and some additional materials) on the area.

If that’s a bit of a mouthful for you, think of it as an astonishing assembly of resources on British Columbia.

The collection is made up of everything, from the obvious (almanacs, guide books, government reports) to the surprising (albums, printings, diaries) to the downright bizarre (poems, scores!). But that’s not the most amazing part… keep reading to find out the best-kept secret of B.C. Historical Books!

To get into the collection there’s a lot of fun ways to explore including looking at the cornerstone works. All of which are clickable on the collections’ main page.

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The 1,158 items began with three cornerstone works: Volume I-Laying the Foundations 1849-1899 Volume II-Navigations, Traffiques & Discoveries 1774-1848. Volume III-Years of Growth 1900-1950.

Or you can click through a visual representation of the collection!

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Browse through the item covers by genre on the interactive nifty timeline.

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Use it too see maps or or books of poetry

Plenty to see remains even if you stick straight to the books. Take the Klondyke souvenir a photograph book published in 1901. It has amazing high quality scans for you zoom in, check out, and even download if the fancy should strike you.

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But that’s not the best-kept secret about B.C. Books, not by a long shot.

The best secret is that you can search the text entire collection- all 1,158+ items- in the main search bar. Any text you see has been input into the system and can be accessed at a moments’ notice. If that doesn’t define the information age, I don’t know what does.

What is your favorite thing in B.C. books? Let us know in the comments!

We’re written about a few of our digitization techniques from the context scanner to flatbed scanning, but now it’s time to get into the hard stuff- that’s right I’m talking about the fancy book scanners.


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These book scanners, known as ATIZ (pronounced A-tease) workstations, are used from imaging rare books –ones we can’t chop into pieces.

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Like these beautiful books from the Langmann collection!

 

The workstations are made of a frame with two Canon 5D Mark II cameras. There is also a book cradle to support the books.

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This is the right hand side camera

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The book cradle is covered in green paper to make it easier to edit out of the picture

 

After turning on the ATIZ machine, the lights, and the computer software program we use to take the pictures called VMWare Fusion, we turn on the cameras. To focus the cameras we use an attachment that projects a laser onto the page of the cradle for a short time. The cameras are able to lock in on the laser, using it to focus correctly on the page.

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Can you see the faint line here?

The book to be scanned is placed in the book cradle. A glass plate is lowered on top of the pages to smooth and flatten them. The plate is attached to a spring to adjust to the book height.

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Then the cameras, remember there is one for each page(!) must be selected and adjusted to take the images in the proper order. It’s easy to check the image is perfect on the Live View on the attached computer.

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A red laser makes it easy to center the book on a center gridline.There is a keypad the scanner can use to get the cameras to shoot in sequential order, shoot the right hand or the left hand page. For each page the glass plate is lifted, the page is turned, and the process is repeated!

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At DI we’ve scanned around 10,000 books over the past 5 years this way!

Digitization is no joke, it’s IMG_20151014_162447 ! Badum tish!

 

How do you image the REALLY big items? Or the items that won’t fit in a normal scanner?

The largest (and most exciting!) image-processing machine we have here at DI is definitely the TTI.

The TTI is used to scan large, fragile, or otherwise oddly shaped items. You may have caught glimpses of it here.

To show you how it works we are scanning a few delicate maps from the Chung Collection. The maps are foldouts from a book by Sir George Simpson that are still attached, so we couldn’t use THIS machine.

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Pretty cool old book!

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Who else thinks this would look just FANTASTIC in their personal library?

To start, we boot up Capture Flow. Capture Flow is an image-processing program with settings for the exposure time and color adjustment. We also turn on the camera back (Sinarback Evolution 86 H with a Sinaron Digital HR 5.6/90 CMV lens) pointed at the TTI flatbed, and two banks of LED lights that evenly illuminate any item being imaged.

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Very bright!

Laying the map on the large TTI bed (40” by 60”) the color corrector, a QPcard 101, and a Better Light focus card are used. They help color correct the image in the editing phase and focus the image properly, respectively,  so the picture comes out as true to life as possible.

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The map was so thin we added paper underneath- otherwise you’d see right through it!

Test images are taken. They are viewed on the attached screen to check everything is working properly. The color sometimes looks off in the image, but we will correct that later.

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This extra screen is mounted near the TTI to help the scanner see what the picture will look like.

Then the real fun begins! To flatten the map we turn on a vacuum built in to the flatbed of the TTI. It will draw the scanned item gently flat. A clean glass plate is set over the map to smooth it out even more.

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Laura, a digital librarian here at DI, doing all the heavy lifting

The camera’s CCD sensor’s pixel matrix is shifted three times laterally or vertically by exactly one pixel width from one exposure to the next, so that every image point is covered by every primary color (red, blue, 2x green).. Captureflow receives the images as a single unit for a more color-realistic and detailed image.

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Don’t move anything while the camera is snapping or your image could end up like this!

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This is a composite of those four pictures stitched together. Pretty nifty.

This particular map is too big to image all at once. The map gets flipped and moved to image additional sections.

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Laura and the TTI machine hard at work

Later the images are stitched together in the post processing step, using Adobe Photoshop. The final product you end up with is a beauty that looks like this:

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A lovely world map coming soon to the digital archive near you!

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