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Digitization Program | Scanning Labs | How to start a digital project

Digitization Program

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) have an ongoing program to produce and acquire digital library collections. The DPG manages and operates several digitization labs staffed by highly skilled professional imaging specialists and student assistants. The labs are capable of converting a wide variety of traditional library materials to digital formats, including printed books, journals, fine art, photographs, maps, manuscripts, and analog audio media.

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Scanning labs

A variety of facilities are available at the Stanford Libraries for scanning physical objects.

Robotic Book-Scanning Lab

The Digitizing Line is an automated (robotic) book scanner, intended to produce high quality digital images of bound materials at throughput rates as high as 1160 pages per hour. Equipped with an I2S digital camera, the DL can scan bound materials of a variety of sizes, and produce B&W, grayscale and color TIFF images at up to 600 dpi. The DL is supported by a hardware and software architecture that allows for the manual creation and automated capture of descriptive, administrative and technical metadata, and can produce derivatives for web access such as JPEG, PDF Image-only, plain text, and PDF Image+Searchable Text.

Available for use by: Library Staff Only
Location: Green Library East
For more information, visit the lab website.

Preservation Digital Imaging Facility

The Digital Production Group manages a sophisticated scanning lab for the imaging of special collections materials in Stanford's holdings, such as rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, fine art and photographs. Equipped with a PhaseOne FX scanning back, DPG staff create preservation master files, which conform to or exceed the California Digital Library Digital Image Format Standards. Staff apply rigorous quality assurance standards to all images to ensure that scans produce true, color faithful reproductions of the original object.

Available for use by: Library Staff Only
Location: Green Library West

Multi-Purpose Scanning Facility

The Digital Production Group manages a multi-purpose scanning facility capable of scanning a wide variety of library materials. Equipped with a Digibook 6002 overhead scanner, and a number of different flatbed and sheet-feed scanners, this lab is designed to handle books, unbound manuscripts, modern documents, photographs, maps and many other paper two-dimensional objects. This lab is used for digitization projects involving highly heterogeneous collections.

Available for use by: Library Staff Only
Location: Green Library West

Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections Scanning Facility

The Branner Earth Sciences Library maintains a large format feed-through scanner that is capable of scanning images at up to 40 inches wide and of any length in black and white, gray scale, or color at resolutions between 100 and 600 dpi. The scanner is attached to a desktop workstation with both a CD-R and ZIP drive. The scanner is free to use for academic purposes only by Stanford's faculty/staff/students. An appointment must be made with either Julie Sweetkind-Singer or Jane Ingalls each time the scanner is to be used. Training will be provided. The patron must be able to take the image(s) away with them on a ZIP disk, CD-ROM, or by using FTP to send the file to their own computer.

Available for use by: All Students, Faculty and Staff by Appointment
Location: Mezzanine level, Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections
For more information, contact Julie Sweetkind-Singer or Jane Ingalls.

Alternative Format Production Facility
Office of Accessible Education, Disability Resource Center

The Alternative Format Production Facility, part of the Office of Accessible Education, provides materials in alternative formats for students with disabilities. Eligible students who have registered with the Student Disability Resource Center, another unit of the OAE, may request conversion of course materials into an accessible format commensurate with their needs. Materials ranging from textbooks to course readers to exams to handouts are scanned, processed, and delivered as either electronic text, Braille hardcopy, or as audio cassettes, depending on the needs and qualifications of the student.

Available for use by: Eligible Students
Location: 563 Salvatierra Walk
For more information, contact Allan Chen.

Multimedia Studio, Academic Computing

The Multimedia Studio, located on the second floor of Meyer Library, is a multimedia production lab for Stanford students, staff members, and library patrons. In the Studio, you will find a variety of computer hardware and software suited for developing almost every type of multimedia project. Within the Studio area, six scanning workstations are provided to enable patrons to perform scanning operations. For assistance in using the equipment, Academic Computing's Multimedia Studio Consultants offer one-on-one consultations. The individual consultations allow consultants to tailor sessions on scanning, PowerPoint, Photoshop, iMovie, and Web design to the specific needs, interests and technical levels of patrons. Multimedia Studio Consultants hours are posted on the web site. Faculty and teaching assistants, who are working on academic projects requiring multimedia and scanning, can receive direct assistance from the Academic Technology Lab (ATL) in Meyer, first floor.

Available for use by: All Students, Faculty and Staff
Location: Meyer Library
For more information, contact Allan Chen or visit the Multimedia Studio's site.

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How to start a digital project


Selectors and Librarians

Fill out Pre-proposal

In order to receive support from the Digital Production Group of DLSS on your digital project, please provide a brief description using this project pre-proposal form. Pre-proposals will be reviewed by the appropriate stakeholders for conceptual approval and to provide advice on next steps and mechanisms for providing access to users. Submit the pre-proposal via email to

Develop work plan

Once a project is approved, the Digital Production Group will assign a project manager. Project managers will develop a detailed project plan, including a digitization specification, proposed project workflow, a plan for provision of access, and details of any preservation, metadata and intellectual property considerations. The project plan will include a schedule with detailed milestones, and a project budget. The development of a project plan is iterative, and requires involvement of the appropriate librarian, as well as several other library staff. SUL/AIR has a number of digitization labs available to support digital projects. In some cases, projects may require use of an outside vendor to perform digitization service. This may involve development of a Request for Proposal (RFP). Digital Production Group staff can help manage the process of selecting a vendor, and managing the ongoing vendor relationship.

Digitize Collection

Whether conducted in-house or outsourced to a vendor, most digital projects involve several steps. These include (1) selection of content to be digitized, (2) digitization of archival masters for preservation, (3) quality control, (4) creation of derivatives for online access, (5) capture of descriptive, administrative and technical metadata. In many cases, standards exist to ensure long-term preservation and make provision of access easier.

Ingest and store in repository

DLSS is developing a digital repository to store digital collections and associated metadata for long-term preservation. The digital repository will also provide tools so users can access online collections. DLSS is developing tools to automate ingestion of your digital collections into the repository. During the development stages, project managers will work with the Repository Manager to ensure that collections are properly stored.

Provide access to users via the SUL web

Once your collection is digitized there are a variety of ways in which the content can be made available to end-users from within and outside the Stanford community. If a record exists in SUL's online catalog, the digital files can be linked directly to that record, so when a patron conducts a search in Socrates, they will find the digital files. Collections can be made available for browsing via collection web pages, which can be designed in house, or in consultation with a web design firm. For printed materials, full-text searchable access can be provided via a collection website, similar to those found at Online access to still images can be provided using Luna Insight. Enhanced access to structured texts (such as SGML and XML) can be provided using tools developed by the Humanities Digital Information Service.

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Last modified: January 17, 2006

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