BETHLEHEM, Pa., October 19, 2016 – Backstage Library Works recently completed a pair of scanning projects for the Library of Congress. Over the course of 18 months, they digitized 808,000 archival documents and bound book images on-site at the Library, plus 236,500 transmissive images at Backstage's preservation facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Digitizing rare and fragile collections on location at libraries provides curators an alternative to the extra handling involved with shipping.
During the course of the on-site project, Backstage had four cameras and four technicians working at the Library. Additional materials were sent to Backstage's preservation facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for scanning. Library of Congress conservation specialists and Backstage's digitization team worked together to ensure that the archival documents and bound books were handled with the utmost care. As a result, fragile items were not compromised and the final images provide an accurate representation of the originals.
The Library and Backstage also worked together to determine the best approach for capturing the extensive collection of 35mm black-and-white negatives and color slides. With the Library's input and feedback, Backstage developed a workflow that was conducive to streamlining production while allowing for custom post-processing of each collection. Testing included scanning samples at several resolutions and applying a range of post-processing settings. The results of the 3600 PPI scans were remarkable and revealed the diversity of the collections.
Cooperation between the Library staff and Backstage contributed to an extraordinarily large volume of work being completed in a safe and timely manner.
Kelly Barrall, project manager for the digitization department at Backstage states:
"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the Library of Congress and appreciate that they were able to provide space for our cameras and crew.
"The library staff was very pleasant to work with and they provided great leadership for our team. This was particularly the case whenever we needed to address specific handling requirements."Our on-site digitization team, led by Theresa Kidd, provided the best possible care for the Library's materials. The team's technical expertise, commitment, and understanding of each collection was evident throughout."