THE GIA LIBRARY’S DIGITIZATION PROJECT: PROVIDING ACCESS IN A DIGITAL WORLD
In December 2014, the library purchased the BC100 Book Capture system by Digital Transitions. This equipment includes two Phase One digital camera backs with Schneider Kreuznach lenses, which photograph the two pages of an open book simultaneously. Images are captured at a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch, with higher resolutions used for books that are small, have highly detailed color images, or have small or faded text.
Capture One imaging software is used to generate a TIFF image for each page. These TIFF files will be saved indefinitely as preservation masters, from which derivative files can be created and modified for future use. Then docWorks post-processing software by Content Conversion Specialists is used to perform optical character recognition (OCR) and generate a searchable PDF and ePub output for each book. The OCR supports a variety of languages including those using European and Cyrillic alphabets, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters.
A number of GIA’s digital books are now available online to view and download for free through Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/@gia_library) with new books being uploaded every few days. Available books include out-of-copyright titles dating from 1496 to the 1920s. One of the oldest digitized books, Libellus de Lapidibus Preciosis (Book of Precious Stones) by Marbode, Bishop of Rennes, printed in 1511, was originally written in the 11th century and discusses properties of 60 gems. Another title, René Just Haüy’s influential Traité de Minéralogie (Treatise of Mineralogy) published in 1801, describes the laws governing crystal structure and was the first rational system for identifying and classifying minerals. The digitization project is ongoing with plans to ultimately post hundreds of volumes related to gems and minerals.