Building RIPM's Digital Archive

Building RIPM's Digital Archive


A professional scanning laboratory for print and microform has been set up at the RIPM International Center. All scanning is done to preservation standards. To date over 750,000 pages have been scanned.

RIPM possesses two print capture systems consisting of (i) top of the line Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras, each with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L zoom lens—which capture images at a true 400 dpi grayscale or optional color; (ii) a specially-designed and RIPM-built book cradle with an operator-controlled motorized glass platen; and (iii) cool fluorescent lighting. These systems permit RIPM to photograph original materials with a mind to conservation by strictly limiting the stress placed on the volume by the scanning process. Each volume is opened to only 120° and the glass platen sits lightly on top of the page to minimize book fold or gutter shadow.

A Widetek High Speed A3 is used for flatbed scanning of reprints and volumes which do not require the conservation methods used above. Microfilms are scanned on a Wicks and Wilson RS 200 Rollfilm scanner. Each film is scanned according to the same preservation standards and at a speed which is comfortable for the operator to monitor any shifts in film or scan quality.

Images are stored a RAID array. Attached to RIPM’s gigabit intranet, the array holds 16 hard drives for a usable storage capacity of approximately 30 terabytes. Data is backed up onto LTO-5 Ultrium tapes, each with a raw storage capacity of 1.6 terabytes. Copies of the RIPM images and associated data are kept in four geographically-diverse locations (see above).

Three workstations are used for image processing. RIPM uses Kirtas’s Book Scan Editor for batch processing images, including deskewing and cropping raw scanned images. Zoning, using a customized version of Image Access / Digital Library Systems Group’s Opus Software, is also done on these workstations. As each periodical is zoned, zones are manually reviewed and the resulting XML-structured data is audited for completeness. Finally, derivative images are created for web delivery using Opus. These images, along with associated linking metadata, are uploaded to RIPM’s web servers at Towson University’s Information Systems Solutions data center.