Sunday, June 10, 2007

Digitization vendors at the SLA conference, part 3

As I have said before, there were several digitization vendors who exhibited at the SLA Annual Conference this year. This demonstrated that the vendors see special librarians -- those focused on special topics/collections -- as an important market. I've already blogged about some of the vendors, so let me talk about the rest.
  • Google -- Okay, Google wasn't there as a digitization vendor, but given their impact on the industry, it is important to note that they were present. They did have handouts about Google Book Search, one of which talked about the impact on libraries and librarians.
    • "We see our role as complementary to libraries and librarians. Our aim is to help people search and discover all the world's books." Then they talk about helping people find both digitized and non-digitized books.
    • What's in it for Google? "...we hope to provide a better, more comprehensive and useful experience for Google users around the world."
  • Backstage Library Works -- I talked to the booth staff about how the work with organizations and found that they will come on-site if necessary and will either bring all the staff with them that they need or high (and train) some of the operators locally. So they are very flexible in how they will work with a customer. We also talked about the fact that they are doing more projects outside of the U.S. (The places I remember hearing were all in Europe.)
  • S-T Imaging and eImageData both exhibited microform scanners that can be used by patrons (not just by professional staff). There are several difference between how the machine operates with one of the noticeable ones being that the ST200 (by S-T Imaging) does not place microfilm between glass, while the ScanPro 1000 does (eImageData). S-T Imaging reports that by eliminating the glass, it has eliminated the thing that often scratches microfilm. It would be nice to see a side-by-side comparison of the two machines (with software) in order to really see the differences.
  • Indus USA has their 5002C which is an overhead book scanner. Their Walk-up Kiosk System has "touch screen technology for easy use by library patrons who intend to scan or copy pages from bound books or periodicals. It allows patrons to save scanned images to a network drive, USB flash drive, print to a printer or send via e-mail, all with the software used with the touch screen monitor." (From their literature) As I saw, these features are being built into several systems geared towards end-users/patrons.
  • Digital Library Systems Group / Image Access -- They had two scanners in their booth! One was the Knowledge Image Center (KIC) for use by patrons. (This scanner looked very similar to the one by Indus USA.) The other machine they had was the Bookeye 2 which is meant to support interlibrary loan in a library. They did not have in their booth the Bookeye 3, which is a more high-end scanner for digitization projects. Like the others, it is also an overhead scanner, but had different features that would make it more appropriate for a digitization project.
  • nextScan -- I must admit that I stopped by the nextScan booth at the end of the day, when everyone was leaving the exhibit hall. So I picked up their literature, but didn't talk to anyone. nextScan provides equipment for fiche and film scanning. Their products are all production machines and are not meant for end-users. For example, the flexScan can scan rollfilm up to 240 pages per minute or microfiche up to 125 images per minute.
    • Long established libraries often have many microforms, so these production machines can be quite useful for those institutions that can copyright clear their microforms for digitization.
  • William S. Hein & Co. -- many people know W.S. Hein as a publisher, but they also do digitization. They provide consulting, production, hosting access/control and preservation services. Their production facility includes a Kirtas APT Bookscan 1200.
  • Northern Micrographics -- Northern Micrographics will digitize and process materials on your behalf. My notes tell me that nothing significant had occurred with this company since I saw them a year ago.
Next year, the SLA Annual Conference will be in Seattle, WA, June 15 - 18. Let's hope that even more digitization-related vendors attend that conference. (Let's also hope that they are indexed in the exhibit hall guide in a way that makes them easy to find!)

Related posts:
Addendum (06/11/2007): I forgot to mention that PTFS exhibited at the SLA conference. I see and talk to PFTS a couple times a year, so I did not stop by their booth. PTFS does digitization for organizations and also markets content management software (ArchivalWare) which often goes head-to-head against ContentDM when organizations are looking at CMS solutions.

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Anonymous said...

We have an ST200X and after reading the comments on film scratching I looked at our film (new since we go the ST unit), and saw quite a lot of scratches. So, I decided to look at the ST carefully. You are correct there is no glass, instead they have some plastic strips that pinch against the film on both ends (they are hidden under the little plastic door that covers the film). It looks like dirt and debris stick to the soft plastic strips which then operate like sandpaper on the film. I looked to see if there was any recommended cleaning interval but I didn’t find any. I have instructed my staff that they must clean these areas on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Scratching Film and physics.
I also have looked closely at scanners with heavy glass and thin plastic. It is true that it is impossible for two soft plastic surfaces that touch (ST200X and film) not to be slightly susceptible to scratching if dirt gets bewteen them, and that surface should be kept clean. But this is dwarfed by the damage glass, a much harder surface, can inflict. Think of how microfilm prints normally look. Scores of scratches and in addition, lots of dots of debris and fibers, right? Having glass on top and below the film creates static and attracts dust, dirt and debris that populates the glass and becomes part of the image captured. By having no glass above or below the viewed or scanned image area, these are eliminated, a much better design on two counts.

I watched an experienced power user of the ScanPro 1000 product in the State Library of Western Australia. He inadvertently missed a takeup roller on threading the machine (its complicated threading requirement makes this easy to do). The result was the film being scraped along the edge of the glass that was lifted by the film in its incorrect path as well as drug through glass fast forward, virtually ruining the roll. Peter Edwards, the manager of the area, stopped him as soon as possible, but said it was a common problem. SLWA since switched to the ST200X product.