Digitization – Day 4

July 15, 2014 1:45-4:45pm

If you remember from my “Digitization – Day 1” post Angie and I were tasked with shooting several items for Lynda (archive librarian) to use with the 60 middle school students that are coming to visit the library this month. Today was the day that we were able to shoot all of those documents. Angie allowed me to take all of the pictures myself. She guided me through the process, explaining different features and how to manipulate the light or exposure to get the best shot possible. We had several shots that came out with slightly blurry edges; in fact, in some cases the blurriness was almost unnoticeable, but as these are photographs being taken of historical documents, they have to be as close to perfect as one can achieve while also staying true to the document. Shooting historical documents definitely takes a creative and patient eye. For instance, we had to shoot a reproduced painting in an old book. This painting wasn’t simply on a flat page, but was hidden underneath a drawing and folded in half. It was a really hard shot to get right because of all the constraints. Depth of field was our biggest obstacle, but thanks to Angie’s creative mind we were able to get the shot by placing several small glass plates underneath the painting itself, as well as under several different areas on various pages.

I went into my first day in digitization assuming that it was going to be a simple point and click process, but it’s definitely more fine tuned than that. It’s one of the many different areas of a library that I believe people overlook or brush off as unneeded and/or easy. One of the most important things that my internship has taught me is that libraries are an interesting mixture of interests and skills; it’s these interests and skills that make libraries great. Libraries don’t consist of a single librarian who magically does it all, but a network of staff who are trained in various disciplines and, from what I have seen, are extremely passionate about what they do.

Starting Thursday, July 17 I will be working in cataloging with Leigh. See you then…

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