TSLA’s New Book Scanner

Posted by on Jul 22, 2012 in Technology | 1 comment

The Tennessee State Library & Archives continues to help make our research experience hassle-free.  I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I visited to discover that they now have a digital book scanner – oh my! Last year, TSLA added digital microfilm scanning machines (they currently have 4 of them) and since then I have used those several times to make digital scans of microfilm; particularly, historical newspapers.  Today, I took the book scanner for a test drive.  

The scanner itself is from ST Imaging and is their Zeta Book Scanner. The scanner is located in the Reading Room at TSLA that holds their Reference collection (the room is off to the left when you enter the main floor of TSLA).  It is nestled between their patron computers and the photocopying machines.  They have only had the scanner for about a week.  

A brief synopsis:

  • the book tray is adjustable – either side can move up or down so that the book you are scanning is accommodated to best take care of the book
  • it is fast! a page scans in about 10 seconds
  • it is easy to use; there are limited instructions available, but the panel that you see on the right side of the picture is fairly intuitive to navigate. I will say though that if you’ve not used an iOS device (iPad or iPhone), it may be a little unfamiliar to you for the user interface on it is very similar 
  • the scanning SAVES AS YOU GO! There is a “Save” button, but I neglected to hit it once while using it and almost passed out thinking i’d lost the 100 pages I’d just scanned of court minute book transcriptions from the Works Project Administration. Fortunately, it had saved it already :-)
  • there are two USB ports that you can put your USB device (or, in my case, external hard drive) into. 
  • there is a 30-minute use limit. I was the only one using it today so stretched that a bit….
Here is a close-up of the navigation panel 

Some notes about the display panel:

  • After each scan, your pages show up on the display for you.  The red lines show the edges of the scan and can be adjusted if needed.  I found that I didn’t have to do this. 
  • In the top right corner, the amount of space remaining on the external device is shown to you – this way, you’ll know if you are running out of room
  • individual pages can be deleted if you don’ t like how the scan turned out
  • it is easy to do multi-page scans into one PDF document
  • scans can also be saved as .jpg files (and, I think there were other format types, but I don’t remember what they were)
  • you have the ability to name each scan job so you can easily create distinguishable files
  • scans are saved in a folder called “Zeta” that is created by the scanner. Be sure to look for it once you’re ready to work with your files
And here is an example of what the scanner produces

I was quite pleased.  Overall, it was a highly pleasant experience and another kudos to TSLA for adding this for patron use!  This will come in handy for capturing key pages from the vast collection TSLA holds, as well as for one of my favorite activities – securing book indexes to help me in prepping for TSLA visits.  What a great addition TSLA!
I am secretly hoping TSLA has another one of these for staff use and may be planning to do more digitization of items in public domain (for example — WPA records). I’ll keep my fingers crossed. :-)   And, I am hoping that they can use it to fulfill research requests that people may have (e.g. book lookups, etc.).  Fortunately for me, I am going to get a chance to go back later this week and use it again! 

One Comment

  1. Awesome! I had read about the early development of these machines. It is good to see one commercially available.

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