Johns Hopkins To Digitize Collections with Kirtas Scanner

Just months after forming a new center to manage digital scholarship, Johns Hopkins University has chosen a system from Kirtas Technologies for digitization work in the school's Sheridan Libraries. The collections form the major research library resources for the university and include rare and unique volumes, many that are deteriorating.

The Baltimore-based university has chosen to use a Kirtas APT BookScan 2400, which provides what the vendor calls "gentle scanning of bound books." The system can capture images of 2,400 pages per hour, according to the company. The platform includes proprietary image processing software for performing optical character recognition to create searchable files in 170 languages.

Johns Hopkins will also be able to prepare its rare, out-of-copy collection for sale through Amazon.com. Kirtas was selected by the university because of the company’s commitment to digitization technology and engineering support, the vendor said in a statement.

“The university holds a place of historic relevance in terms of its commitment to research and scientific advancement, and we’re honored to play a role in helping to preserve that history,” said Kirtas CEO Lotfi Belkhir.

The campus has been involved in numerous digitization efforts already, including the capture of 130,000 sheets of music and cover art from the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection and development of a virtual collection of Medieval manuscripts.

The Digital Research and Curation Center was created in October 2007 to manage, preserve and provide access to digital scholarship generated by faculty and researchers at the university. That Center grew out of the former Digital Knowledge Center, established at the school in 1997. "The new center is a key element of the Libraries’ digital program, which is looking beyond merely preserving immense digital data sets," said director Sayeed Choudhury at the time of the Center's opening. "Our librarians and technology specialists are working collaboratively with faculty across a broad range of disciplines to use the data in innovative ways that were not possible in the print world.”

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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