Friday, March 01, 2013


At the FT, Clive Cookson on the digitization of a massive genetics archive by the Wellcome Library (FT site registration required):
Considering the variety in size and shape of the papers in the archive – some stuck together with corroded clips and staples – digitisation proceeds surprisingly fast. “I’ve done a little over 300 pages in just over three hours today,” says Thomas Cox when I pay a late morning visit to the library’s digitising studio. “Yesterday I did some 700 pages.”

Cox lays each sheet of paper on a self-levelling pneumatic cradle, covered with black flocking material, which is then pushed gently up against a glass plate. Images are captured using a Canon 5D MkIII digital camera with a 100mm macro lens, varying the height between 20cm to a maximum height 150cm above the glass, and connected to an Apple computer. “We’re picking up momentum,” Chaplin says. “We’ll have done 1.5m images by the end of this [Codebreakers] project and 4m in all.”

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