Things to Bear in Mind When Selecting a Book Scanner

Zeutschel White Paper Offers Technical Considerations for Book Scanner Purchasers

Volker Jansen, technical director for Zeutschel GmbH

From choosing the right book scanning method to choosing the right book scanner, The Crowley Company’s blog posts have covered multiple options for bound media capture. Thanks to a recent white paper written by Zeutschel GmbH technical director, Volker Jansen, prospects can round out their purchasing knowledge with some technical points to bear in mind.

Jansen’s full white paper, “Things to Bear in Mind When Selecting a Book Scanner,” is an insightful look at important specifications to consider when in the book scanner market. Here are some key takeaways from the paper:

  • Use your senses on sensors: Resolution is a key aspect of any capture system. Jansen states, “Resolution is the ability of a system to reproduce finer or coarser structures. The higher the resolution, the finer details or structures can be transferred from the original into the digital reproduction.”

There is much more to resolution than meets the spec sheet and Jansen goes into good detail on the differences between area and line sensors. When looking for a scanning system, it is important to know the actual resolution it can produce and what type of sensor it uses to ensure the scanner can produce your desired image quality.

  • Color accuracy and other imaging standards have become a rising need for book scanner owners in the archival and cultural heritage preservation industries.

    Trust what you can measure: Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but quality is in the eye of the target. While an image may “look good” to the naked eye, a technical measurement is necessary to give a fact-based judgement on color reproduction.

Jansen remarks, “Everything about color, color definition and human color view is defined by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE). They started their work as early as 1913. The International Color Consortium (ICC), founded in 1993, used CIE’s methods to define color management in the field of digital imaging as we use it today. Their methods are in line with the definitions CIE made, so practically it is the transfer of the human color view into the digital world.”

If you’re capturing archive collections where accuracy is critical, make sure the book scanner or scan system that you choose comes with an ICC profile and uses capture software that supports the specifications to measure color accuracy to the original.

The Crowley team has noticed that many in today’s book scanner market are asking about other types of quality measurement. Several Zeutschel scanners are capable of reaching ISO 19264-1 standards and meeting FADGI and Metamorfoze technical guidelines. If meeting these standards or guidelines are an important piece of your digitization program, work with your vendor to find the scanner that can consistently achieve results.

  • It’s all about the lighting: As any imaging specialist, photographer or avid selfie-taker will confirm, lighting can make or break an image. Since light can degrade materials, capture systems must be sure to provide homogeneous lighting across the material without harming the media while also illuminating the image well enough to cancel out ambient lighting (a little more complicated in digital preservation than on Instagram).

One of the benefits of line scanners is their use of LED lighting systems. These limit degradation by illuminating across the scan bed only when capturing an image. This also eliminates the effects of ambient light in the room. Overhead camera systems rarely include on-system lighting although the Zeutschel manufactured ScanStudio is an exception to that rule. The ScanStudio also uses LEDs and provides the same benefits of continuous, safe lighting.

  • When in doubt, ask the expert: Comparing book scanner models and capture methods can be overwhelming. The technical and sales teams at The Crowley Company and Zeutschel work closely together to understand the latest technological advancements, hardware offerings and are on-hand to support you in finding the best system for your collections and capture needs.

Another thing to bear in mind: Crowley has access to way more than just book scanners. Crowley’s wide variety of manufactured and distributed digitization products for microfilm, microfiche, aperture cards, loose documents and oversize media can support your institution with any and all still media scanning systems. Want to see the scanners in action? Click to request a virtual scanner demonstration or scan samples.

Need Image quality but not a scanner? When time is of the essence or the budget is a challenge, consider the use of scanning services. Available from our Frederick, MD bureau or on-site at your facility using a variety of still media scanners. Outsourcing conversion services is an ideal option for collections of all sizes, eliminating hardware and maintenance investments, software costs, manpower, operator learning curves and more.

Let’s Talk Book Scanners!

As a North American Distributor of Zeutschel scanners for over twenty years, The Crowley Company is well acquainted with the needs of book scanner users and has a range of options for patron, back-office and archives/cultural heritage use. Give Crowley a call at (240) 2150224 to discuss your next project or collection digitization needs.

Hannah Clawson, Crowley's former Communications Coordinator, cultivated a profound passion for historic preservation and held a deep appreciation for the company's clients and their invaluable contributions. You may still likely find her exploring local coffee shops, writing about her favorite bands, or enjoying a local rock show.


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