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Now that's "SMART"

Digital Collections announces arrival of new scanner that is revolutionizing access to rare and fragile materials

“We're excited to announce the arrival of our new state-of-the-art, V-shaped book scanner from Qidenus Technologies of Austria,” said Kate Boyd, Digital Collections Librarian. “The SMART Series Book Scanner will revolutionize how we digitize rare and delicate materials: it will let us scan more fragile materials than we could before, and we'll be able to move through larger collections faster. There are two Canon cameras located in the top of the machine, letting it scan each open page of a book at once, and the cameras themselves are the latest in photographic technology.”

The Qidenus is housed and managed in Digital Collections, ready for large- or small-scale bound material scanning projects. It will be used for Libraries’ digital projects, as well as collaborative projects with the Center for Digital Humanities and the S.C. Digital Library.

The first Libraries project will be the Polychronicon, a very rare, very large volume housed in the Irvin Department. Affectionately referred to as "The Higden," the tome was written in the 14th century by English chronicler and Benedictine monk Ranulf Higden.

"The Qidenus radically increases what we can do in-house," said Michael Weisenburg, Instruction Library in the Irvin Department. "The machine cradles the book while it scans. There is no need to push the book's binding or spine down, so there's no risk of pushing the spine further than it should go, and there's less handling of the material. We would not be able to digitize The Higden using a conventional scanner.”

The Qidenus will further the Libraries' dedication to digitizing its collections and making them accessible online. Elizabeth Sudduth, Director of the Libraries’ Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, is the principal investigator on “SMART Overhead Book Scanner,” an ASPIRE IIII grant awarded by the USC Office of the Vice President for Research that allowed the Libraries to purchase the equipment.