I attended Emily Gore's presentation on the Purchase of Digitization Hardware at the 2007 Best Practices Exchange.
Factors Impacting Your Hardware Choice
Before you buy any hardware, Emily stressed the importance of knowing the following:
~ What formats/materials are you digitizing?
~ Is it a high-use collection? If so, how long can it be inaccessible to walk-in patrons while it's being digitized?
~ Do you have the necessary resources in-house to complete the digitization project or would it be better to outsource it?
Characteristics of a Good Flatbed Scanner
~ The scanner must be able to scan true optical dpi not interpolated
~ Good color depth
~ ICC color profiles allowing for true color scanning
~ Scanner is specifically designed for high production and not home use
~ The connection should be: firewire, usb2, scsi, or ethernet
~ The computer hooked up to the scanner should have lots of RAM and working hard drive space
~ The software packaged with the scanner should be easy to use
~ When you purchase a flatbed scanner, buy a QUALITY product
Example: Kodak IQSmart family of scanners
~ Used for large format or fragile materials
~ Typically capable of 600 true optical dpi, but can scan at a higher dpi with multiple CCDs
~ Some have the automatic page turning functionality
Zeutschel's overhead book scanners
~ Often used for video tours, 360 degree tours, or 3-dimensional objects
Either a Canon or a Nikon SLR camera.
~ A camera with a scanner CCD attached to it allowing for scanner quality images from a camera
~ The Scanback is often used in conjunction with a vacuum table which uses a vacuum rather than glass to press the item flat to the scanning table
BetterLight Digital Scanning Cameras
~ For flat and large format materials up to 54" wide
~ Slide document into sleeve, put it on a conveyor belt, and it rolls through the machine as it scans
~ This scanner has multiple CCDs for multiple scans which are then stitched together to generate one large image
~ Outsourcing can be expensive but still may be cheaper than the equipment and the staff time/money spent in-house on scanning
~ For institutions that can't risk sending their collections off-site, some vendors will scan in-house
~ If you're trying to build a Digitization Program, it is worthwhile to do scanning in-house so that you're building knowledge and skills among the staff
~ Depending on the project, a hybrid approach can be adopted. Some collections can be scanned in-house while others are outsourced.
Emily recommended reading the ANSI standards related to scanners to ensure that any scanner purchased meets ANSI requirements.