23 April 2014

Do-it-yourself book scanner preserving Pittstown PA history one page at a time!

It’s amazing what one or two or a small group of people can do when a passion of theirs will benefit many.

A recent example of this that I read about, Book scanner preserves volumes of history (thetimes-tribune.com) caught my eye since it’s based on one person working with the local historical society and the city to use a “do-it-yourself” version of a scanning apparatus to digitize that cities history.

He opens whichever book he is working on that day to the proper page, places it in a cradle, and lowers a V-shaped plastic panel to keep the page in place. He pushes his foot against a black pedal, and two Canon digital cameras fire simultaneously, recording the yellowing, faded page in a digital image.

Digitization efforts are most often stymied by a lack of funds which can be compounded by a lack of personnel to carry out such.  In this case, a cost-effective process (this particular apparatus was built pro bono though it was based on a do-it-yourself idea), combined with a dedicated volunteer and a cooperating historical society and city government “are” preserving Pittston’s history. Over 30 books out of 150 have already been digitized.

Unfortunately, as we often hear about and learn, some of our history is disappearing even as I write this.

The left wall of City Hall's archive room is empty - Mr. Hines said water damage from a leaky ceiling once destroyed volumes of records, turning them to "black dust."

Might this be an option in your community?  Has your community participated in a similar effort?

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