It seems like just yesterday I began examining the Radial Ephemera and Underground Publications collection, and just a week ago I felt lost in the maze of Love Library… suddenly, it’s seven weeks (!) later, and I feel (almost) like a bona fide Aztec.
Over the past two months, the collection has been physically reprocessed and shuffled between SCUA and Digital Projects as patrons have requested materials and scanning beds have become available. I have had the pleasure of working in two different environments and becoming acquainted with wonderful students and staff in both settings.
The digitization process has been slow, even monotonous at points, yet highly rewarding. I have been able to examine nearly every single item, number files according to a schema I helped devise, experiment with scanning settings and Photoshop tricks, and watch dozens of TED talks during the long shifts.
Recently, I have begun assembling the TIFF files into PDF’s and utilizing optimal character recognition (OCR) to make the images full text searchable. This has been a struggle, as Adobe Acrobat attempts to straighten text; yet with the often crooked documents in the collection, this can skew documents and potentially eliminate text and images. However it is a necessary part of the digitization process that will ultimately ensure the collection is usable.
This week will be my last full week of scanning documents and assembling TIFF’s. Although the collection is just about half digitized, there are other elements of this project that require attention before my internship ends in five short weeks, such as uploading the PDFs to SDSU’s database and assigning appropriate metadata.
I am eager to learn more about the digitization process firsthand, but there is something so comforting about the whir of the scanner in the morning.