Book Scanner


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From May 2016 to March 2017, the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation designed and developed a book scanner for the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography (IHAE) in Makhachkala (Dagestan, Russian Federation), thanks to the support of the Peri Foundation.

Factum Foundation´s Book Scanner

The Book Scanner employs two Canon 5DSR 50 Mpx allowing the user to digitise books up to a resolution of 850ppi. The images generated can be stored on a database and processed with both freely available and custom-made software. Operating the scanner is simple: once the book has been positioned on the adaptable book-tray, the operator manually brings the photographic system into contact with the book. Methacrylate plates gently flatten the pages of the book, allowing maximum definition and focus on the totality of the page. The two cameras are activated by pressing the shutter button and the images are automatically stored, catalogued and processed on the computer.

Click on the image for a video demonstration on the Book Scanner

The design

The biggest consideration in conceiving the system was quality and adaptability to manuscripts in various conditions andof different sizes.

Description of the parts that form the Book Scanner designed by engineers from Factum Foundation in collaboration with CREVI Ingenieros Ltd

Final design

Adaptable book-tray
Allows the user to adjust the spine width and opening angle i.e. adaptable to books of different sizes and states of conservation. The maximum spine width is 10 cm and the angle can be adjusted between 80º and 100º. The book tray is lined to protect the binding of the manuscript.

Photographic system
The Book Scanner is fitted with two Canon 5DSR with Sigma Art 50mm lenses. The two cameras are released at the same time by pushing one button. Two methacrylate plates keep the pages of the flat and at a fixed distance from the lenses. The images download onto the computer by means of USB 3.0 cables. The LED lighting system can be regulated on the vertical axis. In order to reduce shine, the light is cross-polarised by means of polarising filters on the lights and on the camera lenses.

Shield and vertical guides
A mobile system is used to lift and lower the photographic system, so that the operator can turn the pages of the book. It is counterweighted with springs and comprises a blocking system to control positioning with little effort. The shield is articulated in order that the methacrylate plate can be adjusted to the angle at which the book can lie open (80º, 90º and 100º).

Fabric cover Structure with tensile arcs and black fabric. Darkens, protecting the imaging process from light contamination and possible reflections.

Computer with book scanner application
The application allows the user to manage all digitisation values and the flow of the image capture. From the application, the user can:

  • Configure camera values for digitisation
  • Create and configure projects, storing them in a database
  • Manage and export digitised images

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