Digitization & Preservation of Cultural Heritage Collections
With over 30 years of experience in complex large-scale projects and in digitizing cultural heritage collections, we can help you create accessible, reliable, high-quality electronic cultural content and preserve it in digital memory for today’s citizens and for generations to come. Our cultural heritage digitization and preservation solutions (custom-tailored to the special nature and diversity of your invaluable collections) are delivered through our ScanFactory division by highly qualified and security-cleared personnel with years of experience working with fragile, complex, and unconventional formats from historical, archival, and special collections.
Superior Equipment & Technology
We use only the highest quality scanners and equipment available on the market that is designed for safe and delicate handling of your old, rare, precious and fragile collections. Our preservation grade equipment comes with state-of-the-art features that enable us to provide you with top quality digital images in the format best suited for the desired end-use of your digitized collections. We maintain specialized workstations equipped with planetary mounted, top-of-the-line digital cameras and media cradles custom designed to handle all kinds of heritage materials, equipment for processing transmissive film formats, microfilm reels, oversized items, and 3D objects. We also have the capacity to set up new equipment to meet your specific needs. In addition, we use our own proprietary technology to control, streamline and automate all our scanning, digitization and conversion operations, from A to Z – ScanFactory Resource Planning (SRP). It was developed entirely in-house by our expert personnel. This highly sophisticated, one-of-a-kind technology offers complete traceability and provides full real-time reporting functionality.
The Customer Portal allows you to search for and consult the status of every item from your collection (be it a book, a painting, a film, a photo album, a manuscript, or any other item) processed by ScanFactory at any point in time. For example, you can track whether the item in question is being transported to our digital preservation facility, is being digitized, etc. The Portal also makes it possible to make requests for urgent processing, physical delivery or return of a particular item from your collection, and view full history of such requests. All information and metadata about every single item in your collection, including its exact physical location, are stored in the SRP database and can be retrieved on-demand.
Digital Conversion Process for Cultural Heritage
A set of clearly defined procedures governs every single step of the digital conversion process and is tailored to your requirements: Pick-up of your heritage materials, Transport & Intake at our facilities, Preparation, Scanning / Digitization, Indexing & Cataloguing, Quality Control, Metadata & Image Delivery. It is a clear and fully transparent step-by-step process that guarantees superior quality, complete traceability and full confidentiality. Key aspects of this process are described below:
Customized Approach Tailored to Your Collection
Your special collections deserve special treatment. Creating preservation-quality digital images from your unique and diverse collections is not a matter of guesswork. At iGuana, we do not believe in one-size-fits-all approach in general and especially when it comes to your precious collections. We understand very well the challenges and intricacies of converting old, rare, fragile and unique original items to digital format.
To provide you with a complete solution, we offer an unmatched combination of consultative project planning, digitization, and metadata. We collaborate with you to craft a project plan that meets your vision of the end product and the specific requirements of your materials, your policies, your timeframe and your budget. We work with you to match your heritage materials to the right equipment and processes. Every project involves a test phase during which we further refine the agreed-upon process in continuous consultation with you.
Secure Transportation & Storage
Before we transport your collection to our secure facility, our dedicated staff perform a full inventory using our SRP system and prepare it for safe transport. It is important to note that the moment your materials are inventoried (registered and barcoded), iGuana and your staff can trace the exact physical location of each item in your collection and its processing stage in real time via the SRP. Carefully packaged materials are then transported in sealed vehicles (uncluding, where necesssary, special vehicles for shipping of art and specialized freight). All transports are dedicated, meaning that no items other than materials from your collection are transported at any one time to guarantee full confidentiality and security. When your registered materials arrive at iGuana and the integrity of all seals is confirmed, we barcode-scan your items and assign them a unique location in our facility. For collections that simply cannot travel, or scenarios where a border or distance complicates shipping, we can bring our experienced technicians on-site to capture the images at your location.
The iGuana facility is designed with your special collections in mind. An environmentally controlled, secure storage area equipped with an access control system, and intrusion alarm system, fire detection & suppression system, and a 24/7 securty camera surveillance system ensures that your materials are safely kept in a proper environment while remaining easily accessible only to our authorized specialist staff.
Quality, Standards, Image Enhancement & Restoration
Quality is built into every stage of our process. Calibrating equipment prior to every capture session, viewing images at the capture stage, and reviewing files in post-processing for legibility, accuracy, and overall image quality, guarantees that our images will meet your specifications. Since we match your materials to the correct equipment during project consultation and planning process and place the requirements around the condition of materials in your collection, you can rest assured of both, the safety of your most valuable and fragile originals and of the quality of the digital images produced. In addition, the speed and manner in which we process materials in your collection is continuously adjusted to make absolutely sure that all items you entrust to us remain in the same condition as when they arrived to our facility.
Prior to each digital capture session, our experienced technicians perform calibration tests on all equipment. At your request, we will happily provide you with test scans from equipment used on your project as part of your digital file delivery. All our technicians are trained in the proper handling of archival materials and only the most experienced technicians are assigned to cultural heritage projects. Our staff comprises experts in photography, digital imaging technologies, archival materials, and IT workflows. They are also trained in and work in accordance with internationally recognized preservation standards and guidelines, such as FADGI, Metamorfoze, and CEST, and apply ISO 9001 Quality Management principles in all their work. Our technicians always carefully prepare your originals for scanning and digitization. For example by removing dust particles with special antistatic brushes on photographic originals such as (glass) negatives and slides or using wetgate transfer to get better results when scanning and restore old film that suffered from scratches, wearing powder- free gloves in order to protect the pages and print of rare and fragile books, etc.
During the capture process we may use special digitization techniques, depending on the type of materials that need to be digitized. Such techniques include photogrammetry (which allows the creation of high-accuracy 3D models of an object by capturing a series of still images at different angles) and multi-spectral imaging (which is usually used on highly fragile and sensitive objects that are damaged or decaying in order to discover hidden details invisible to the human eye). We also take the time to perform a host of various image enhancement and restoration tasks, such as making individual improvements, correcting and restoring colours, etc. In addition, our technicians remain on constant alert for anomalies found during the capture process which are carefully reviewed and corrected during our image-by-image quality check. Your PM is alerted to any defects or problems in your original materials so that you can be notified and consulted.
On top of all of the above, every action taken in relation to individual items in your collection is tracked in our SRP system in real time. The SRP system has built-in quality control features (as does all professional and highly specialized equipment used at ScanFactory). SRP’s complex quality control algorithms analyze every single image, flag images that are suspected to have a quality issue and automatically alert our Quality Supervisor to take action. In addition, SRP utilizes a 16-core server dedicated exclusively to post-scan image processing and performs a variety of highly sophisticated algorithmic image enhancement functions.
We constantly evaluate our processes to ensure 100% quality and optimize efficiency while providing the best care for your special collections.
Indexing, Metadata & Image Delivery
We are prepared to meet your indexing & metadata requirements from start to finish. We can provide structural, technical, administrative and preservation metadata, as well as full-service cataloguing, and format it just the way you want it (as simple or as elaborate as you require). We can index your materials by matching to any existing databases, by manual keying, by collecting data directly from the objects themselves, by creating original metadata formatted to meet your project requirements, or by using other methods. We can also embed data provided by your institution that is important to the longevity of your files (most of the preservation data, however, will usually come from your institutional repository system). Items with consistent, printed text can be processed for OCR (e.g. for text searchable PDF files), materials like newspapers and other serials can be segmented at article level, bound or grouped materials can be combined into multi-page files or collections, etc. In short, we work with whatever indexing & metadata requirements you have, whether you are looking for simple technical information or full descriptive cataloguing.
To make your digitized materials more easily accessible, we can prepare your images and metadata for upload into your digital asset management system (DAM), a document management system (DMS), or any other system of your choice. During the digitization process, all digital images and metadata are stored directly in the SRP database. As a result, you have virtually unlimited flexibility in choosing your preferred image and metadata file formats, such as JPEG, TIFF, PDF, PDF/A, etc. for images, XML, Dublin Core, METS / ALTO, EAD, MARC, CSV, etc. for metadata or any import format for your IT systems.
Delivery of images and metadata can be done via a Direct File Transfer method (VPN) or External Storage Device method (e.g. encrypted Hard Disk, etc.). You decide which option suits you best. Delivery is a fully automated process governed entirely by SRP. All digital images and metadata stored in the SRP database during the digitization proccess are automatically exported from SRP without any human intervention whatsoever, eliminating any risk of manipulation or human error.
Privacy & Security
iGuana takes matters of privacy, security and data protection very seriously. We have an in-house Data Protection Officer (DPO) on staff who is responsible for ensuring compliance with internal privacy & security policies and implementing procedures in line with GDPR and with the ISO 27001 standard for information security.
We would love to hear from you. One of our specialists will contact you as soon as possible.