Endangered collections: risks and strategies

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During the Great War, in the night of 25-26 August 1914, soldiers set the fourteenth-century University Hall and its eighteenth-century library wing of the University of Leuven (Belgium) ablaze. To commemorate the hundredth Anniversary of the Library’s destruction, the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) organized a three day international conference on the challenging topic: What do we lose when we lose a library? with the support of the Goethe-Institut Brüssel and the British Council, Brussels.  Continue reading

Large-scale high-end digitisation? Workflow optimisation!

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Ex-libris of Archibald Corble Harrison in KU Leuven, BTAB, R4A1

Shortly after the 1940 burning of the Leuven University Library, the fencer and bibliophile Archibald Corble Harrison (1883-1944) donated his extensive collection of books on fencing to the University. The books and manuscripts of this collection, held by the KU Leuven Special Collections, are now the subject of a large-scale digitisation project.

The project is vast: with c. 1.900 items dating from as early as the 15th century to the 20th century, the Corble collection is one of the largest collections on swordmanship and related fields in the world. Continue reading

Digitizing a porcelain card – in pursuit of a faithful reproduction

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The KU Leuven University Archives requested a digital reproduction of a porcelain card. A porcelain card is a 19th century lithographic printing technique that uses either white lead or kaolin to produce prints with a very distinct shimmer (more information here). Because this shimmer is an essential aspect of the porcelain card, we somehow had to preserve some of the shine in our reproduction. Since common digitization techniques are obviously tailored to minimize the amount of reflection, this turned out to be quite a challenge. Continue reading

Staying on target, colour management 2.0

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iQ-Analyzer report, ColorChecker SG – own measurements

In a previous post we discussed the use of the X-Rite ColorChecker SG card and the online platform delt.ae as a means to control and validate the colour accuracy of our digitisation workflows. Whilst that process allows for a quick colour management, we found it to be somewhat insufficient in those cases where we want to take the quality of our captures to the next level. Continue reading

Magister Dixit: KU Leuven and UCL collections completed

Magister Dixit projectThe Imaging Lab recently completed the digitisation of 301 manuscripts with lecture notes of the ancient University of Louvain. Digitisation took place as part of the Magister Dixit project, for Lectio, and with support of the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund. Lecture notes have naturally been scattered all over Europe but both KU Leuven and the UCL built up extensive collections after the destruction of the library during World War II in which 68 manuscripts were lost. The recently gathered collection is now virtually reunited. Continue reading