February 16, 2018

McGill University To Scan and Make Library Materials Available Online

McGill University, Montreal, librarians used the occasion of hosting the 74th IFLA General Conference and Council in Quebec City earlier this month to announce that the library is entering “a new era in digitization.” Janine Schmidt, director of libraries at McGill university, said the library has purchased a scanner and would begin plans to digitize its collections, both in support of the university’s educational needs, and even making some of its collections available for sale online as print-on-demand books.

“We plan to embark on large-scale digitization of books from the McGill Library collections, as well as providing digitization on demand,” Schmidt told the LJ Academic Newswire. “We broadly estimate being able to scan and process between 100-200 books per week, and more if additional resources become available,” she added, noting the library would only digitize books in the public domain.

The McGill Library has been an early adopter of digitizing books—their efforts began in 1996—but Schmidt says the acquisition of the high-powered Kirtas APT Book Scan 2400 (pictured) with two 216 MP Cameras and Automated Pager Turning (APT) technology will allow them to ramp up their efforts from the primarily small-scale projects made possible by special funding over the last ten years. The APT BookScan 2400 scans 2400 pages per hour cycle speed in full color mode. An “average book” can be scanned in less than eight minutes.

Schmidt said McGill would especially take advantage of its rich special collections, featuring some 300,000 titles housed in Rare Books and Special Collections at McGill University in Canadian, history, literature, philosophy and the history of the book. “Aside from what is produced via digitization on demand,” Schmidt told the Newswire, “our focus will be on increasing and improving the availability and discoverability of the rare and unique treasures of the McGill library collections, and to support students and faculty in research projects, particularly in the humanities.”

Once the books are digitized and processed, Schmidt said files will be made available worldwide through the Library’s online catalogue—and books can be printed on demand through major online retailers such as Amazon.com and Lulu.com.

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