Thursday, 7 June 2012


One thing I forgot to mention in yesterday's post was that on Tuesday, when Richmond was introducing us to the Atiz scanners, we were interrupted by four people entering the room; 2 of whom work at the library and we've met before, the other two were obrunis from Google!  As if that weren't interesting enough, one of them was a University of Michigan Alumnus!  He graduated from UM about 8 years ago (not from the School of Information--he actually hadn't heard of SI) and he was a friendly face.  They were interested in the two scanners, and from what I could gather, digitization practices at the Balme Library.  They were taking photos of the two scanners with their iPhones, and I think we may have been in a few of the shots.  So that was fun and all the news on Tuesday.

Atiz Pro scanner at Balme Library
Richmond has been taking the time to explain the InoTec Scamax M06 scanner and the Atiz scanners to both me and Amanda, and he is probably one of our favorite people to talk to here in Ghana.  Richmond is a bit quiet, but when he talks, he likes to talk about serious issues and wants to get our takes on them, as well as the United States'.  We've recently covered gay rights (actually, this one was before I had arrived so Amanda got to talk about that), marriage, topics and large themes in the Bible, and other topics such as food/food science, and customs in both the U.S. and in Ghana.  He is quite entertaining to talk to because as he is talking about something serious, he always seems to have a little smirk on his face and it's just a good time.  His catch phrase is "Wow."  He says that a lot and there are a few times when "Wow" wasn't warranted, but he says it anyway.  It always brings a smile to our faces.

Starting the scanning process for a large Thesis
One thing I thought was interesting about the Atiz scanners, is that there are two cameras hooked up to the computer, which take photos of the book being digitized.  The book is propped on a black base, and there is a clear plastic that is used to hold down the pages, flatten the pages, and get as clear a picture as possible (glass plates would be better).  There are two metal arms on either side of the black base which hold the two cameras.  Once a button is hit on the keyboard, the camera on the right takes a photo, which is followed automatically by the camera on the left.  The camera on the right takes a photo of the left page, and the camera on the left takes a photo of the right page.  After the photos are taken, the plastic overlay is raised so we can flip to the next page in the book.  Once the page is turned, the plastic is lowered, a button is hit on the keyboard, and two more photos are taken.  This occurs after each turning of the page.  There is a switch you can turn on so when you raise and then lower the plastic overlay, photos are taken automatically.  This can be good for documents that won't need much adjusting, but you lose a little bit of control of the process.  As you scan, you need to watch the computer monitor to make sure the lighting is accurate, the margins of the text aren't cropped (this frequently happens with larger books as their bindings don't usually like to give more room), and watch the book's shifting as the pages are turned and the book moves, so that these may be corrected for in post-processing. 

Happy to be here
Yesterday, we were able to finish scanning two large theses, and I had a lot of fun doing it.  I have to finish the post-processing for one of the volumes later today, and I am looking forward to it.  We still have an additional three theses to scan before Friday with the Atiz scanners (Yay!) and then we are going to take these same 5 theses to the bindery and have them unbound, so we can scan them with the Scamax scanner.  We are going to then compare the time it takes to scan using the two scanners, and prepare a cost-analysis report with recommendations for the library, which is also due by Friday.

Speaking of Friday, our plans to go to Mole National Park have been thwarted it seems.  Last we we received clearance to go from Henry.  This week, the woman I had originally be corresponding with prior to my arrival in Ghana, Ms. Gifty, had returned from a trip to Europe for part vacation, part business.  We had to get approval from her, and then once more from Prof.  I met with Henry yesterday, and he told us that Prof did not want us to go to Mole due to it being too far away from Accra (12+ hours on rough terrain roads).  We thought this made sense because they would be liable if anything should happen to us, and if anything did happen to us, they would be too far away to help us.  This morning, Ms. Gifty came in and spoke with us, and it seems there IS more to the story. 

Apparently, there is a lot of disagreement (to put it lightly) over the land in Northern Ghana.  As a result, she said some people have died as a result of it (I believe some tourists as well), and that it just wasn't safe for us to go up there and see the Elephants.  We were a little bummed about not going yesterday, but this morning we feel as if it is DEFINITELY a good thing that we are no longer going.

On the plus side, I think we have some backup plans for Saturday though!  A few people in Henry's office said that there is a really cool place near Accra where we could see monkeys and baboons, and other animals (no elephants) called Shai Hills.  To make things even better, they offered to come along with us!  Now we just need to figure out a few things to do on Friday and Sunday for my last weekend in Ghana. 


  1. Nice to read about you geeking out on the scanning stuff. :) Sounds like you are learning a lot.

    Bummer that you won't get to go to Mole National Park. But safety first!

    1. Thanks, Erin! It's just really awesome to be able to work part of my dream job over the summer, and know that hopefully in a year I will be able to do it almost everyday! :)