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Article - Discuss Photograhing Printed Materials

Category:Know-How -> Automatic Coding
Category:Know-How -> Data Collection

When taking pictures of printed materials for future optical scanning, the environment is very important.  In certain cases you will be severely limited in your choice of photographing conditions. Some archives do not allow you to remove the printed materials from their property and the space provided may be cramped with no natural light.  One solution for overcoming these issues is to use a custom camera holder by taping a mini camera tripod to the base of a flexible lamp base.  This allows you to clip the device wherever you are working and gives you the flexibility to adjust the camera angle for the best pictures. As opposed to picking up the camera and refocusing after turning every page, this set up allows you to forgo that motion, which takes less effort and shaves a few seconds off the time to take each picture. 

Also, rather than clasping the books open with other books or using a book sleeve, you can also use a flat piece of transparent plexiglass and hold it over the photographed page while taking the pictures.  The plexiglass keeps the photographed pages flat and in most cases keeps the pages from the opposite side of the book from falling over into the picture.  When the pages of the book are significantly unbalanced (e.g. at the beginning or end of the book), you may have to hold the plexiglass down with one hand while take the picture with the other.  Although crude, this set up is functionally the same as the devices used by libraries to do digitization.

Some things to note:
1. The plastic used cannot be too thick or else the text in the pictures will be blurry. 
2. You have to locate yourself away from any overhead lighting which will reflect off the plastic and create significant glare issues with your pictures.