Alex Marsh is a Digitization Specialist in the Digital Production Center. He has been with us for five months and works primarily with rare and fragile materials from a variety of collections. He has recently worked with the Ethiopic Manuscripts collection, Duke University Herbarium materials, and American broadsides from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections. Many of these will be made available through our digital collections portal.
Alex works with several different cameras to digitize the collections. Large materials or those that are particularly fragile go under the Phase One Camera. The Zeutschel 14000 A2 scanner is best for those items that are smaller and flat, like manuscript collections or typescripts. We also have a new SAMMA Solo migration system for digitizing our rare and aging videotape.
“The most interesting collection I have worked with so far are the Ethiopic manuscripts. They are very old and fragile and I cannot read the text, so I feel like an archeologist when I am handling them. Photographing the pages is tricky because they often do not lay flat, which causes focus issues, and, because I cannot read the text, it is possible to inadvertently miss a page or photograph the same page twice if I am not careful. It is exciting to work with such rare material and I look forward to seeing the project in digital format after completion.”
Images from Ethiopic Manuscript #35.