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New Digitisation Studio at the University Collections Facility

At the end of September, work was completed on a brand-new purpose-built digitisation facility at the University Collection Facility, South Gyle, enabling the Cultural & Heritage Digitisation Service (CaHDS) to begin the final phase of digitisation of Sir Charles Lyell’s notebooks. 

A photpograph of the Cultural and Heritage Digitisation Service's new digitisation studio at the University Collections Facility

The new studio, which is situated in the old reading room and staff space in the Library Annexe 1 unit, will complement the service’s existing facilities in the Main Library Digital Imaging Unit (DIU) and School of Scottish Studies. It provides space for up to four members of staff working at any one time, thereby doubling existing capacity and offering potential to undertake new projects as the need arises.    The space contains two scanners and two Conservation Cradles with medium format cameras, which were procured last year through capital funding and are specifically designed for high quality and high throughout digitisation of bound volumes without risking damage to collections. Their V-shaped cradle and vacuum attachment allow books to be digitised without putting unnecessary pressure on their spines or requiring glass or plastic to hold pages flat.   

The redevelopment involved removing the existing carpet and replacing it with a slip-resistant linoleum, painting the walls grey and the ceilings black to avoid light reflections interfering with digitisation, installing shutters to block out external light, replacing the old heating system and lights with modern ceiling mounted panels and the installation of a ventilation system to make the space safe for staff to use.    

This new facility, in addition to recently implemented Goobi Workflow software and a new Digital Asset Management System, are part of a continuous process of review, improvement and formalisation of CaHDS’s service offerings.   

Gavin Willshaw, Digitisation and Digital Engagement Manager