This Week in NDSA: Digitizing Detroit Artists’ Workshop Publications

This week in NDSA, Digital Liaison Mike Dutkewych digitized two extremely rare Detroit Artists’ Workshop publications from the 1960s.

On loan from legendary Detroit photographer and Artists’ Workshop co-founder, Leni Sinclair, these two volumes of “Change” collect photos and essays on the jazz scene of the sixties.

Two volumes of "Change"

The two volumes of “Change”

Because these books are handmade and staple-bound, a traditional flatbed scanner was not a viable option. Mike collaborated with WSU Libraries Coordinator for Digital Publishing, Joshua Neds-Fox, who provided access to an Atiz BookDrive Pro book scanner.

Atiz BookDrive Pro book scanner

The scanner cradles the piece, in order to prevent unnecessary damage

Rather than placing a book face down on a bed to scan, the Atiz BookDrive cradles the book face up beneath a glass cover. Then, two perched Canon EOS Rebel T3i cameras capture high resolution images of the open pages. Though this process can be more time consuming than using a flatbed scanner, the output quality is often superior, and it causes no trauma to the book’s binding or pages, which is always a concern when handling rare or valuable publications.


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