Troubleshooting and Workarounds

When we are working with fragile, irreplaceable material, it’s critical that the object is properly supported during image capture. Sometimes, this means I have to jury-rig something suitable and every time one of my configurations works it’s deeply satisfying.

Recently, I was working with some 16th century books that contain fragments of other works, often as binding, and one in particular posed a challenge as it was too big for the acrylic cradles we had on hand. I reached out to Special Collections to see what pieces they had and was supplied with two slightly different large acrylic pieces. I was able to clip them together and add a support underneath in a way that allowed me to rest the large item open on top, fully supported, to capture the wrapper, including the spine.

the setup! two cradles clipped together and supported by journals and styrofoam blocks
book, resting on jury-rigged setup

The book rested there for a little under 10 minutes (the scan took almost 7 minutes) and the result was exactly what I’d hoped.

image captured from setup

Since I also captured the front and back cover separately, I wasn’t worried about the angle, as my focus was the spine. The completed scans have been uploaded for use on vault: Psalter? Fragment.