Category Archives: Library

Training Sessions: Low-Tech Imaging for Social Media


There’s no doubt that in our digital age, social media and online presence is crucial to engaging with your customers, audiences or users. Due to the growing demand of higher quality images on these platforms, several of us in the DIU have recently given talks about achieving the best image quality using low-tech solutions. The great thing about phones and tablets is that we’re able to share content to social media from anywhere, creating a sense of immediacy and dynamism. Being able to take great photos and videos with just our phones can be challenging, but knowing the best settings and set-up can help to create great images that will make your posts more engaging. Continue reading

New i2S CopiBook V-Shape Scanner in the DIU

Last week the i2S CopiBook V-Shape arrived in the Digital Imaging Unit where it was installed and demoed by Pascale Thuilliez from i2S. This high-quality bookscanner was bought with the view to being used for the next phase of the Session Papers Project (read my previous blog here for more information on the project itself).

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2 and 3D Photography: Practice, Prophecies, and Beyond- Conference at the Rijksmuseum

Team DIU (well, half of it!) have been visiting the Rijksmuseum again for the biennial conference on 2 and 3D photography. 2 full days of speakers followed by another workshop day left us with lots to think about. This year’s conference built on the last, Robert Erdmann released the open source code for his amazing curtain viewer which can be tried out in the Bosh Project here http://boschproject.org/#/ . Malcolm is going to delve deeper in to Erdmann’s latest developments below. Otherwise 3D technology seems to be taking root, with debate over the level of quality and detail needed, and advances such as ‘videogrammetry’ and ‘unstructured light field renderings’ (see below) entering the fray.

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Celebrating Shakespeare

0023593dWith the 400th anniversary this year of the death of one of our greatest and most influential playwrights, William Shakespeare, I found myself cropping images of some of his first printed quartos for the creation of an e-reader as part of the Shakespeare image collection. Now existing as high quality e-readers are the plays Love’s Labours Lost (1st Quarto Edition) and Romeo and Juliet (2nd Quarto Edition), both of which are used as part of the collaborative project concerning Shakespeare’s printed quartos, The Shakespeare Quarto Archive (http://www.quartos.org/index.html). These works themselves have very unique histories and are important in Shakespearean studies for many reasons. Their place in the Special Collections in the University of Edinburgh Library is invaluable.

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A Lengthy Challenge: Photographing the Mahabharata


Recently I was asked to scope the digitisation of a beautiful scroll we have in our collection, Or.Ms 510, or better known as the Mahabharata. Gemma Scott, our former Digital Library intern, says that:

‘the Mahabharata tells the tale of a dynastic struggle between two sets of cousins for control of the Bharata kingdom in central India. One of the longest poems ever written, eclipsed only by the Gesar Epic of Tibet, it is said to have been composed between 900 and 400BCE by the sage Vyasa, although, in reality, it is likely to have been created by a number of individuals. To Hindus, it is important in terms of both dharma (moral law) and history (itihasa), as its themes are often didactic.’

Our scroll dates to 1795 and came to Edinburgh University in 1821 when it was donated by Colonel Walker of Bowland. It is 13.5cm wide and a staggering 72m long, housed in a wooden case, wound around rollers and turned by a key in the side. It has 78 miniatures of varying sizes and is elaborately decorated in gold, with floral patterning in the late Mughul or Kangra style. The text itself is dense, tiny, and underpinned with yet more gold leaf decorations.

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3 Additions to the LUNA Book Reader Collection

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We kick off 2015 with the addition of 3 new Book Readers added to LUNA. The first two are both music manuscripts that came down to the DIU as part of the Readers Orders trolley. It is not often that we receive volumes to be digitised in their entirety this way, so it seemed a good opportunity. As a result we spared a bit of time to do the additional work to prepare them for the book reader software after the High Resolution images had been delivered to the customers. Continue reading

Photographing the Josephine Baker Bronze by Eduardo Paolozzi

An exciting new exhibition on the 6th floor of the main library in the Centre for Research Collections opens on the 13th November 2014 and runs until 27th of February 2015. The exhibition will include a selection of Edinburgh Universities collection of Paolozzi plaster maquettes which are wonderful three dimensional drawings of his ideas. The Digital Imaging Unit was tasked to photograph the Josephine Baker Bronze to coincide with this exhibition. We have produced a short day in the life film of the Digital Imaging Unit at work on the Paolozzi Bronze which you can see below. A larger better quality version is available by clicking the vimeo link below the film.

I first became aware of Paolozzi through an exhibition held at the Royal Scottish Academy for the Edinburgh 1984 International Festival called "Recurring Themes” , I still own the catalogue. His work and life made a lasting impression on me as a young man. The early collage work blew my mind and the way he fed pop culture back to ourselves dismantled and rearranged raising questions about pop culture itself was remarkable. Continue reading

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Iconic Photography

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Clement Litill’s 1580 bequest charter

Part of our remit in the DIU has been to work through a list of ‘Iconic’ Items from the collection in our spare time. Over the years we have completed the digitisation of some outstanding manuscripts and collections in this way, from the Hill and Adamson photographs (a personal favourite- see http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/jl5w63) to the wonderful Laing Album Amicorum (see http://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/6oh338 ). Continue reading

Welcome to the Main Library

On Monday the 08/09/14 the DIU team set our time-lapse camera up in the main library forum to capture the first day of freshers week. It turned out to be a busy day.  Over 4000 people came in through the front doors. As staff we are mostly buried away in work rooms and offices therefore we don’t see the footfall through out the library. What an exciting and happening place!

Malcolm Brown Deputy Photographer

Welcome to the Library from DIGITAL IMAGING UNIT FILM on Vimeo.

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A lot of scanning and a little context

I am now coming to the end of my internship here in the Digital Imaging Unit. Over the past twelve weeks I have been responsible for digitising a large number of documents as part of the Godfrey Thomson Project. Collecting the project documents from Neasa, the Godfrey Thomson Archives Intern, I would then be required to capture every document individually using the Bookeye 4 Scanner (a machine that I have got to know very well lately, and one that behaves rather well, all told!).

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