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Since 1974 we have been working alongside libraries, archives and museums offering state of the art imaging and digitisation services for rare, fragile and specialist heritage collections.
A great way for you to find out more about digitising your collections would be to attend our next Digitisation Workshop.Learn More
Our Digitisation Studio
Our studios, based in the Midlands, have been specifically designed for the digitisation of specialist content. Our purpose-built 13,000sqft building is fully owned by ourselves and benefits from solid brick and block construction to first floor level.
The Genus building is protected by a monitored alarm system which automatically informs keyholders the instant a sensor is activated. Police response is maintained 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and there is a back-up GSM phone transmitter in place in case of telephone line failure. The protection of the production area is further enhanced by a card entry door system at all points of entry which is backed up by a CCTV system including hard disk recording with full playback facility. There are no external windows in any of our studios or storerooms.
Temperature is controlled via the use of fully integrated air conditioning systems with digital control. The rooms have separate systems independent of each other which allows us to maintain independent climatic conditions in different rooms depending on what type of content is present. Dehumidification equipment is installed in both the studio and store, together with monitoring devices which are accessed via a web interface for reporting functions. The Genus digitisation studios and storage areas are monitored for temperature and relative humidity using network sensors that provide data in an Excel format and provide live email alerts in case of tolerances being breeched.
We actively encourage any prospective clients to visit our facility to carry out their own security review before commencing a project with us.
We operate handling procedures and capture methodologies which are designed to place the protection of material as the highest priority. We know our clients need to have total confidence in our ability to safely digitise their content to a high standard with minimal impact. We have successfully delivered many projects to high-profile clients and seen some incredibly interesting and unique items through our studios.
All Genus digitisation staff have received training in materials handling from a certified conservator and exhibit best practices of content handling. The majority of materials we digitise require specific handling and so all of our staff are competent in this area. We only use fully contracted direct employees with no agency staff and everyone has an up to date DBS check in place. Correct protocols are followed to ensure the best possible handling of material while in transit and during its time in our care.
Genus staff are trained to handle archival materials with protective gloves where appropriate and are well used to extracting items from and replacing items within archival enclosures safely.
Working with a number of independent consultants and major libraries, across the UK and Ireland, has helped us devise a robust methodology which focuses on the conservation of material through to the final digital output.
Our methods of capture have been approved by our clients, who include The Wellcome Trust, Getty Images and The British Library. All staff members in the studio are fully trained and are capable of handling delicate and valuable items. A ‘white glove’ approach and the use of specialist lighting, cradles and supports, limits the risk of any damage to the original items.
Transportation is carried out in one of our plain, non-sign-written vehicles. Our vehicles are fitted with air-sprung suspension, GPS tracking (live data available) and climate monitoring within the load area. A permanent bulkhead is always specified and the load area is further protected by deadlocks. Transit boxes and dollies can be provided to reduce the handling and carrying of content to a minimum. Where appropriate, two members of staff are provided to ensure the vehicle is never left unattended whilst loaded. A telephone is always provided and there is firefighting equipment in the cab. Unloading is carried out under cover inside our loading bay which is secure and covered by CCTV.
We have invested heavily in technology to assist in all aspects of the digitisation process. From capture devices and handling equipment, through to server technology, we have an unrivalled infrastructure to support our projects.
Where masks, holders or other specialist items do not exist, we manufacture them in-house. This ability ensures that we are perfectly able to approach any project with confidence.
In addition to traditional DSLR devices, coupled with prime lenses wherever possible, we have invested in best-of-breed capture devices from Metis, SMA, Wicks & Wilson and Zeutschel. We have the largest microfilm capability in the UK covering Microfiche, Roll Film and Aperture Cards. With the ability to run multiple shifts we have the capacity to offer large scale conversion from all formats of microfilm within very short lead times.
Capture devices are only part of the process. We have invested heavily in the supporting infrastructure, including 7 multi-core image processing servers backed up with over 120TB of storage. Our cabling infrastructure is modern and capable of handling the data transfer capacity required when working with large uncompressed archive files. Our server-based image transformation package will convert up to 16,000 image files per hour, running unattended 24/7, plus we have the capability to OCR over 8,000 pages per hour. Our OCR engine supports many historical fonts such as Gothic black letter and Schwabacher and produces results in over 200 languages, so there are few instances where we cannot draw out additional functionality from such images. We also offer transcription services where OCR may not be appropriate, for example with old hand-written texts. We have successfully delivered projects with content dating back to the 17th century and millions of individually transcribed documents from the early 19th century with difficult to read cursive script.
Workflow and Post-Processing
Genus is proud to be the only commercial studio in the world to have deployed Goobi. Goobi is the leading post-processing and workflow application in use at many of the world's leading institutions. It allows us total visibility of all projects in workflow at any time and enables us to output consistent images across all types of original content.
With the ability to import client catalogues, Goobi provides security to ensure complete capture of the entire archive. Image analysis is provided by the server and suggests deskew and cropping parameters to users before performing operations as a server-based process. We regularly provide our clients with access to Goobi, giving them total visibility of their project in real time and access to all reporting features. As the client has access to our production figures, total transparency is ensured when it comes to invoicing.
We additionally employ traditional image editing software packages. Control of colour is vital, and all image editing is carried out on colour calibrated monitors. We offer a photo retouching service together with captioning and keywording as appropriate.
We understand that approaching digitisation of any material can be a daunting task, however there are many ways in which we can help you with advice and free consultancy for your specific requirements.
No two digitisation projects are the same, the approach and methodology are important to ensure the best results for the requirements of your organisation. Our free consultancy offers you the opportunity to be visited by a digitisation specialist who can discuss your aims and objectives for the future. They will review your current collections and help you set out a future plan to turn your originals into a digital library, using the most suitable digital capture techniques, with no commitment to use our services or purchase equipment.
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