3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2017 8:58 AM by Catherine Brandsen

    Are there book cradles available for use at NARA sites?

    techhistorynerd Adventurer

      Since bound volumes at the NARA can't be scanned with copiers or scanners (for obvious reasons) that leaves digitization with a camera.  Do the various NARA sites have book cradles and/or any other physical aids available to help stage a bound volume for photographing in such a way as to minimize stress to the volume?  If not, are there any guidelines for what the recommended best practices are for this type of work? I checked (https://www.archives.gov/files/preservation/technical/guidelines.pdf) which mentions book cradles, and there are a few other mentions of devices such as paper strips to hold pages back (Conservation, Imaging, and Access | Iraqi Jewish Archive ) but so far I haven't scared up any documentation of what resources are available to researchers at various sites or what user-provided equipment is allowable/recommended for such purposes.

        • Re: Are there book cradles available for use at NARA sites?
          Alex Champion Scout

          I can only speak for Archives II (College Park) in the textual research room, where you'll most likely encounter bound volumes, but there are aids (cushions, weighted bags, and support forms) available in the research room. Ask the staff for guidance and they will help you situate your records to minimize damage.


          At A2 we have several ways to scan bound volumes without pressing them against glass. There are cell phone camera stands. These are on the small side so if your book is larger than a letter size sheet of paper you may not be able to use it since the binding would technically hang off the side regardless of whether you had a cushion to hold it up. If it is too large for those camera stands, we also have fairly large stationary stands that accommodate most cameras (SLR and even some point and shoots) and are equipped with spotlights. Cameras are also available for checkout but you need your own SIM card. Both the stands (mobile or fixed) and the cameras must be checked out. Additionally there are overhead digital printer/scanners for USBs. These, like other photocopiers/scanners, have an associated fee that is debited from a card you receive and charge on site.

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          • Re: Are there book cradles available for use at NARA sites?

            The National Archives at St. Louis has book cradles available through the Preservation Department, as needed. We also have camera stands, for both cameras and cell phones.

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            • Re: Are there book cradles available for use at NARA sites?
              Catherine Brandsen Adventurer

              As far as the National Archives Building in downtown DC goes, I know there are big overhead scanners in the Innovation Hub and I believe some kind of overhead scanner or camera stand in the main research room as well.