The Eliasaf Robinson Tel Aviv Collection is remarkably heterogeneous in its physical formats, presenting particular challenges to the digitization process: it includes not only photographs, postcards, printed ephemera and correspondence, but also a number of rare books and serials. No single scanning device could possibly be used to capture all of these materials digitally: such as poster-sized images (up to 26 x 34 inches), single sheets of varying sizes on brittle and fragile paper, and tightly-bound book material.
In this first digitization pass through the collection's material, the Stanford Libraries' curator for Judaica and Hebraica, Zachary Baker, focused on the pre-1948 material that best shows the development of Tel Aviv as a city.
Approximately fifty percent of collection has been digitized, using a wide variety of scanning devices. Our desire to capture the collection digitally with the best available fidelity and resolution guided the selection of the scanning device for each material type.
The largest component of the collection digitized to date consists of photographs and postcards, of which there are about a thousand. They were scanned using an Epson 1640 XL flatbed scanner. Descriptive metadata such as sub-collection identifiers, subjects, and any hand-written notes associated with these images, was captured using BScan software.
Manuscript materials and printed ephemera such as correspondence, programs and pamphlets were digitized using the I2S DigiBook. This overhead digital camera was able to take high-quality photographs of fragile materials while requiring minimal physical handling. The large posters and maps in the collection were scanned using a Phase One P45+ digital camera, which allowed us to increase resolution by taking multiple shots of a piece's various sections, and digitally stitching them together. Metadata for these items was created in the Archivists’ Toolkit to generate MODS records.
The Tel Aviv Collection also includes about four hundred fifty rare and unique monographs and serial issues. Approximately two hundred and eighty of these were selected for digitization using the I2S DigiBook. With this camera we were able to capture excellent-quality images with minimal pressure on the books, despite their tight bindings. These materials are described in our online catalog with traditional MARC cataloging records. In those cases where public display of a text is permissible, there is a PDF link to that text in the public catalog record.