Libraries Acquire High-Resolution Digitization Camera

Pepperdine Libraries are pleased to announce the acquisition of a high-speed, high-resolution camera system for the digitization of materials in the Boone Special Collections and University Archives. The new camera, manufactured by the Danish company Phase One, captures 100-Megapixel images. It is supported by a custom built copy stand and Capture One software that will allow Digital Lab staff to process images approximately 10 times more quickly than with the flatbed scanning system previously used in the lab.


Roland Wiley
Digitization Assistant Roland Wiley working with the new camera system.

“This new camera system positions Pepperdine Libraries at the forefront of digitization technology,” said Mark Roosa, Dean of Libraries. “The increased speed and image quality will transform our digital presence and allow us to share the wonderful materials in our special collections more effectively than ever before.”

In addition to speeding up the digitization process, the camera system is more effective with three dimensional objects and fragile archival materials that may be damaged if placed face down on a scanner, such as the many Malibu Tiles in the Libraries’ Boone Special Collections and University Archives.


Malibu Tile

The example above of a Malibu Tile from the Pepperdine Libraries’ collections demonstrates the new camera’s ability to capture three-dimensional objects in relief. At greater magnifications, the new camera can also capture minute details of  texture that provide invaluable information about the creation and use of archival materials.


Eisenhower signature

This image comes from the signature on a letter signed from former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Margaret Brock, a long-time fundraiser and delegate for the Republican Party who had longstanding Pepperdine affiliations. The camera captures the shading from the flow of the ink from President Eisenhower’s fountain pen, as well as slight feathering of the typewritten words on the stationery. (Click the image to see a higher resolution version.)

“In the weeks since we acquired this camera system, we have already digitized an immense quantity of materials,” said Josias Bartram, Librarian for Digital Publishing, Curation, and Conversion at Pepperdine Libraries. “I look forward to the new opportunities for faculty collaboration and student engagement that this new equipment will allow us to pursue.”

Several special projects are already in the works, including an ongoing collaboration with students in the new Digital Humanities minor at Pepperdine, who will be digitizing key correspondence from the papers of Margaret Brock in Pepperdine’s Boone Special Collections and Archives, including the letter from which President Eisenhower’s signature was taken above.

Pepperdine Libraries’ digitized collections can be viewed in the Pepperdine Digital Collections portal.


About Pepperdine Libraries

With thirteen library locations, Pepperdine Libraries serve nearly 8,000 students and 800 faculty at Pepperdine University’s campus sites in Southern California, Washington, D.C., and abroad. Payson Library reopened last fall after a 15-month, $22.4 million renovation. Influenced by Spanish Revival architecture, the new building design honors tradition while addressing 21st-century needs for digital integration and flexibility to accommodate diverse learning styles. The new additions range from a high-tech makerspace to expanded study areas that seamlessly integrate traditional setups with more informal seating configurations.

The Boone Special Collections and Archives at Pepperdine University holds 6,801 rare books and 134 processed collections. Stored in an NEH grant-funded sustainable preservation and storage system, the department’s collections consist of rare book collections, the University Archives, the Malibu Historical Collection, the Churches of Christ Heritage Center, film and television archives, and other book and archival holdings, many of which are accessible to the public online through the Pepperdine Digital Collections.


About Pepperdine University

Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 7,600 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

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Libraries Acquire High-Resolution Digitization Camera