The Digital Imaging Lab of the Yale Digital Collections Center (YDC2) is located on Yale University’s West Campus. The digitization center is meant to harness the university’s digital photography know-how as well as introduce and develop innovative scientific imaging methods. At the same time, it offers services to Yale’s many cultural institutions (Yale Peabody Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, Computing and the Arts, the Arts Area Professional Schools) and has the goal of documenting the university’s diverse collections. Furthermore, access to copyright free works is made available for research purposes.
The newly renovated digitization center includes a large storage facility with shelving and glass vitrines to house objects waiting to be digitized.
The 514 m² large workshop offers a lot of space and flexibility. There is infrastructure capable of handling just about any conceivable digitization scenario:
- The Infinity Wall, a curved wall, offers the possibility of photographing a stationary object from all sides, without producing a noticeable background.
- The digitization of books is completed using Kirtas Technologies’ APT BookScan 2400RA scan-robots.
- The so-called Catwalk is a structure suspended from the ceiling, which allows for the photography of large, flat objects - such as carpets - from above.
Using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), it is possible to investigate an object’s surface and color. An object is placed in a special, bell-shaped construct (The Dome), which is lit with 45 lamps. For each lamp, a picture is taken, such that the object is photographed lit from multiple angles. The pictures are subsequently merged using open source software. A user may also determine which lamps to use in order to bring out the best details. Demonstrations show that this method draws out far more detail, for example, of inscriptions on stone tablets than traditional photography with direct light, allowing for much greater legibility.
- 2-D, 3-D and multispectral imaging: models are created on the basis of 3-D scans, which are painted to match the originals and can be used for exhibitions.