British library thesis digitisation

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British library thesis digitisation

Uncategorized British LibrarydigitisationmicrofilmOCRoptical character recognitiontheses Office of Scholarly Communication As part of Open Access Weekthe Office of Scholarly Communication is publishing a series of blog posts on open access and open research.

In this post Drs Danny Kingsley and Matthias Ammon describe the process of choosing theses to digitise. For decades microfilm was the way documents were photographed and stored. These date back to the s and go through to when digitisation took over from microfilm.

It would also be a major improvement on having to request the works be digitised from paper, because the cost was significantly lower. There were two primary criteria that we were considering in choosing which theses to upload — the quality of the finished product and the likelihood of the theses being requested.

Quality of digitisation Before word processing, theses were typewritten.

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The typeprint in the originals is not always clear and even. In addition, images were glued into the works and those images themselves were not always originals, so the quality of a copy is poor. We needed to look at whether these types of issues affected the quality and readability of a thesis digitised from microfilm.

In addition, one advantage of having a digitised thesis is the ability to run Optical Character Recognition OCR over it so the work becomes searchable.

However OCR does not work on handwriting or if the type is uneven. To test this, the OSC decided to ask the British Library to digitise a few samples from older theses and from theses that contained unusual characters or maps to ascertain the quality of the digitisation.

Louise Clarke, the Superintendent in the Manuscripts Reading Room considered the British Library list and found some examples of theses that that had not been digitised at our end. She identified some sample pages to be scanned that might prove to be challenging. When the scans arrived, Sarah Middle, our repository manager assessed the visual quality and tried to run OCR over the scans to test for accuracy.

However the photos looked very dark. The thesis that contained typed Greek characters had a poorer scan quality. This meant OCR was almost pointless in some places as the accuracy is so low.

The final thesis was a thesis that contained images of handwriting and equations in the text.

British library thesis digitisation

This handwriting had been rendered as an image so OCR was not applied. Given that in this particular work the handwriting was there for illustrative purposes so this was not in itself an issue.The British Library has a reputation for innovation, but despite its on-going digitisation project the institution has so far made just 1% of its vast 5 billion page catalogue digital.

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This is the time taken to process the thesis for digitisation. The time shown on the screen is the time taken by the British Library to make the digital copy; this process is often much faster than the time shown. In addition, time needs to be allowed for the institution to retrieve the paper thesis, make checks on its suitability for scanning.

Trinity College Dublin Theses. Trinity College Dublin research theses can be found using Stella Search and refining your search results by selecting the format ‘TCD Thesis’ for print theses, or ‘TCD E-Thesis’ for electronic theses, or by limiting results to the Library Collection ‘TCD Theses’ for both.

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