Better Light

Last week in my post about the SMU game I talked about slicing a newspaper article out of the scrapbook because I couldn’t get the book on my scanner. I did that because it was easy and quick but I had several other options. My favorite is the BetterLight scanner. I’m going to admit right up front that I am far from an expert here–for several years, in fact, I believed that this was a scanner that had better light than the others. (False. It is much, much cooler than that. I’m not capable of explaining it myself, but here’s a link to an explanation.)

I believed this because I had never seen it. It resides in its own locked room near the front of the library, labeled with a sign so discreet that I had never noticed it. Then one day a fellow came in with something that was both very interesting and very large. I really wanted a scan of it and the only way to get one was with this device. My colleague Amanda, who in fact is an expert, let me come in with her and watch the whole process. It’s time consuming, but the results are remarkable.

The scanner, by the way, has been given a name:

So what was so interesting I had to have a copy of it? A beautiful hand-drawn map of the Rice campus in 1952. Here’s a tiny corner of it being scanned:

And here’s the small copy I have:

But I beg you, go click on the zoom and pan copy in the Rice Digital Scholarship Archives for a real look at what this BetterLight scanner can do. It’s amazing.

Bonus: Here’s Amanda with her keychain. The keychain has a name too—Nigel.

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4 Responses to Better Light

  1. Richard A. Schafer says:

    Amazing map. I can see why you wanted a copy. But why is the scanner named after Kinky?

  2. Grungy says:

    That’s the kind of copy tower I was talking about.
    Very nice…
    Mine has a “Dangerous Thingy” that goes with it (and might still be useful) – an electrostatic table for the subject matter. It came from my august employer’s illustration department. Back in the days when the artists used something other than a computer, the poster-sized illustrations needed to be photographed for use either as slides or subject matter for printing. To hold the velum flat, it was placed on a surface that could generate an enormous static charge. There were stern warnings about what to and what not to touch while it was in operation.
    If the library could use it, they need only ask (and I deliver…).

  3. Amanda Focke says:

    Why Kinky Friedman? This scanner was originally part of the Digital Media Center over in Herring Hall (still part of Fondren, though) — all the equipment over there is named for Texas musicians. This scanner is probably the most quirky of them all – it’s just perfect for certain situations, but perhaps overkill for routine jobs. (Kinda like Kinky?)

  4. I was going to mention that that sounded like a Digital Media Center name, but Amanda beat me to it. Not that you asked but from the Department of Big Things which have Unexpected Names, we have concert grand pianos over here (9-foot Steinways) which are identified by name: Fritz, Michael, Mary, and Volodya. Fritz is a Hamburg Steinway named for legendary and fearsome conductor Fritz Reiner. Michael and Mary are New York Steinways named for longtime Shepherd School Dean Michael Hammond and first Professor of Piano Mary Norris, respectively. Volodya is a 1965 New York Steinway named with the Russian diminutive for “Vladimir” for Vladimir Horowitz, celebrated pianist who performed and recorded on that piano in the 1970s before Rice owned it.

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