The Scanner Project - Digitizing WSU's Special Collections

The possibilities for other special digital collections from WSU's holdings were limited by the need for one key piece of equipment. The WSU Libraries Council raised $125,000 for purchase of a state of the art Zeutschel Omniscan 14000 AO scanner [PDF].

Washington State University Libraries are leaders in the digital preservation of rare documents. Librarians have created 75 significant digital collections that originate from its special collections. These collections capture the history of WSU, the Palouse, and the state of Washington using over 100,000 images, texts, sound files, and video clips. Key collections include:

  • Early Washington Maps
  • City of Pullman and the Palouse Image Collection
  • Wallis and Marilyn Kimble Northwest History Database (50,000+ newspaper articles from the late 1930s)
  • Lucullus V. McWhorter Collection (175 photographs of Native Americans)
  • Palouse Digital Project (Palouse bioregion)

With existing flatbed scanners WSU was not able to scan their rare books, such as Virginia Woolf's private library or a 17th century edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, because the equipment would break bindings and covers. The Libraries couldn't digitize objects larger than 17 inches. This is significant because some collections are in such poor condition that the information they contain will be lost if not preserved electronically. For example, it was recently discovered that 100 irreplaceable blueprints of historic campus architecture are infected with mold; it was essential that these oversized documents be preserved immediately by scanning them.

Your generous investment in this equipment helped to preserve, record, and share historical and literary information now residing in the libraries and archives of Washington State University. By doing so, you helped WSU faculty and students, as well as historians, genealogists, and other researchers around the world.

MASC and WSU Libraries thank you for your past and ongoing support!

Help the Libraries keep preserving these valuable historical collections by making an additional online gift

For all other giving questions, please contact: Anna Roberts, Development Coordinator
509.335.0551
anna.roberts@wsu.edu