The Past Becomes Present
The continuing development of digital imaging demonstrates that words and
images that have long passed from the memory of history can once again come
to vibrant life and inhabit the present. Still, for Kirtas, who has ridden the
incredible digitization wave for nearly twenty years, the past has become
present in another notable way.
A look at the past
Let’s rewind 15 years to the beginning of 2007 and take a journey to the
prestigious Johns Hopkins University, home of the Milton Eisenhower Memorial
Library. At the time, JHU’s Special Collections division was posed with a
problem: namely, preserving and offering public access to its many rare and
unique volumes in various states of wear and deterioration.
That autumn, the university’s burgeoning Digital Knowledge Center was
reorganized and expanded, and a new Digital Research and Curation Center was
opened. The Center’s mission was to manage, preserve and provide access to
digital scholarship generated by the faculty and researchers at the university. To
begin work on such a vast backlog of rare, fragile, and out-of-print material, the
university chose Kirtas’ new APT2400-RA as its workhorse digitization system.
The fully automated bound book scanner provided formidable speed, image
quality, and reliability and remained the Center’s go-to bound document
digitization system for the next decade.
A relationship based on mutual respect and trust
Fast forward to summer, 2021. Johns Hopkins again came calling at Kirtas’ door.
Although the original Preservation librarians and digitization specialists involved
with the Kirtas 2400RA system had moved on, the system’s reputation for quality
and reliability had remained in active circulation. Johns Hopkins again chose a
Kirtas product, the KABIS 700, to complement its wide-ranging, cutting-edge
According to JHU’s Digitization Specialist Cameron Hanley, the reputation and
reliability of something from the past influenced the decision making of the
“Our long-standing relationship with Kirtas and its equipment made for an easy
process when deciding to upgrade our book scanner. The KABIS 700 is and has
been a great choice in terms of flexibility, performance as well as reliability and
allows us to keep up with the consistent demand for digitization services at JHU.”
The ability to learn from the past in order to prepare for the future has enabled
Johns Hopkins University to swiftly and efficiently address and resolve the
challenges of the present. The happy result is a more high-quality digital content
available sooner rather than later and an admirable and continually expanding
a global reputation for academic excellence.