Technical information

The Ringing Rocks Digital Laboratory uses two Kodak iQsmart3 scanners, one Contex MAGNUM G600 scanner, one A3 Epson GT-30,000 scanner and a 30TB (terabyte) storage system. This lab is capable of digitising images of almost any format.

Kodak iQsmart3 scanner

The two Kodaks iQSmart3 scanners are used for digitising all slides, photographs and other small-format materials that require scanning at high resolution.

The scanners feature full XY stitching technology. This means that the optical camera can move on both an X- and a Y-axis, enabling perfect focus and resolution directly underneath each individual slide on the scan bed. The optical camera has five different lens positions, which enables perfect focus even if the original is deformed or warped. The device is capable of scanning at up to 5,600 dpi optical resolution and over 11,000 dpi interpolated resolution, making it one of the top slide scanners available on the market.

Before slides are scanned, they are cleaned by gently blowing compressed air over them. This cleaning is necessary to remove most of the dust and fibres that have accumulated on the slides over the years. After digitisation, each individual image is transferred to Adobe Photoshop where remaining dust and fibre marks are digitally cleaned.

The scanner makes slide scanning relatively simple. The scan bed accommodates two folders or “masks” into which the slides are slotted. Each mask accommodates 20 slides, allowing a maximum of 40 to be scanned in each batch. Once the masks are loaded onto the scan bed, the scanner automatically does a pre-scan of each slide. These pre-scans are then manually cropped, after which the scanner will automatically scan and save each image into the desired location.

Slides are scanned at 2,500 dpi optical resolution, giving a file size of around 40MB per image. This allows us to enlarge the original 35mm slide to a size larger than A3 without any pixellation of the image and to A1 size with minimal pixellation. A scan of this nature takes approximately 3 to 5 minutes per slide, including loading and cropping, allowing us to scan a total of 160 slides per day.

Contex MAGNUM G600 scanner

The Contex MAGNUM G600 is a large format colour scanner, designed to scan originals larger than A4 size and up to 5.4 inches (137mm) scan width, at a maximum of 900 dpi optical resolution at all original sizes. Originals of any length can be scanned. It features an adjustable insertion slot space, making it possible to scan originals up to 0.6 inches (15mm) thick, thus adding an extra dimension to the scanning possibilities. This feature is especially useful when scanning fragile material that requires a protective folder or carrying case when scanned. The scanner also uses contoured rollers, which follow the form of the original when scanning uneven surfaces, thus limiting the possibility of damage.

Light sources on the scanner are dual colour balanced with a stabilised fluorescent lamp that has a low dynamic range and emits low levels of heat. The actual scan area is a strip 50 inches long and less than a 1 inch wide, over which the original is passed with help from the roller system. This narrow scan bed, coupled with relatively fast scanning speeds,  ensures that the original is only in contact with the light source for a short period at any given time.

Built-in software includes ADL+ and 2D sharpening and softening. These enable the scanner to convert significant grey tone areas in monochrome documents to black and white (eliminating shades of grey), while simultaneously sharpening and enhancing the line areas and eliminating background clutter. This feature is useful when scanning tracings and redrawings in which the background film scans as a light grey colour.

A3 Epson GT-30,000 scanner

The Epson scanner is used primarily for scanning historical documents. It is also useful for scanning smaller, fragile drawings and tracings which are not suited for processing through the large format scanner.

The Epson GT-30,000 is one of the fastest business scanners in its class, ideally suited to high-speed document management where filing, archiving and the storing of large quantities of documents is the primary need. The scanner has a maximum optical resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi that captures images with exceptional sharpness and clarity. The scanner offers 36-bit internal scanning for high-quality colour reproduction. It is ideal for photos, magazines and publications as well as for scanning in black and white, with built-in auto document sizing for faster scanning speeds and greater productivity. With a fast scanning speed of up to 30ppm and a 100-page duplexing automatic document feeder as a standard, the Epson GT-30,000 is capable of high-speed archiving of double-sided documents, therefore reducing paper handling to a minimum.

Image storage (30TB mirrored usable storage)

Once the originals are scanned and the images cleaned, they are stored in two ways. First, the full-sized image is written onto a DVD (approximately 160 scanned slides fit onto one DVD), which is then stored as an archival copy. Secondly, the images are copied into a RAID storage system where they are  transformed into three sets of small JPEG images that are stored in an Index+ database system for rapid retrieval and desktop viewing.

RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A RAID is a disk array in which part of the storage capacity is used to record redundant information about the user data stored on the remainder of the storage capacity. The redundant information enables regeneration of the user data in the event that one of the array's member disks or the access path to it fails. There are a variety of ways in which these disks can be arranged so that they store information in different ways.

The Ringing Rocks Digital Laboratory uses a system called disk mirroring or RAID Level 5. This process ensures that all data is mirrored onto a second array of disks, ensuring that there is always a backup of all data. This system provides high data reliability and continued data availability in the event of one or more disks failing. If disks fail, array software simply directs all application requests to a spare disk on the system.

The data and digitised images on the RAID system are managed by ImageIndex+ software and the website is powered by the Index+ web gateway. The software combines all the site data with the relevant images from that particular site. This makes it possible to search for sites, any information linked to that site, and for individual images. For further information, mail ssl@ssl.co.uk.