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Faculty Innovates Book Scanner for Library’s Valuable Documents

Libraries around the world have been digitizing some of their most ancient and precious collections. This is an important component of safeguarding heritage, history and culture. Asad Toum, a staff member in Birzeit University’s Main Library, has created a custom-made book scanner, built specifically for this purpose.

Established in 1924, with more than 145,000 print volumes and 1,965 print periodicals titles, Birzeit University’s Main Library still has more than 450 volumes in the library’s special collection and 2,000 old books and journals that are not digitized.

“Documents that are in fragile condition should have a special scanner,” Toum said. “Safe scanning is needed, which means using a camera to photograph documents and notes. I believe that this book scanner will dramatically enhance the library’s ability to preserve valuable documents in all sizes.”

“The scanner is made from high-quality equipment at a price of only $1,500. It is made to digitize the library’s un-scanned materials. Scanned images can be saved in high resolution in PDF formats.”

Toum pointed that he is the first in the game to achieve that combination of high quality with low level pricing, enhanced functionality, significant time savings—and all with such humble appliances. 

Main Library Director Diana Sayej assured that the library has always been dedicated to its core mission of acquiring, organizing, preserving and delivering information resources and assist users in their effective use. “We provide our students, staff and faculty the information they need to fulfill their needs. Of course, our patrons should not only come to use our physical collections, digitizing valuable documents is also a high priority in the library’s vision that we always seek to implement.”