Stanford University Libraries
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Master of Liberal Arts Student, admitted Autumn 2015
Digital Imaging Production Specialist, Library Technology
Current Role at StanfordMy name is Astrid Smith and I am the Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist with Stanford University Libraries’ Digital Production Group (DPG). I create high quality images of such things as the rare “gems of the collection” books, and various materials from our library’s archives. In this role, I manage a steady flow of digitization requests from faculty, staff, and other branch libraries, as part of our mission to support teaching and scholarly research. In addition to one-off requests and small projects, I also image a certain percentage of materials from larger projects, typically the fragile outliers that require specialized handling and custom setup, which I scope out while helping with project estimates. I also help to produce the images needed for exhibits, such as the “Monuments of Printing Exhibits,” including examples from Gutenberg through the book arts revival, and "Scripting the Sacred," featuring secular and sacred medieval texts. Coming from a fine art background with an emphasis in bookarts, painting and drawing, and printmaking, I am thrilled to work with such a beautiful and culturally significant selection of materials on a daily basis.
Part of our departmental agenda is to make Special Collections and other Stanford University branch library materials accessible online for use by the greater community, with digitization projects of all sizes. We strive to balance curator needs and wants with our departmental capacity and resources, and continually work to refine our process. It is important to us that the physical aesthetics of the object are honored as much as possible, while keeping in mind various project purposes -- for example, images that are needed for object character recognition of the text versus those intended for exhibition enlargements, meant to showcase special items. We work closely with curators, conservators, library staff and stakeholders in an effort to successfully meet all these needs.