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Backstage Library Works preserves more than 19,000 pages of theatre history for Ohio State University

Kat Kamp
Backstage Library Works
[email protected]

BETHLEHEM, Pa., March 4, 2015 - Backstage Library Works ( announced today the successful preservation digitization of 15 large scrapbook volumes from the Leffingwell collection documenting American theatre performance from the late 19th century through 1922. Digitization included loose items, oversized, heavy and acidic materials mounted on tissue paper, two-page spreads with items pasted across book gutters, and mounted theatre playbills containing multiple leaves. The Leffingwell scrapbooks vary in size and are held by The Ohio State University’s Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute library.

The scrapbooks and performance ephemera reveal how theatre-going audiences combined their viewing and reading experiences. Attuned to the research needs of their patrons, Ohio State University sought preservation quality digitization services for the collection. After considering different options, Ohio State arranged for Backstage to digitize the entire set of historic materials.

The project presented numerous challenges, including long newspaper clippings, loose bindings and detached covers, as well as brittle, creased, folded down and dog-eared tissue pages. Throughout the process, Backstage preservation teams observed special handling techniques to ensure all physical elements of the scrapbooks were kept intact.

Images and text were captured in 24-bit color, at 300-400 dpi resolution on 80 megapixel cameras using 180 degree book cradles. The two-up scans were kept as one image without masking behind any of the pages or onlays so as to provide a more realistic “open book” view of each scrapbook.

Uncompressed TIFFs as well as searchable PDFs with uncorrected OCR for each volume were delivered in addition to a file naming spreadsheet incorporating technical metadata from the TIFF header and pixel measurements of each image.

About the Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute
Founded in 1951 as the Ohio State University Theatre Collection, the original Theatre Research Institute collection consisted of microfilm rather than original materials and engaged researchers in more than 100 European museums and libraries to compile bibliographies of rare theatrical material unique to their institutions. In 1986 the Theatre Research Institute was renamed in honor of Ohio-born playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, and became affiliated with University Libraries.
Today, original materials such as manuscript collections, theatre and dance company archives, scripts, scene and costume designs scrapbooks, painted drops, costumes, models reconstructing important theatrical and technical devices can be found at the library along with clippings of reviews and articles, journals, books, programs, posters, photographs, and brochures.

Explore more fascinating details of the Lawrence & Lee Theatre Institute:

About Backstage Library Works
Backstage’s objective is to provide the most technologically advanced and efficient means for delivering professional library services. With over 25 years of experience, the company is known for its expertise in handling complex and unique projects. Backstage specializes in solutions for cataloging, authority control, digitization, preservation microfilm, and on-site needs. In providing services to more than a thousand libraries, large and small, public and private, and in locations across the globe, Backstage has cultivated an understanding of libraries, their mission, their operations, and the challenges they face. Backstage offices are located in Provo, Utah, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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