Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

There’s an App for That: Scanning and Organizing Research Materials

May 31st, 2016

Readers who have conducted research at Spencer Research Library know that on-site patrons have the option to use a phone, camera, or tablet – or the overhead scanner in the Reading Room – to scan or digitally photograph collection materials.* Here, Spencer student assistant Katie Lynn shares some information about apps that can take your scanning to the next level.

Screenshot of TurboScan app    Screenshot of FineScanner app    Screenshot of CamScanner app

Screenshots of the scanning apps TurboScan (left), FineScanner (middle), and
CamScanner (right). Click images to enlarge.

There are a number of productivity apps by which you can use your mobile phone or tablet as a scanner to digitize just about anything, including some books, documents, and photographs in the collections of Spencer Research Library.* Most of the apps described briefly below have both free and pro options and are available for mobile devices with iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android operating systems, though there is one for Microsoft devices. Other apps that are less powerful or flexible include Evernote Scannable (iOS only), Google Drive (Android only), and Scanner Pro (iOS only).

All of the following apps offer auto edge detection (auto-cropping a document) and some kind of auto-enhancement for each image. Most allow you to save images in color, black and white, or in the original photo version, and some allow you to further edit the contrast, rotation, brightness, and color of images. They all allow you to create multi-page PDF files or save images in other formats. They all store these scans and allow you to upload them to the usual cloud services, such as DropBox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc. You can also use most of them to print documents.

By far the most powerful of these apps are CamScanner and ABBYY FineScanner. These apps have a variety of paid plan levels above there free versions to add their many features bit by bit. The options that set them apart from other apps are the abilities to annotate, tag, OCR, collaborate with others, and save documents in a variety of formats. ABBYY’s FineScanner boasts their powerful OCR software that works in 193 languages (though it doesn’t translate them), has a BookScan feature that splits book scans into two pages and straightens any curved text lines, and allows you to save files in many more formats, while CamScanner can be used on iOS, Android, and Microsoft devices and provides a few more editing features than FineReader. To gain access to their advanced features, however, can be costly.

To get many of the same basic options, though not OCR, TurboScan (Google Play, iTunes), Tiny Scanner (Google Play, iTunes), and Microsoft Office Lens (Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft Store) offer free and low-cost pro versions.

Chart comparing scanning apps

A comparison of selected scanning apps.
Click image to enlarge.

*Please check with a Spencer reference librarian before scanning or photographing any collection materials.

Katie Lynn
University Archives Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Memorial Drive Edition

May 26th, 2016

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 27,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

In honor of Memorial Day, this week’s post highlights one of the war memorials on the KU campus.

Photograph of a car driving down Memorial Drive, 1940s

The road that became Memorial Drive, 1940s. In the background is Bailey Hall,
which used to have chimneys along its roof. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Memorial Drive 1940s Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of a couple walking along Memorial Drive, 1940s

A couple walking along an undeveloped Memorial Drive, 1940s.
They are near the west side of Snow Hall, shown in the background;
Jayhawk Boulevard is off the right side of the picture. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Memorial Drive 1940s Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Strong Hall Hangout Edition, Part II

May 19th, 2016

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 27,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of students sitting at the east entrance of Strong Hall, 1950s

Students sitting at the east entrance of Strong Hall, 1950s.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/87 1950s Prints:
Campus: Buildings: Strong Hall (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Meet the Staff: Kathy Lafferty

May 17th, 2016

Kathy Lafferty, Copy Services Manager, Public Services, Spencer Research Library.

Kathy Lafferty, Library Coordinator/Copy Services Manager
for Spencer Research Library’s Public Services Department

Where are you from?

Both sides of my family are from Ohio. My father joined the Navy shortly before my parents married, and I was born in San Diego, California. For most of my childhood I lived in Pennsylvania.  I’ve also lived in Ohio, New York and Tennessee.  However now, when people ask me where I’m from, I say Kansas.  I’ve lived here since 1983.

What does your job at Spencer entail?

My title is “Library Coordinator.” As a member of the Public Services staff, my main job is to manage and process the reproduction requests that come to Spencer. In addition, I serve on the reference desk and answer email reference inquiries.  I also assist with classes and tours.

How did you come to work at Spencer Research Library?

I started working at KU in June of 1984. My first job title was “Secretary.” I’ve served in the Engineering School, the Communications Studies Department, the Vice Chancellor for Information Services office, and have held several positions in Spencer Research Library. My first job in Spencer started in May of 1990, as secretary for the Kansas Collection.

What is the strangest item you’ve come across in Spencer’s collections?

I can’t think of anything “strange,” but there are things that I’m fond of, such as the Kansas City Monarchs baseball caps, Quantrill’s letters to his mother, the Cuneiform tablets, the fore-edge books, the “retired” KU mascot costumes, and the photograph collections.

What part of your job do you like the most?

I get great satisfaction from helping people find the information they need and from seeing them in awe over the materials we have. This includes the full range of our patrons, from preschool students to seasoned academic researchers.  I also enjoy selecting materials for our students to see and watching their reactions.

What are your favorite pastimes?

My favorite way to spend free time is to be with my granddaughters.  I love being a Grandma! I also enjoy trying to stay physically fit (so I can keep up with them) by walking and taking yoga, weight training and cycling classes. I like working on home projects, like cooking, gardening and decorating. And I watch a lot of old movies.

What piece of advice would you offer a researcher walking into Spencer Research Library for the first time?

I would advise a first time user to take advantage of the availability of KSRL subject specialists. This would be true for both on-site and remote patrons. Talk to our librarians and archivists to gain a deeper insight into our holdings and how they might be useful for you.

Kathy Lafferty
Library Coordinator/Copy Services Manager
Public Services
Spencer Research Library

Throwback Thursday: Homeward Bound Edition

May 12th, 2016

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 27,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

It’s finals week at KU, which means that most students will soon be leaving campus for the summer, many heading home. We selected today’s photograph with this in mind; it comes from a scrapbook created by former KU student Mayrea Noyes, which we highlighted previously for Valentine’s Day.

Photograph of Mayrea Noyes with friends, circa 1910

Mayrea Noyes with friends in a photograph she captioned “Homeward Bound.”
It may have been taken during the fall semester, 1910. Based on another photo
in the scrapbook and information from the KU Student Directory, the girls may have been
standing at 1414 Tennessee, where Mayrea lived during the 1910-1911 academic year.
Mayrea Noyes Scrapbook, University Archives. Call Number: SB 71/99 Noyes. Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants