The Digital Production Lab | Headquarters for Pan Am’s Digital Archive

Left to right: Manager of Digital Production Veronica Cabrera uses a bound copy of Clipper Magazine from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records to review best scanning practices with student assistant Corey Fehlberg.

By Cory Czajkowski

A few steps beyond the main elevator on the third floor of the Otto G. Richter Library is a generic looking door numbered 346. Despite its ordinary exterior, this door leads to an extraordinary workspace known as the Digital Production Lab (DPL), where skilled imaging specialists convert a wide variety of traditional library materials into digital formats, including printed books, journals, photographs, maps, manuscripts, fine art, and more.

The faculty, staff, and student assistants of the DPL represent an evolving circulation system that has become a prevailing focal point in the University of Miami Libraries’ (UML) mission to open worlds. In this case, rather than simply delivering printed, physical materials to library patrons in-person, the Lab instead offers local and distant users free access to digital surrogates that span the Libraries’ vast collections and strengthen the foundations of teaching, learning, and research at the University. Perhaps most importantly, the DPL’s expert team ensures the long-term preservation of UML’s unique digital content for future generations of scholars.

For the past 1.5 years, the Lab has fittingly served as the heart of operations for the digitization of materials from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records under a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Whether scanned in-house or off-site, the DPL acted as both the starting point and finish line for 60 boxes of brochures, timetables, directories, and periodicals from the Printed Materials series of the Pan Am collection. The combined efforts have since added over 100,000 new images to UML’s Digital Collections, where they are fully text searchable and available for browsing and research.

Interim Associate Dean for Digital Strategies & Head of Digital Production Laura Capell worked with Digitization Project Manager Gabriella Williams to manage the complex workflows involved with preparing the Pan Am boxes for either of two scanning destinations: in-house with the DPL team, or off-site at Creekside Digital, a leading digitization vendor based in Glen Arm, Maryland.

“For a project of this scale, one of the first considerations was the groundwork laid by our staff and students to carefully record each box item-by-item, while maintaining the original order of the folders and verifying the information listed for each document was complete and accurate,” says Capell. “All 60 boxes were assigned specific digitization instructions for each individual item, which we call ‘technician’s notes’, to help make sure our team and the vendor were on the same page, so to speak.”

Imaging specialists in the Lab use a variety of equipment to digitally preserve materials from UML’s collections.

For in-house scanning, the staff and students of the DPL employed a variety of specialized imaging equipment designed for a wide range of formats. Former Digital Production Technician David Almeida captured high quality images of Pan Am’s oversized posters and maps with the DigiBook SupraScan and used the Atiz BookDrive Pro for smaller bound objects, such as Clipper Magazine, one of the airline’s in-flight publications. Veronica Cabrera, manager of Digital Production, was responsible for the grant’s file management and the Lab’s color calibration, ensuring digital surrogates had the highest level of quality and accessibility.

Additionally, Cabrera supervised the work of two assistants—UM students who have since become fascinated with the records of the former aviation giant. Corey Fehlberg, a student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, performed quality control reviews of the outsourced Clipper Magazine. He inspected the gutters, or inside margins, of the bound periodical and brochure images produced by Creekside Digital to make sure no information was lost during scanning, ensured that all technical image specifications were met, and verified that the technician’s notes were accurately followed. “The quality control work required my undivided attention, and the experience has taught me to look at the materials from a researcher’s perspective, which has been both challenging and rewarding,” says Fehlberg. Daniel Correa-Manzor, a sophomore studying computer science, assisted with the in-house scanning of selected Pan Am materials. “As an undergrad, it’s incredible to have the opportunity to handle and be a part of the long-term preservation of the archive,” says Correa-Manzor. “It’s fun to imagine that someday my grandchildren will be able to view the work I did as a student under this grant.”

UML welcomed new Digital Production Technician John Hay earlier this year. Hay has been collaborating with Robert Largaespada, a long-time DPL technician who has worked on several grant-funded digital projects. “It’s great to be a part of a team of like-minded individuals at the DPL,” says Hay. “Working with materials on the history of aviation and Florida is exciting. I feel privileged to be a part of the expansion of new approaches to digitization.”

The culmination of these efforts has resulted in the extensive archive of digital images representing Pan Am’s Printed Materials series. The complete digital collection is now available to the public on the University of Miami Libraries’ Digital Collections web site.

Photos by Brittney Bomnin and Gisele Rocha

Left to right: Digital Production Technicians Robert Largaespada and John Hay perform quality control checks on scanned documents from the Pan Am collection.





Mainly Mozart Festival 2018

Charles D. Eckman, Ph.D.
Dean of Libraries, University of Miami

Produced by the Miami Chamber Music Society, the Mainly Mozart Festival is one of the most beloved and respected chamber music series in Miami, consistently presenting exceptional classical artists to the South Florida community.

The University of Miami Libraries are thrilled to have the honor of hosting the 25th anniversary season of the Mainly Mozart Festival. This year all regular season concerts and lectures will take place at the beautiful new Kislak Center at the University of Miami. In addition to its dazzling architecture, the Kislak Center was built to meet acoustical requirements for musical performances and provides state of the art audio-visual technology.

I look forward to welcoming you to the Kislak Center, a place of learning and discovery for the entire community, and to celebrate the 25th anniversary season of the Mainly Mozart Festival.

About the Kislak Center

At the heart of UM’s Coral Gables campus, a former lecture hall has been renovated and transformed into a place of learning and discovery to benefit the entire community: the Kislak Center at the University of Miami. Established with a landmark gift to the University of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Early Americas, Exploration and Navigation, the Center houses the departments of Special Collections and University Archives and features a grand reading room in which to serve researchers and visitors from anywhere in the world. The Center hosts public programming for the University’s centers, institutes, schools, colleges, and libraries during the evening and weekend hours, and the gallery showcases items from the vaults of these distinctive collections. Learn more.



Caribbean Fragments | A Library-Wide Exhibit Complements a Special Report on the University’s Close Relationship With Its Island Neighbors

Since its founding more than 90 years ago, the University of Miami has forged deep connections with the Caribbean. Faculty, students, and alumni travel throughout the islands, learning from diverse populations, providing assistance to underserved communities, and strengthening bonds. Cuba and the Caribbean, a special report recently produced by UM News in collaboration with academic units across the University including the Libraries, highlights the U’s varied activities in the Caribbean in areas such as environmental and anthropological research, healthcare, arts and culture, policy, and business.

Complementing the publication of Cuba and the Caribbean, a major exhibition has transformed the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library and the Cuban Heritage Collection’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. Caribbean Fragments comprises a selection of historical documents, artifacts, manuscripts, and rare books from UML’s Cuban Heritage Collection, Special Collections, University Archives, and the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, and offers a point of departure for reflection on the research and discovery that spawn new hemispheric insights.

Caribbean Fragments was co-curated by Beatrice Skokan, curator for Caribbean Collections and interim Esperanza Bravo de Varona Chair of the CHC, and Dr. Martin Tsang, CHC librarian and curator for Latin American Collections.

Seascapes and Mindscapes

Visiting artist Leandro Soto, whose work is represented among the CHC’s holdings, has reimagined the exhibition space as a seascape—a fluid, ever-changing ocean that permeates not only the archipelago’s geography, but the imagination of its inhabitants. Inviting viewers to navigate their own experiences and emotions as they explore the objects on view, the immersive environment evokes the circulating currents of spirituality that permeate the region, the profound influence of maritime travel and migration on its evolution, and the ebbs and flows of its eternal complexities.

To view the special University report on Cuba and the Caribbean, visit cuba.miami.edu.



New and Improved uSearch

A new and improved interface for uSearch, the University of Miami Libraries’ online system for discovering and accessing materials, is rolling out this summer. You can get a sneak peek at the new interface now: http://library.miami.edu/usearch-new/

We invite you to explore the new uSearch interface. While the current uSearch system remains available, your search results in either version will be the same, and any action you take in one version will be reflected in the other, for example, if you renew a book or save an item to your My Favorites.

The new interface has a cleaner look, is optimized for use on phones and tablets, and gives access to more information with fewer clicks. Learn more about key features and how to use the new uSearch: https://sp.library.miami.edu/subjects/guide.php?subject=U2

If you have any comments or concerns about the new uSearch, please send us your feedback: http://library.miami.edu/usearch-feedback/