Digitization Process

The Digital Initiatives Center uses knowledge and experience acquired over years of digitization practice. FIU Law Library’s digitization efforts started with the purchase of a simple flatbed scanner and have grown into a comprehensive digitization process utilizing the specialized skills of trained digitization professionals and shared hardware and software resources. Our workflows and processes are freely available, published through our institutional repository, eCollections @ FIU Law Library.

Scanning Documents

FIU Law Library’s Special Collections materials are the focus of the digitization efforts. These materials are fragile resources that require special care and handling. Through our partnership with FIU Digital Collections Center and Academic Imaging Services, FIU IT, digitization is performed on a purpose-driven basis utilizing equipment designed to scan our unique materials.

ATIZ BookDrive Pro – used to scan fragile items

EPSON Expression 10000XL – used to scan individual pages or manuscripts

Kirtas KABIS III – used to scan over-sized books

Quartz A0 HD – used to scan over-sized and especially fragile materials

Editing and Quality Control

All images go through an intensive editing and quality control process. Each image is checked for scanning errors, and sets are read to check for missing content. Each image is color corrected, de-skewed and cropped as needed to ensure that the image captured represents the document scanned. All images are 300 dpi resolution.

Editing and quality control is performed on site using Adobe Photoshop. Our student assistants perform this important work, essential for producing high-quality images.


Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process by which the scanned images are read by OCR software to capture the text contained in the image. The purpose of OCR is to enable machine readers to read the text in the images; OCR enables full text searching and crawling by internet search engines once uploaded to eCollections, reading by software used for ADA accommodation, and translation of languages. Images are simultaneously combined into a single PDF file during the process. Two softwares are utilized depending on the item type:

  1. Prime OCR Recognition

Prime OCR is heavily relied upon due to the high-level of OCR achieved. Each document is set to its particular language, type set (font, hand-written, etc.) and justification (columns, paragraph, free-form).

  1. ABBYY FineReader 12, at Digital Initiatives Center, FIU Law Library (two licenses).

This program is used when documents are not as complex, for example, English language and paragraph format. Images produced have high visual quality, are full-text searchable, and are acceptable for long-term digital archiving.


As a final file conversion step, the resulting PDF from Prime OCR or ABBYY FineReader is  optimized. Optimization in Adobe Acrobat Pro produces smaller-sized files, that enables and ensures shortest download speeds for our eCollections user.

Upload and Metadata Assignment

After digitization, the resulting optimized PDF files are uploaded to eCollections. Each item is uploaded individually by a cataloging librarian and metadata is assigned at the time of upload using the form created for the particular sub-collection.

The Digital Initiatives Center also stores the archival TIFF files on local servers. These images, along with the physical collections, are preserved by FIU Law Library an available to legal scholars on request.