Digitizing a Diary

Dear Donia,
Can you recommend a company that can create a high-quality, book-like digital diary?

Book scanning

 

Q. Dear Donia,

My father kept a diary of his 35 missions as a bombardier over Germany and France in 1944. I would like to have this professionally digitized so that I can give copies to my family and donate copies to several museums, including the Smithsonian and the 8th Air Force Museum. Can you recommend a company that can create a high-quality, book-like digital diary? I am not satisfied with what I have tried to produce myself. Thank you, Karin
 

A. Dear Karin,

I don't like to make specific vendor recommendations when I do not personally know the vendors and, not being from Virginia, I don't know any of the vendors in Arlington. What I can recommend is that you check with the university libraries (especially special collections) in your area. They may have digitization services for the public or have vendors they use that they can share with you. Also, if you know anyone with a university ID, they may be able to have the book done for you. Georgetown in particular has a book scanner available for Georgetown ID holders in the library.
 
If you look into vendors to perform the digitization for you, please be sure to get specific information on how they will digitize your father's diary. You want to look for someone with experience digitizing books that are old and need special handling. Also, be sure that you find someone who can digitize the book face up rather than on a flatbed scanner if the book is tightly bound. When you talk to whomever is going to do your digitization it is helpful to know the specifications you will want. The Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) has a handy resource on specifications for digital capture to get the best image you can use.
 
I'm sorry I cannot give you a specific vendor, but hopefully one of the universities can help.