Scans are made with a scanning camera connected to a standard PC. The tried and tested SilverFast Ai software is used for scanning. The software enables herbarium specimens to be scanned in RAW – format. This raw data is then saved on a server.

With the help of the SilverFast HDR software, the second PC converts the scanned raw data into a readable image format. In order to do this, the raw data is loaded from the server, optimized (color, contrast, brightness) and saved again on the server in the desired format. The result is validated on a profiled graphic monitor.

First automating steps for scanning workplace

The aim of museums and botanical collections that wish to present themselves on the world stage is to digitize at high quality as many herbarium specimens as possible from now on. Herbarium specimens have been scanned for some time. However, the degree of automation of these solutions is very low, so that only a small number of herbarium specimens can be scanned each day. The University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover has analyzed industrial production workflows and derived approaches for scanning herbarium specimens.
Automation is divided into three development focus points:
  1. Scanner–workplace with control mode,
  2. Technology management for scanning,
  3. System solutions taking staff into account.
Use of a controlled rotary indexing table provides new possibilities to improve performance. The image shows a base unit that can be equipped with panel lights, a standard camera column and a scanning camera (see graphic).

The rotary indexing table allows a new herbarium specimen to be loaded while another one is scanned. Apart from the time needed for scanning and turning the table 180°, the user determines the timing of the machine.
The rotary indexing table can be controlled with a standard PC connected through a USB port. The scanner software is also installed on this computer. The rotary indexing table can be accessed from this computer without any problems using Herbar Digital Control software (HDC). Turnover of herbarium specimens may be considerably enhanced with the controlled rotary indexing table. Access is also much easier, as the herbarium specimens are not reloaded directly under the panel lights. The fundamental performance characteristics of this basic solution are:
  • Scanning from small to large batches
  • Adjustable rotating speed (3-12 rpm)
  • Semi-automatic operation
The rotary indexing table is inserted into the base table, so that there is no risk of injury. The turntable is 1150mm in diameter and is suitable for sheet sizes from A3 to A2.