As the Smithsonian works to digitize its collection of 137 million items, the Digitization Program Office has turned to the National Numismatic Collection housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History along with other legal tender such as bank notes, tax stamps and war bonds. The 250,000 pieces of paper will become the Institution’s first full-production “rapid capture” digitization project.
Last summer, the Digitization Office captured the bumblebees at the National Museum of Natural History. Earlier this month, the Freer and Sackler galleries made their entire collections of 40,000 works available digitally, the first Smithsonian museums to do so.
The term “rapid capture” refers to the speed of the workflow. Before this process was in place, digitizing a single sheet could take as much as 15 minutes, at a cost of $10 per sheet. Now, the team works through 3,500 sheets a day, at less than $1 per sheet.
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