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Made in Our Hometown: Kirtas
Victor, N.Y. - From a small office park, a business in Victor has made a name for itself as a world leader. Kirtas, a spin-off of Xerox, started in 2001 and now has a presence on six of the seven continents.
Its products do many things, including preserving Rochester history. For example, a scrapbook of articles from the day Fredrick Douglass died in 1895. The articles are true history. They are also falling apart from age. So how does the Rochester Public Library let people see them, but still preserve them?
They scan them into digital form. The library has been doing it for about 10 years, thanks in large part to a scanner made by Kirtas.
Michael Maxwell is the Director of Worldwide Sales for Kirtas. He explains the company has, "the ability to take older documents and books that are bound and digitize them so that that information, sometimes there are only one or two copies left in the world can be preserved and can also be made accessible."
Kirtas has developed different kinds of scanners for all sorts of jobs. Two years ago it merged with I2S making it able to offer even more variety - scanners for jobs that are big, small, bound, not bound, maps, art, drawings, you name it.
Some of the 15 employees in Victor have written software that allows the sharing of data once it's scanned, be it a PDF, JPG or Bitmap.
The scanners are used all over the world, often by universities and governments. It's big for genealogical research too says Maxwell, "If you want to go back and find information about your relatives, not only where they were born or where they lived but also some interesting cultural information about what they did. Did they contribute to the community; were they a leader in the community? That type of information is uniquely captured in those local newspapers."
The Rochester Public Library was one of Kirtas' first customers.
Using the Kirtas scanner the library staff has done several project including digitizing articles about Rochester's Korean War soldiers. They've also digitized yearbooks from local high schools and, proving very popular, the city and many of the suburban directories from 1827 until 1940.
City Historian Christine Ridarsky says, "As a researcher myself I know that having access to collections online just changes the whole way research is done and it really makes it easier for people at any level."
It's all right on the library's website. And so much of it is thanks to Kirtas, a world class hometown company based in Victor.
In addition, the library has been so happy with scanner, it is now trying out Kirtas' new software launched over the summer.