RIT’s Famed Middleton Collection Now Available to the World

RIT partners with Kirtas Technologies to make rare books accessible to view and purchase




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RIT Cary Collection

Bible, France, early 13th century

Housed within Rochester Institute of Technology’s Cary Graphic Arts Collection is the Bernard C. Middleton Collection, one of the finest resources in the world for the study of bookbinding history and practice.

And as ironic as it may seem, even a collection of books about bookbinding can find a place to call home in the online world. RIT and Kirtas Technologies, headquartered in Victor, N.Y., announced today that RIT’s famed Middleton Collection is available on Kirtasbooks.com, joining the growing number of content partners providing collections and titles to the site.

Using existing information from the Cary Collection’s catalog records, Kirtas is able to offer access to the collection through its own retail site, www.kirtasbooks.com, and will soon be available through the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press Website, www.carypress.rit.edu. What makes this initiative unique is that the books can be offered for sale at cost-conscious prices before they are ever digitized so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost.

“We are delighted to participate in this groundbreaking venture with Kirtas,” says David Pankow, Cary Collection curator. “Imaging and innovation are the hallmarks of RIT and the Rochester community and our partnership with Kirtas is another example of that spirit.”

Kirtas currently has 12 partnerships with universities and public libraries to make special collections available for sale online. Virtually any library with a modern records database can participate in the Digitize on Demand (DOD) program. Distribution rights are non-exclusive so that books can also be made available through other distribution channels at a library’s request.

“We’re thrilled to have RIT on board as a partner in this initiative,” says Kirtas founder and CEO Lotfi Belkhir. “Our business is built around providing high-quality images, and the historic role RIT has played in imaging technology is clearly significant to us. We’ve had a collaborative relationship with RIT on various projects in the past, and I’m glad we’ve been able to build upon it.”

Photo Caption: This book from the 1800s, The New Bibliophile’s Armorial. Amateur’s Guide to Heraldic Device Books, by Joannis Guigard, is one of several hundred rare titles from the RIT Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding now available for online viewing and as printed facsimile editions.

About RIT

Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. Nearly 16,500 full- and part-time students are enrolled in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs at RIT, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2009 edition of The Best 368 Colleges and in Barron’s Best Buys in Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT as a “Great College to Work For.”

About Kirtas Technologies

Kirtas Technologies has pioneered and perfected the technology used today in quality, high-speed, nondestructive mass book digitization. A proven workflow ensuring superior image quality, advanced search capabilities, unique archiving technology, and extensive metadata enabling multiple output options that stand the test of time are what set Kirtas apart and keep it at the forefront of the digital revolution. Learn more at www.kirtas.com.

200903/cary_bible.jpg

RIT Cary Collection

Bible, France, early 13th century