Libraries without Walls

A project of the Wladyslaw Poniecki Charitable Foundation, Inc.

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Libraries Without Walls is a non-profit organization serving libraries, museums and archives.

Library Partners

Libraries Without Walls has been privileged to work with the following libraries and institutions, since its inception in 2006.

P45 Scanning Sensor


For its overhead studio camera work Libraries Without Walls commonly employes a Kodak full frame CCD scanning sensor. The scanning element is manufactured on one unified chip. This means that no internal stitching or boundary areas exist inside the dimensions of the sensor's image area. The resulting digital back is identified as a 39 megapixel digital capture sensor. We mount the P45 onto a Mamiya 645 camera body for studio and in situ work.

• The following detailed technical specifications are provided for those who wish to review them.
Color filter :
Pixels (Active):
CCD size (Active):
Pixel size:
Image ratio:
Image output:
Full frame CCD
Red, green, blue
7216 x 5412
49.1 x 36.8 mm
6.8 x 6.8 micron
48 bits (16 bit per color)
8 f-stops Information:


Lighting: Preview, histogram, exposure warning, ISO image browsing, deleting, zooming, ISO and white balance setting
Flash, tungsten, day-light, fluorescent, HMI
Digital Image:

Color depth:
Dynamic range:
Single exposure:
Two exposure: 16 bit per color
12 f-stop
7216 x 5412 pixels
24 bit RGB: 112 MB
48 bit RGB: 224 MB
64 bit CMYK: 299 MB
10,600 x 7216 pixels
24 bit RGB: 219 MB
48 bit RGB: 438 MB
64 bit CMYK: 585 MB Operating conditions:



Camera models:

P45 0° to 50ºC (32º to 122ºF)

15 to 80% RH (non-condensing)

Hasselblad V, Hasselblad H, Mamiya 645 AFD or Contax 645AF


Camera System:

Capture rate:
Writing speed to CF:
Battery type:
Battery lifetime:
Exposure time:

IR filter:
Orientation: 50, 100, 200, 400

35 frames/min.

Up to 20Mb/sec. depending on CF card
Lithium ion
250 captures/4 hours.
Several minutes to less than 1/10000
Mounted on CCD
Automatic image rotation (patented)


Endangered Collections Digitization Project

About the Project

One of the barriers to systematic digitization efforts is the capitalization of equipment needed to produce and maintain quality images. When libraries do not have access to the proper equipment or resources, the result is either that no action is taken to preserve important endangered collections through digitization, or that inferior low-cost processes are employed. Commonly, the latter results in files that cannot be used over time or cannot be repurposed for scholarly or research purposes. The Endangered Collections Digitization Project seeks to provide high-resolution professional digitization equipment for libraries and collections that would otherwise not be able to engage in needed digitization work.

Through an agreement negotiated with the Internet Archive, Libraries Without Walls will identify collections needing preservation digitization attention, will seek Foundation and Individual financial sponsorship, and will provide the necessary hardware and software at cost, and manage application logistics. When the images are intended for open public access and widespread availability, the Internet Archive will provide storage of the image databases in their mirrored sites in San Francisco, Alexandria, Egypt, and the Hague, The Netherlands.

Facsimile Editions (Purchase one and make a contribution to Libraries Without Walls)

Libraries Without Walls is proud to make available a few outstanding print facsimile reproductions of great books. These will be of particular interest to collectors, fine book enthusiasts and libraries.

By special arrangement with the distributors, a proportion of the sales price of each of the facsimiles made available under this offer, will be contributed to Libraries Without Walls to support the ongoing digitization of other similarly important cultural treasures.

Book of Kells

The first and only perfect facsimile editionof the Book of Kells was meticulously photographed, printed and published in association with Trinity College Library, Dublin in 2006. In all, 1,480 copies of this exquisitely-crafted facsimile(size 9-1/2" x 13") was published. Of these, but a handful remain for purchase, which makes this offer particularly valuable.

The Book of Kells is a manuscript which eclipsed all other artistic and cultural achievements of the early Middle Ages. The original work was created around AD 800 by Irish monks to glorify the life of Christ. The first mention of this work of art is probably the entry in the Annals of Ulster under the year 1007 which records that "The great gospel of Columcille, the chief relic of the western world, was wickedly stolen during the night... on account of its wrought shrine. That Gospel was found after 20 nights and two months with its gold stolen from it, buried in the ground." The manuscript remained in Kells until it was entrusted to Trinity College around 1661.

The Book of Kells contains the Latin text of the four Gospels, preceded by prefaces, summaries and canon table with concordances compiled by Eusebius of Caesarea. The manuscript occupies a place of extraordinary importance in the history of art, in paleography and in linguistics. Of its 680 pages, all but two are decorated with a wealth of symbolic imagery which is woven into countless intricate designs. More than 30 folios present full page paintings which are some of the best known and loved images of the period.

Until the existing small supply is exhausted, the Book of Kells facsimiles are available in one of two editions: the more deluxe version features a facsimile of the treasure binding in which the books are, today, preserved at Dublin. The cost (in US Dollars) is between $13,000 and $17,000 depending on the binding selected. Needless to say, in addition to gracing a family collection of important books in Western Civilization, this facsimile would also make a wonderful gift to the library of an alma mater, or a community church.

An inspection can be arranged by writing to:

Gutenberg: Biblia Latina (Pelplin copy)

Johannes Gutenberg's 600th birthday was celebrated in Peplin, Poland, by the commencement of a world-class printed facsimile of the 42-line Bible that has been in its possession almost since Gutenberg released it from his workshop. Of the 180 or so copies of the original two-volume edition that Gutenberg published between 1452-1455, only some three dozen known copies remain in existence throughout the world. One of the earliest has been in the possession of the Diocese of Pelplin, in Poland.

Jan Dlugosz (Johannes Longinus, 1415-1480), the medieval Polish historiographer, described Pelplin in his writings, paying much attention to its massive and important Cistercian monastery. In 1821 Pelplin became the capital of the Chelmno Diocese. The diocesan theological seminar was moved to Pelplin, a printing office was established, and the Cistercian's started a number of schools of secondary and advanced education. In short order, the town became a vital educational center for the entire region of Pomarania. At the turn of the 19th Century, the town was given the sobriquet "The Pomeranian Athens."

In 1939 Pelplin was threatened by the advancing Nazi forces. The Rev. Dr. Antoni Liedtke carried the precious copy of Gutenberg's Bible away to safety in an inconspicuous suitcase. He took it on its first leg to freedom to Paris, and thence it was promptly removed by the Polish flagship "Batory" to Canada for safekeeping. It remain, secured in a Canadian bank vault, until February 24, 1959 when it was ceremoniously returned to Pelplin by the Canadian Government that had been its caretaker for the War and post-War years.

The technologies employed to create the present facsimile edition are among the most advanced in contemporary use. Digital photographs were taken by specialists from Keio University in Japan. Special paper was meticulously crafted to the surface characteristics and caliper of the original, including carefully reproduced and positioned watermarks (as in the original.) Goatskins were prepared with vegetable tanning ingredients (as would have been used in Gutenberg's own workshop) for the binding. And the original binding (one of the very rare exemplars surviving from Gutenberg's time without having been restored or redone in new contemporary materials) was carefully reproduced.

Every step of the reproduction process was made as authentic as possible, and assiduously checked against the original for veracity and faithfulness. Even the "inconspicuous suitcase" that carried the original to safety during WWII has been reproduced to exacting facsimile standards!

Great Libraries of the World (GLOW)

Libraries Without Walls is producing a series of one-hour television programs entitled "Great Libraries of the World." These will be offered for broadcast on PBS channels across the nation, once the requisite number have been produced and are ready for broadcast.

The impetus for the series began some years ago, when a team of supporters first rallied to the idea. In the interim, however, the dialog has grown in sophistication about the consequence of digitized online library collections, searching with critical evaluation about authoritativeness, the role of libraries (and librarians) in society, and the funding of cultural heritage institutions in general.

Image Collections

Alice in Wonderland

In 1865 the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson published a slim children's book under the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll". Read as a children's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a rollicking fantasy populated by anthropomorphic animals, magic potions, an army of playing cards, and whimsical poetry. Since its publication, however, careful readers have discovered sophisticated mathematical puzzles and riddles, psychological insights, and have enjoyed a wonderful variety of interpretations (see, for example, Mark Burstein's paper on the subject) about the work's literary and psychological merit.

Alice in Wonderland has attracted readers all over the world. The book has been translated and issued in multiple languages. Many talented graphic designers and artists have undertaken to provide illustrations to match the imaginative fantasy Dodgson created.

Dr. Sandor Burstein, a retired physician who lives in San Francisco, began to collect editions and memorabilia related to Lewis Carroll three decades ago. (Cf.: Rare Book Search and Research.) Today, his son, Mark, maintains the collection. They have made some of the very old, rare, and international editions available for digitizing and online comparison.

You can enjoy each edition in detail by clicking on a selected cover (below). This will cause a new window with a Libraries Without Walls "book viewer", in which you can browse among the individual pages in the selected edition.

Some of the editions may still be in process, if they have been recently added to the database. If the book viewer is temporarily empty, please check back in a day or so.

Were you to be interested in providing financial support for the digitization of collections of similar nature, please write:

Felix Klein Protocols

Late in 2006 Libraries Without Walls received a grant from the Clay Mathematics Institute to digitize the scientific notebooks ("protokols") maintained by mathematician Felix Klein from 1872-1912, while Klein was Professor of Mathematics and doing advanced mathematical research.

Klein was Professor of Mathematics
...1872-1875 at the University of Erlangen
...1875-1880 at the Technical University (Technische Hochschule) in Munich
...1880-1886 at the University of Leipzig
...and from 1886-1913 at the University of Goettingen.

The protokols are not only filled with his mathematical conjectures and results, but reveal the versatile mind of one of the foremost researchers of the contemporary era. In addition, many pages are simply beautiful.

The entire collection of 29 volumes of notebooks was digitized in a marathon effort that took only 4 days, due to the logistic and handling techniques that have been developed for the efficient and least-intrusive digitization of bound materials. Digital Photographer, Ardon Bar Hama, outdid himself on this project, and the results are worth the effort.

The images are currently being optimized for viewing (deskewing, cropping, and file conversion). Each journal will be put on display on this site as each is sequentially completed.


In order to view the pages of the individual journal protokols, click on its cover in the table, below. (Its probably best to select one of the early notebooks, given that the notebooks are being uploaded in chronological order, and the more recent ones will be empty for a few more days.)

Clicking on a cover will open a Libraries Without Walls' "book viewer page." That page includes some user tools in the left-hand navigation bar, which will enable you to navigate from page to page. If you choose to view the notebook pages in "thumbnail view" (lower tool in the navigation bar) you'll be able to see the individual pages of a journal. Once you are in that view, clicking any page of interest to you will enable you to magnify the image to a resolution of your convenience.

If you are interested in supporting the digitization of collections of similar stature, please write:

Libraries without Walls is a project of the Wladyslaw Poniecki Charitable Foundation, Inc.,
a California non-profit organization eligible under Section 501(c)3 code of the Internal Revenue Service, as amended.