Hi Lynn, I think there have been several such talks. I gave one at ECN 2010 (San Diego). The gist of the protocol was as follows:

Build a glass jig to hold the slides face down. I built three: The first to load, the second to unload, all while the third is in the process of scanning. I used an 8x10" piece of 1/16" glass, with plexiglass strips glued in a grid so as to leave 12 open rectangular slots for the slides.

For speed and ease of use, put pre-printed sticker-style unique identifier labels on the front of the slide.

Epson Scan software (free with a cheapo Epson flatbed scanner) allows you to select as many individual objects on the flatbed as you want. Thus, you can preselect your 12 slides in a preview scan based on their specific locations on your slide jig (you only need to do this once).

The same software also automatically names the individual image files sequentially per your specified starting point. Thus you input a prefix (e.g. UCD345) and a starting number (e.g. 001) to match the image file name to the slide's unique identifier (i.e. UCD345001.tiff, UCD345002.tiff, and so on). It is key to scan the slides in numerical order, or you'll have to find another solution for renaming your files.

I was able to label and scan 150 slides an hour scanning at 300 dpi. The only significant bottlenecks are if the slides are not in numerical order (per the unique identifiers) or if you want both sides of the slide in the same image file. If you do need to scan both sides, you can at least sandwich the slides under a second piece of glass and flip them over all at once.

Here are the relevant slides:

Good luck!


Colin Favret
University of Montreal

On Mon, May 5, 2014 at 11:25 AM, Lynn Kimsey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Some time ago at an ESA meeting (I think) I saw a presentation on using a flatbed scanner to image up to 12 glass slide-mounted specimens at the same time with the ability to treat each slide as a separate image. Do any of you know anything about this and who did the work? I have a grant to image and database our tardigrade collection and we’ll need to be able to image large numbers of specimens fairly quickly. OK I know these aren’t insects but I know the problem extends to any collection of slide-mounted arthropods.