24 setembro 2004

3 Ways to Scan a Library
Books today are written on laptops, typeset on PCs, and pumped out on digital presses. But ironically, the most efficient way to create an electronic library is to scan the printed page. The technology has come a long way since the days of the Kurzweil machines - hulking, 1-ton scanner/optical character recognition combos that emerged in the early 1980s. Today, the biggest archiving projects use some combination of these three methods.

Tear Off the Spines
Using a paper guillotine (which looks just like its Bastille cousin), a book's pages are simply lopped off of the binding and sent through a scanner with an automatic page feeder. High-end machines cost $25,000 and churn through 90 black-and-white pages per minute, front and back. Rare books need not apply.

Ship It Overseas
Workers in India, China, and the Philippines earn about 40 cents an hour to manually turn pages that are zapped by $15,000 overhead scanners. Carnegie Mellon's Million Book Project alone employs more than 100 Indians for this activity. The Indian government views it as a boon to local employment.

Hire a Robot
Flipping pages is more complicated than meets the eye, but robots are getting the hang of it. Earlier this year, Kirtas Technologies introduced a bot that has both an overhead scanner and an automated page-turning arm. While a book sits open in a special cradle, the arm swoops down, grabs the top page with gentle suction, and turns it. The machine boasts a speed of 1,200 pages an hour, but justifying its six-figure price to frugal librarians is tough.

And why all this, prithee?

for The Great Library of Amazonia or the best way to sell books ever!!

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