photo originally from akseabird
I’m pretty skeptical when people call anything for sale “revolutionary.” However, a friend sent me this photo which was up on Flickr. It’s a tool called the Bookeye book scanner. It’s a library digitzation product, but if you look at the photo, it’s being used as a tool for the public — or University of Alaska at Anchorage students — to scan documents to PDF, JPG, TIFF or PNG and then save to USB drive, burn them to a CD, ftp them, save them to a network drive or email them to themselves. Their website even has usage stats that shows what people did with the first million pages they scanned. Good data, and it’s broken down by library type which is even more interesting to me, to see the differences in usage patterns. [thanks manuel]
The Chronicle of Higher Ed has a short blurb and the dean of libraries Paul Courant has a longer post on his own blog.
The University of Michigan has hit the “one million books scanned” milestone. As far as I know Michigan is the first library to have one million books from its own collections digitized and available for search (and, when in the public domain, available for viewing.)
For more about the scanning project generally including some insight into why people call it controversial, there’s a good long article from Campus technology (link to printable version, all on one page) which gos into the logistics of the scanning program in some depth.
When it comes down to it, then, this brave new world of book search probably needs to be understood as Book Search 1.0. And maybe participants should not get so hung up on quality that they obstruct the flow of an astounding amount of information. Right now, say many, the conveyor belt is running and the goal is to manage quantity, knowing that with time the rest of what’s important will follow. Certainly, there’s little doubt that in five years or so, Book Search as defined by Google will be very different. The lawsuits will have been resolved, the copyright issues sorted out, the standards settled, the technologies more broadly available, the integration more transparent.