Announcing 'Distributed Scanners' discussion group (Scanning public domain texts)

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Jon, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Jon

    Jon Guest

    [Feel free to redistribute this announcement to other forums where
    on-topic, such as scanning, graphics, books and publishing, library
    and archives, etc. Thanks.]

    .... Let's digitally scan all the world's public domain books! ...


    Several people privately expressed interest in the "Distributed
    Scanners" (DistScan) idea I recently outlined to the Book People
    forum. So, I've taken the next step and created a Yahoo discussion
    group to further explore this idea -- to see if it has any legs. You
    are invited to join -- refer to the info at the end of this message.)

    To summarize the idea: Is there interest and need for a
    volunteer-driven, large-scale distributed scanning project of public
    domain books and other documents modeled after (where applicable)
    Distributed Proofreaders?

    The full group description, and the current expanded summary of the
    idea (which will undoubtedly change and improve over time as we better
    understand the various issues) is given at:

    To be clear, this group does not actually launch the project, but
    rather serves only to bring together sharp, like-minded people to
    explore the idea -- to see if there is a "working formula" that makes
    sense, and if we can assemble a core group of people with the needed
    skill sets and interest to be able to successfully launch the project.

    The goal, of course, is to accelerate the high-quality scanning of
    public domain texts. It is not intended to be competitive with other
    projects to scan the public domain, such as those managed by the
    Internet Archive (e.g. OCA), but rather to augment and possibly even
    work in cooperative fashion with those projects (including
    Distributed Proofreaders.)

    Please read carefully the group description at the above URL. If you
    wish to comment on this message, I encourage you to join the group and
    post your comment there. Or, email it to me in private and I may
    post it to the group (with your identity removed unless requested

    Anyone interested in scanning the public domain (whether a private
    individual or representing an institution) is invited to participate.
    We definitely need people with expertise in a very wide range of
    areas. Since DistScan will likely have many components, you are
    probably expert in one of them! Do join and contribute to the


    Jon Noring

    (p.s., there are three ways to subscribe to the DistScan group:

    1) Use your YahooID and click on the "Join This Group!" button at the
    above URL.

    2) Send a blank email to:

    (No need to get a YahooID to subscribe this way.)

    3) Ask me to subscribe you with the email address you want to use. No
    need to get a YahooID to subscribe this way.)
    Jon, Dec 19, 2005
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  2. Jon

    Jon Guest

    I appreciate your reply.

    I am quite familiar with both Project Gutenberg (PG) and its ally
    Distributed Proofreaders (DP). I've known Michael Hart for years as
    part of the ebook community, and even attended the first Project
    Gutenberg "face-to-face" meeting December 2003 at the Internet
    Archive headquarters in San Francisco. I've contributed to DP as
    well, and been in close consultation with the DP founders. I also
    have met Brewster Kahle (head of the Internet Archive) several times
    and am quite familiar with his various projects, including OCA.

    So, with that "bio" out of the way, let me reply very briefly, then,
    to your comment.

    Project Gutenberg is focused on producing "structured digital
    texts" (SDT) of public domain books. They have little interest in page
    scans in and of themselves (which are images, not SDT) except as an
    intermediary in the SDT production process.

    DP also does book scanning, but at low-rez and only for SDT production
    (they supply most of PG's etexts these days).

    The Internet Archive manages a couple projects to produce high-quality
    scans of books (primarily as part of OCA), but that is focused towards
    large institutional collections and NOT using volunteers in any
    meaningful capacity.

    Thus, the interest in creating a volunteer-driven book scanning
    project, Distributed Scanners. That is the topic of the post, to see
    if the idea has legs, and if so, how should it be organized. I believe
    there is a need, and it would certainly work with other existing
    scanning projects, such as OCA. It would not work in a vacuum,
    oblivious to all else that is going on.

    Note that I *have* posted the DistScan group announcement to the PG
    list already, since there are a few PG/DP volunteers interested in
    the DistScan idea.

    Again, thanks for your reply.

    Jon Noring
    Jon, Dec 19, 2005
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