Book Scanning Made Simple

By Deane Barker on December 29, 2003

Book-scanning uncovered: A nice look at a book scanning machine.

A technician lays the book onto a special cradle inside the machine and air jets gently fluff up pages on the right side. A robotic arm swings over the book and sucks up one page with a special vacuum, and pulls the page over. Two more robotic arms then swing over and flatten out the pages with clear plastic clamps.

I love this idea. When I was a kid, I lived in the public library. I just loved the idea that so much knowledge was contained in the books around me. I have a subscription to O’Reilly’s Safari, and I love that so many books are available to me, on demand.

The words “archives” and “library” give me goosebumps. This article almost got me teary-eyed, thinking about its implications. I have professional fantasies of becoming a librarian.

All my hopes and dreams for the Internet are riding on machines like this. I want every printed word in the history of Mankind available instantly. Is that too much to ask? I have a huge smile on my face right now, just thinking about it.