Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Brewster Kahle speech at the Library of Congress

On Dec. 13, Brewster Kahle spoke at the Library of Congress as part of their series on the Digital Future. I have listened to his speech twice and will undoubtedly listen to it even more because it shows us the future of digitization and proves that the future is occurring today. (For a link to his speech, go to this page.)

We already know that in many regions, digitization is something dreamed of due to the lack of money and knowledgeable resources. Some of us are fortunate to be in localities that have digitization vendors and training courses. For many who are involved in digitization, it is a time-consuming and costly venture. However, Brewster Kahle's speech (and accompanying photos) show us a world where digitization is inexpensive and truly changing what people access and how they access it. In his speech, he talks about digitizing books and then printing them on demand quite inexpensively. This could change the paradigm used by libraries of being lenders and make them low-cost booksellers instead.

Most amazing was the fact that he talked about digitizing a book for $10.00 by using a robotic scanner. Of course, automation always lowers the cost of something, but many of our projects cannot be automated, so we often see costs of $10.00 per page.

Now that he has shown us the future, we need to make this future a reality not only in some places, but everywhere. What he shows is too important for any of us to miss.

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