Brewster Kahle, director of the nonprofit Internet Archive and leader of the Open Content Alliance, a large-scale book-scanning project, outlines his vision for digital libraries.Kahle begins by talking about the difference between his project (OCA) and the one being done by Google. The Open Content Alliance is digitizing 12,000 books per month in the U.S. They are doing full color scanning with OCR at 10 cents per page or an estimated $30 per book, according to what Kahle says in the interview. He believes this cost makes digitizing books more feasible for libraries.
As he later points out, digitizing one million books would cost $30 million. That would create a digital library that is larger than many town libraries. He says the library system in the U.S. is a $12 billion/year industry, so this cost would be less than 0.30% of the budget for one year. (He doesn't say where get got the $12 billion figure nor how he defines the term "library system".)
With more people relying on the Internet for information, he argues that getting books more findable online is important. (And who would argue against that?)
As always, it is interesting to hear what is on his mind. I find the $30/book figure to be quite intriguing. In December 2004, during his speech at the Library of Congress, he said that books could be digitized at a cost of $10 per book using a robotic scanner. Since then, he has developed the Scribe book scanner, which is a high-quality manual book scanner. I don't know what scanner and software is being used by the Open Content Alliance, but it would be informative to know what changed to go from $10 per book to $30 per book.
Technorati tags: Open Content Alliance, Brewster Kahle, Google