Friday, January 21, 2005

Scanning 1200 pages per hour

As we think about Google's announcement, we all wonder what technology they might be using. Is it manual or automatic? Are they using an off-shore operation, which might be less expensive? Is the cost of $10.00 per book really feasible?

We don't exactly what Google and their library partners are doing, but we can look to see what technologies are available and perhaps speculate.

One vendor, Kirtas Technologies in Victor, NY, has a highly automated book scanner that will do 1200 pages per hour with costs as low as $.03 per page depending on "several parameters such as number of shifts, level of maintenance contract, labor cost and operator efficiency." Their scanner will handle fragile books without damaging them as well as thin pages. The operator needs very little training, so anyone who can change a toner cartridge (as they say) can work this scanner. The scanner also does post processing automatically.

The cost? Well, they don't tell you that up front. Looking at the video of the technology, etc., we can imagine that this is not an inexpensive machine to own, however, one option is to have Kirtas do the scanning for you (which we can hope is reasonably priced).

This technology has caught people's eyes, including those of Brewster Kahle who is now on their Board of Directors.

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