Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wanted: Side-by-side hardware comparisons

I spent some time talking to a company yesterday afternoon that does digitization about equipment to digitize bound materials. We jointly listed off the competition, then focused on comparing the Kirtas machines to the Scribe. In other words, an automated book scanner to a manual book scanner. [BTW an article in November's Information Today used the word "semiautomated" when talking about the Kirtas BookScan machines.] We talked about their stated throughput, etc. and along the way I voiced my "want." My "want" is to see an independent side-by-side comparison of the various machines that are being used to digitize books. And not just the Kirtas and the Scribe, but also the machines produced by Atiz, Konica Minolta and others. By digitizing the exact same materials on each machine, the answers to the following questions -- and more -- could be discerned:
  • How quickly was each item scanned?
  • What interaction did the technician need to have with the machine and item during the scanning process?
  • Can the technician multi-task or must the person be dedicated to the scanning process?
  • What stress was placed on the items being scanned? (e.g., books laid in a way that could harm the binding)
  • How many pages per hour were scanned?
  • When is each machine appropriate?
Imagine a Consumer Reports-type report that outlines everything you really need to know!

Now that would be a wonderful holiday gift for every institution that is thinking about digitizing bound materials could use.

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Anonymous said...

I would like to inform you that on 18-20th June 2008 there will be an interesting event at the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek in Germany. This event will group 4 manufacturers of automatic book scanners, that will present side to side their products. It is an excellent opportunity to invite all professionnals who would like to make an independant comparison of these products. Here is a link to this event : http://www.muenchener-digitalisierungszentrum.de/mdz/img/newsimg/ScanRoboterD2008.jpg

Anonymous said...

The programme for this event is available under

Anonymous said...

Another article talking about the British Library and Kirtas semi-automated book scanning: