Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free or open source software

Recently, Andrew Stawowczyk Long from the National Library of Australia posted a message to the IMAGELIB discussion list about this free image to PDF batch converter that he had written. (He noted that is seems to work well, but has not been tested extensively.)  That makes me wonder if there is other free or open source software that people are developing for digitization programs and where it is all housed.  Is there a repository for this stuff somewhere?  If you were trying to find free or open source software for your program where would you look?


Bradley said...

One of our small public libraries needed an OCR option for their digitization project. We found through a Google search. Worked great! If you do find a repository, I'd love to know about it!

Anonymous said...

You'd most likely ask people. Try,, or

Jim said...

Open Source Software is awesome The best graphics program I found and use is GIMP.

With all the stable open sorce software and the super support structure, I don't think anybody should ever pay a dime for software.

Another neat project is OpenOffice. I think it is better than MS Office!

If you have a software need, I bet I can find an open source soluton for you.

The best and most used depository is

Don't get me started on open source software...I will "talk" your ear off! :-D

Jim said...

Just a follow up comment. One of the best ways to discover good open source is to read the forums of a topic.

For instance, if you read a forum discussion about Drupal, your going to hear about a lot of other CMS systems and get good peer reviews.

Google doesn't always find the good ones.

Misty said...

I've been using open-source digitization software for some things on my organization's Digital Collections website.

One of the best programs I've used is Scan Tailor, an open-source binarization program. It provides very nice quality output, and is really outstanding quality for free open-source software. It doesn't currently have much dewarping, but the author is working on that for a new version. I've been using it in conjunction with a simple script I wrote that combines a few open-source programs to create a layered, web-friendly PDF from Scan Tailor's output. It uses separate compression and resolution for binarized text and colour illustrations to keep filesize low without compromising quality. I'm eventually going to release my script as open-source once I make a few improvements to it.

In addition to that, Ben Varadi is looking to create a 100% open-source Linux workflow tool to let a user capture books on homemade equipment, with the aim of handling everything from start to finish. I think it's going to be a great tool when it's available. His thread on the DIY Book Scanner forums is here.

The DIY Book Scanner forums are worth a look too - it's focused on sharing designs for homemade book scanning equipment, which is really valuable for institutions on a tight budget. I've been doing a great deal of scanning of historical materials using homemade equipment. Here's a few samples of things I've scanned in a few formats:

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of The County of Brant Public Library.)