Builidng an Online Library, One Volume at a Time

schoenbc writes “Article free this week on the Wall Street Journal’s web site,

“On a recent morning at a library at the University of Toronto, Liz Ridolfo plucked a century-old book from a shelf and placed it onto an oddly shaped metal contraption. The apparatus included a desk, two sheets of glass, two digital cameras, a foot pedal and a computer.

Ms. Ridolfo, 25 years old, used the custom-made machine to convert a 462-page book — “English Literature: An Illustrated Record, from the Age of Johnson to the Age of Tennyson” — into a digital file that will be placed on the Internet so anyone can read it and search its contents. The task took Ms. Ridolfo two hours, longer than most books do, because of a special complication: The book included several copies of handwritten letters by authors, that folded out from the pages and were difficult to photograph.””