How good are the two-camera apparatuses for scanning things other than
books?  The thing about the Google and Kirtas scanners is that they are not
particularly recommended for dealing with fragile books or otherwise special
collections materials.  The University of Virginia Library is still using
the single camera method for books as well as manuscripts, photographs,
slides, coins, etc.  It's a Hasselblad camera with a 45 megapixel Phase One
digital back, but significantly out of the $1000 range.  I haven't dealt
with all the camera hardware you could find, but I have never seen a
professional digitization hardware/software suite for as low as a thousand
bucks.  You could check out i2s's copibook series (,
but I have no idea how much they cost; they don't say.  Erik's idea of
building something custom is an option, but you might not necessarily get
consistent quality and production rate.

Have you considered partnering with Princeton University's digitization
labs?  The UVA Health Sciences Library occasionally borrows/trades/buys
resources from the university library's digitization services (the health
system and university are technically two different entities).  For all I
know, someone from Princeton University is on this list; I don't know what
their resources are and don't presume to speak for them.  That's just my

Ethan Gruber

On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 12:49 PM, Erik Hetzner <>wrote:

> At Wed, 29 Apr 2009 13:32:08 -0400,
> Christine Schwartz wrote:
> >
> > We are looking into buying a book scanner which we'll probably use for
> > archival papers as well--probably something in the $1,000.00 range.
> >
> > Any advice?
> Most organizations, or at least the big ones, Internet Archive and
> Google, seem to be using a design based on 2 fixed cameras rather than
> a tradition scanner type device. Is this what you had in mind?
> Unfortunately none of these products are cheap. Internet Archive’s
> Scribe machine cost upwards (3 years ago) of $15k, [1] mostly because
> it has two very expensive cameras. Google’s data is unavailable. A
> company called Kirtas also sells what look like very expensive
> machines of a similar design.
> On the other hand, there are projects like bkrpr [2] and [3],
> home-brew scanning stations build for marginally more than the cost of
> a pair of $100 cameras. I think that these are a real possibility for
> smaller organizations. The maturity of the software and workflow is
> problematic, but with Google’s Ocropus OCR software [4] freely
> available as the heart of a scanning workflow, the possibility is
> there. Both bkrpr and [3] have software currently available, although
> in the case of bkrpr at least the software is in the very early stages
> of development.
> best,
> Erik Hetzner
> 1. <
> >
> 2. <>
> 3. <
> >
> 4. <>
> ;; Erik Hetzner, California Digital Library
> ;; gnupg key id: 1024D/01DB07E3

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