If you've ever wondered how books get onto, this is how

@spud we call the whole contraption a "scribe" and each one costs like $100,000 to build because it's all custom and sturdy as a fucking tank

@Pixley Well, I'll be damned. I'd always assumed they used some kind of large-format flatbed scanner.

@flugennock nope! That's way more expensive and time-consuming, and also much worse for the books. We can do 800 pages an hour on these things, with the right kind of book!

@Pixley Makes sense; if you're trying to digitize a really old book, the last thing you want to do is open it all the way up and mash it flat onto a scanner glass.

@flugennock yep, exactly! Also, I've heard through the grapevine that IA scanners and equipment are much nicer to the books than the Google Books people are, fwiw

@craigdougscott yes, that is my job, I turn page, hit enter, turn page, hit enter, for eight hours

@rotor @craigdougscott we used to have a magnet attached to the back of the cradle so that the cameras would automatically fire when the cradle closed, but then we got new software and they stopped working, because the devs couldn't understand why anyone might want that, why wouldn't you want to push a button 3,000 times a day

@Pixley @craigdougscott

speaking as a developer, i can assure you that i fuckin LOVE pushing buttons

@Pixley @craigdougscott

if there's a switch you can wire up to a keyboard's enter key you can do that, so every time the switch trips an enter key is pressed. FACT: computers don't care if they have two keyboards plugged into them

@Pixley Ouch, that sounds repetitive. Would a foot pedal be nicer than reaching over to press the enter key?

@gbrnt no, I already use a foot pedal to lift the glass, one hand then the page and the other hits the button on the keyboard (to the left) or the keypad (right). There used to be a mechanism to let the cameras fire automatically when the glass lowered, but the devs killed that function because they didn't understand why it was useful (because they do not listen to us).

@Pixley Shame about the devs :( but it sounds much slicker now with those details.

@kity I wanted the photo to be as accurate as possible!

@cpb ooh that actually looks similar to the "tabletop" scribes we have, a much smaller version of my machine that we can break down and build up much easier, so we can, like, send it to a small library, scan a small collection, and then send the TTscribe along to the next library!

@Pixley there was a story somewhere about a scanner visiting a water damaged public library with their TT to do quick emergency scans of parts of their collection before it was completely lost to the water damage.

made me feel very proud of them, and made me realize the importance of scanning and mobile solutions.

@cpb along those lines, we just announced we have the largest collection of Tibetan Buddhist literature online now, which is amazing for Tibetans who have had to leave their homeland, and just for people who can't make it to a remote monastery to look at a manuscript:

@Pixley Mastodon open in a window so you can toot while you shoot?

copyright hot take Show more

copyright hot take Show more

@Pixley @garbados yeah. I just wanted to warn since it's kinda negative/snarky and I randomly jumped into y'all's thread

@tobomir hahah hey, that's my desk you're talking about

I appreciate your work. It is meaningful and contributes to mankind.

@Pixley oh i have just read that is you who pass the pages. Amazing.
Sorry for my bad english

@Pixley aaaa this is beautiful

i've done a bit of digitizing on similar setups but never anything nearly as nice as this

@Pixley hmmm, according to you'll digitize a 478 page book for under $30? assuming a single pair of pages is one image, at $0.12 / image? :breadthink:

@hmaon well, sort of, that's for library partners, not a person off the street who wants one item digitized, I don't really know how you would go about getting one specific item digitized, other than asking a university or library close to you to do it

@Pixley Oh, interesting. I guess I do have a librarian in the family, I should ask her about it.

FWIW, the book is the very 1978 edition pictured. It's a Soviet book for young radio nerds, from the vacuum tube era.

Actually it also looks like some unknown party has digitized a newer edition, badly, with a flatbed scanner here:

@rstockm @pixley Intriguing! Are those things suitable for antique books? And how much do they cost?

@mararm @Pixley it depends. They operate contact-free via air-pressure. Which is good for antique books. But you‘ll want to preselect your volumes in according how easyly you can turn the pages. It sells for 25 grand.

@johnrandom no, if it was the future a robot would be turning the pages instead of me

@sky yeah, we just got the NUCs in like... January? They're nice! So tiny!

@Pixley Old and new! Can the scanners turn the pages themselves yet? That was Too Hard last time I knew.

@clew the scanners are humans, that is my job title!

@Pixley You're turning the pages? You are the fine fingers of futurity!

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