3.163 microform scanning (57)

Fri, 23 Jun 89 18:19:44 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 163. Friday, 23 Jun 1989.

Date: Friday, 23 June 1989 1002-EST
Subject: MicroForm Scanning

I received a call from someone in NY who claimed to be able to
deliver a "black box" for converting 16mm microfilm into
digitized electronic form, at a cost of roughly $40,000.
"Probably" this could be adjusted to do 35mm fairly easily,
although microFiche would be more difficult. He is supposed
to be sending more details.

At present, I do not know whether he is himself the developer,
or is fronting for someone else; whether the price that was
mentioned (sort of in passing) is firm and predictable;
whether other special hardware would be needed (the box
apparently runs with IBM-DOS machinery); etc.
It is clear that once the digitized material is in hand,
software for analyzing it (character recognition, etc.)
would be necessary, so what is offered is simply the ability
to scan directly from the microform images to graphics form,
and does not address the question of OCR software (Optopus,
TextPert, TrueScan, Kurzweil, etc., as discussed on HUMANIST
and at the Toronto conference recently). Nevertheless, I have
been looking for a long time and this is the first actual
claim that such a device could be purchased by a user (there
is a company in England that will do the job for you).
Hopefully, the claim is true and at least one of our centers or
libraries will be able to take advantage of the situation and
set up a self-supporting service for such scanning (the issue
of analyzing the digitized output could be separated, and
distributed; that is, if conversion from microform to digitized form
were centralized -- at least until the price of the equipment
became more reasonable -- there could be a variety of locations
at which the decipherment and verification of the results could
be accomplished).

Anyhow, I plan to follow up on this and to urge others who
might be in a better position to obtain the necessary funding
to do so as well. The contact person is
Irving Green
Skan Teknologies Inc [not "Ink" !]
555 Chestnut Street
Cedarhurst NY 11516
tel 516-295-2237

Its a dim light in a long tunnel....
Bob Kraft (CCAT)