3.400 digitized pictures, cont. (44)

Sat, 26 Aug 89 17:32:39 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 400. Saturday, 26 Aug 1989.

Date: Thu, 24 Aug 89 22:34 EDT
From: GUEST4@YUSol
Subject: Digitizing images of text pages

I'm afraid this particular exchange leaves me baffled so far. I keep waiting
for someone to ask:
"Why would anyone want a DIGITIZED version of a photograph of the
coffee-stained MS in question?"

A very powerful system for producing and processing digitized images has lately
been produced at Berkeley, and is being made available at very reasonable cost
to academic institutions, museums, etc. in a version that inhabits SUNs and
similar hefty Unix boxes.

Reading the excellent advance literature that the developers send out, one
quickly realizes that the whole POINT of such a technology is to be able to
PLAY with the image in various ways. Now, show me a standard-issue humanistic
old-text-freak who is itching to MESS UP the tell-tale information on his
favorite coffee- or blood-stained incunabulum, and I'll show you a candidate
for the funny farm.

Or so it would seem... I must be missing something, or else, why don't all
these eager hitech-watchers come to their senses, forget about waiting for the
price of gigabits to come down, and content themselves with the far cheaper and
sharper image of the humble familiar photographic copy?

Sorry if this offends the "I must have my machine-readable text at any price"
fringe of HUMANIST readers, for whom the Third World used to be regarded as
simply a reservoir of low-cost keypunchers. One can't help wondering what
Montaigne (not to mention Gandhi) might have said of such latter-day captains
of the Humanities, post-imperialist division.

Sterling Beckwith
Humanities and Music, York University