Digitising JRA books by members

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  • 16 Feb 2019 03:33
    Reply # 7168048 on 7159546
    Anonymous wrote:

    Just a dumb question:
    What you call digitising, is that just scanning the pages, and then making the book as a sum of pictures, or is the text extracted from the scannings? The last version would crimp the file a lot and also make it possible to search in the text. However, one may then lose the layout of the original text.

    I guess I would want both  -  the original scannings plus the extracted plain text for searching.


    Hi Arne,

    When you're getting this kind of thing done, you can get both -- text-searchable PDFs in the original layout, and ebook variable layouts. As Annie pointed out, different types of books are given to different digital formats.

  • 15 Feb 2019 21:00
    Reply # 7167600 on 7145611

    The object of the exercise is to produce proper 'ebooks' that  can be read on an ereader or a computer/tablet with the appropriate program/application.  I suggest downloading Calibre and storing your ebooks there.

    When reading an ebook, you can search it, change the font size, add bookmarks and annotations and carry out various other things,depending on your ereader or program/application.  A dedicated ereader such as a Kobo Aura would be good for reading accounts, eg The Voyage of the "Golden Lotus", but not much use for anything that depends largely on its illustrations because (a) the format is too small, (b) you can't alter the size of the image and (c) they are in greyscale only.  These latter books you would want to read on a tablet or computer screen - and the bigger the better to match the original book!

    There are two major incentives to get our collection digitised: to preserve what we have against loss and to enable members who don't live in the UK to access our collection.  There are issues around copyright and the committee has been trying to find out if we could get round this by lending the books, the way libraries do.  Up to now I've had no success discovered how we can do this.  If anyone can help, I would appreciate this.

    Last modified: 15 Feb 2019 21:01 | Anonymous member
  • 13 Feb 2019 15:56
    Reply # 7162411 on 7145611

    The text of the books I had copied came out very well No hint of it being a copy. The pictures at the back, not so well. They looked like copies of paper copies from microfiche.

    I will call the library and ask them about their copy systems. Today, we are snowbound...

  • 12 Feb 2019 20:43
    Reply # 7161017 on 7159546
    Arne Kverneland wrote:

    The last version would crimp the file a lot and also make it possible to search in the text. However, one may then lose the layout of the original text.

    I would suggest that loosing the "original" layout would for many people be a plus. One of the things I like least about many digitized books is having to shift left and right or have impossibly small text as the only two options (one of the things I don't like about pdfs). Having properly formatted HTML can allow even a digital phone to work well as a reader where boosting the text size reformats the text to fit the width of the device. There are formats better than html (or are maybe a wrapper around html) that are better at keeping bookmarks. I prefer open formats rather than proprietary (anything) ones. I can often read the files inside the archive even if I don't have a reader.

    Way too many words to say that...

  • 12 Feb 2019 12:00
    Reply # 7159546 on 7145611
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just a dumb question:
    What you call digitising, is that just scanning the pages, and then making the book as a sum of pictures, or is the text extracted from the scannings? The last version would crimp the file a lot and also make it possible to search in the text. However, one may then lose the layout of the original text.

    I guess I would want both  -  the original scannings plus the extracted plain text for searching.


    Last modified: 12 Feb 2019 15:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 12 Feb 2019 03:41
    Reply # 7159227 on 7145611

    I recently purchased, from a used book store,  a four volume set of books on the history of my home town, written by an amateur historian. He has unfortunately passed and the books have no index. I took them to my local university archives and made a deal. I would give them these out-of-print books if they would scan them and give me a digital copy. They did this, in a searchable, PDF format, first cutting off the spines. So, If you have an idea of what you're looking for, you can do a search. (I found reference to a long forgotten ancestor.)

    Some of our books might be copied this way , especially if they are going to deteriorate eventually. They could be reprinted on double sided paper and spiral bound. (Plastic of metal.) The covers could be something durable like plastic. Although you can't read the title of the book on the spine, the book will last longer because there is no stress on the spine, since there is none.) Meanwhile, the digitized version is placed in safe keeping.

  • 05 Feb 2019 20:37
    Reply # 7148699 on 7145611

    At one point, there was someone at the University of Hertfordshire who was willing (funded?) to digitise books for charities at no charge. I've lost the record of his name, but an enquiry to the UH library might produce something.


  • 05 Feb 2019 03:04
    Reply # 7147072 on 7145611
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It would be tremendous to see digitising of our library materials get underway. In the previous discussion in the committee, as Lynda said there was something about equipment specific to scanning delicate books, so they don't have to be laid flat (or taken apart) – the high-end equipment that she referred to. Given the number and value of books in the library, this equipment would seem – to me – like a reasonable investment, especially compared with the incredibly high cost of having the work professionally done. Pete, that's tremendous that you are interested in getting into doing the scanning.

    One possibility could be to go ahead with the scanning, while we work out how exactly to make the results available to members. As Pete said, starting with books that are already out of print seems particularly sensible.


  • 04 Feb 2019 22:26
    Reply # 7146578 on 7145611
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Some while back the committee took a serious look at various possibilities with regard to digitising all the material we hold in the archive - books and papers etc., as well as the library.   I was in contact with the then librarian at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth (the one that specialises in small boats).   The idea behind my contact was that we might consider sharing the costs of digitising with them and then donate all the hard copy material to them after the work was done.   They have proper facilities for looking after such things.   I'm afraid my discussions did not lead anywhere in the end.  Too many bureaucratic hurdles.

    We then looked into the possibility of spending money on buying high-end book scanning equipment as it was acknowledged that flat bed scanners do not do the kind of job we feel all, but especially the rarer books, deserved.  At that point there were reservations about the possible costs and also the need for someone to be willing to do the work.   It would be a tedious process going through hundreds and hundreds of pages.   Finally, having got no further forward, the whole subject was put to one side.    I believe there was a brief revival of interest when Barbara Schoute thought she might be able to organise something in Holland.   Again, this came to nought.  

    Some of the books we believe to be in the JRA library have a value that puts them beyond consideration for chopping up in order to digitise.  Without a proper book scanning device,  there would really be no other feasible way of getting a good enough quality of scan Nor could we  justify the time someone would have to give to such a project.   Attempts were made to do flatbed scans without any destruction and I think most people are aware of what the results would look like.  (Photocopied pages with dark edges etc.)  

    I think the committee would very much like to see this done,  but it is a project that probably needs a dedicated team to work on it.   And where are we to find such?   Ideally some folk here in the UK. Transporting the library outside the country for this job to be done is almost certainly out of the question. 

    The copyright question is a thorny one.   One or two authors have given the right to digitise to the JRA for Association borrowers only.   Attempts have been made to contact family copyright holders of deceased authors works with no success.   Many of the books were written by cruising folk who rely on royalties to help their budgets.  We cannot take that away from them.   If we were to successfully digitise the entire library,  and make it available to members on the understanding that they may not pass the content along to non-members,  who is going to police that and what would be our legal standing if it were discovered we were 'lending' unlawfully digitised copies? 

    Last modified: 04 Feb 2019 22:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 04 Feb 2019 15:59
    Reply # 7145732 on 7145611


    Copy right issues will most likely be the biggest logistical issue.

    I am not sure what proprietary software you are referring to but Digitising and running the copies through Optical Character Recognition Software so the text is searchable does not need any costly program.

    In terms of copying the best method is the destructive method. Take the book to a book binder and ask them to slice the entire binding off. Then run the entire stack through a photocopier that can also scan. The other option is a lengthy process of non destructive scanning which painful and produces a poorer product. 

    I have sliced the bindings off of glued books and had them glued back together afterwards quite successfully. The last book I did that to is still going very well after 10yrs and is stronger I think after the second binding than after the first one.

    If any of the books are stitch bound or of high value then this might not be the best option.

    My two cents.

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