Digitising JRA books by members

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  • 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.

  • 04 Feb 2019 15:13
    Message # 7145611

    The library is one of the most important resources that the JRA has, however problems with its storage and the logistics of borrowing make it all but useless for the world wide membership.

    I think that the association should consider starting to digitise all the books that are not still in print. I realise that there are copyright issues and for that reason the digitising process would best be done by members.

    I am happy to start the process and hope that a few other members would volunteer to help and speed this up.

    Once the books have been converted then they could be given to a suitable library or even sold, which would solve the custodian problem.

    Ways could be investigated to make them available, perhaps they could be downloaded by members after signing an agreement that the books would be for their own use only and not copied.

    The propriety software seems to be ABBYY Fine Reader 14, which costs £169 for an individual user (a considerable saving for the association over commercial conversion). The books can be scanned or photographed, the program then converts the image to PDF which then can be easily converted to various e-reader formats (Epub or Kindle).

    There is a previous relevant topic which is now closed from 2013

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