Working at a special collections library, I am only too aware of the high costs of providing digital access to historical materials.
So I was intrigued to learn about Project Gado, an open-source digitization robot – yes, robot – that is helping to scan the collection of 1.5 million historical photographs at the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper.
Originally developed at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studies, Project Gado is now continuing its efforts to create a tool that will help small repositories digitize archival materials. (The project seems aimed at photographs in particular, but I think other types of non-fragile loose pages could be excellent candidates for robot scanning.)
The Baltimore Sun recently published an article about how the Afro-American Newspapers are using the device. You can also browse some of the images digitized to date here, and learn many more details about the project in this video presentation from a recent computing conference, PyCon 2012.
Of course, having an open-source digitization robot does not equal free digitization.
Read Full Post Here, (Originally published on May 8 2012)