On 07/20/12 6:50 PM, Lars Aronsson wrote:
After Wikimania, I took a trip to Toronto, where the
Internet Archive has a large book scanning center.
If you have worked on Wikisource, I think you know that
many of the books there come from the Internet Archive,
which provides scanned images and OCR text in the form
of a Djvu file, which can be proofread and presented
I went there to learn more about how to scan books, but
another possibility is to use their existing facilities,
which currently are not used at full capacity.
Excellent side-trip on your part!!!
The way the collaboration is set up, the room is provided
by the University of Toronto, but the equipment and staff
belong to the Internet Archive. The participating libraries
around Canada decide which books to digitize and pay a
small fee to the Internet Archive for scanning them.
How small is small?
This opens up an interesting opportunity. If we want a
particular book to be digitized, and we can find it in
the library catalogs of the University of Toronto, it
might be possible (in theory, at least) for us to present
this wish and perhaps provide the money needed, either
directly from the Wikimedia Foundation, or its chapters.
Canada is a country with many immigrants and the library
system has books in many languages.
In due course, this is certainly something that would interest Wikimedia
Canada. Multiculturalism has for some years been a key element of social
This brings me to the question: Which books would be the
most important to scan, to help Wikipedia?
For the Swedish and Danish Wikipedia, I know this are the
out-of-copyright encyclopedias from the early 20th century,
that I have already digitized in 2003 and 2008, respectively.
The Czech "Ottuv slovnik" has already been digitized by Google,
as the Wikipedia article points out,
But are the black-and-white scans good enough, or would the
Czech community be interested in Internet Archive quality
scans in color? If so, we have to figure out if the Internet
Archive will scan it for free, if the UofT library will pay,
if the Czech chapter can pay (some chapters have money, but
are not allowed to send donated money abroad, because of tax
deductions), or perhaps the WMF. I saw the Ottuv slovnik on
the shelves, in the same building as the scanning stations.
It's just waiting for somebody to piece the puzzle together.
But let's begin with a wish list of which books to scan. Of
course they need to be out-of-copyright to fit in the
Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, and in Wikisource.
Perhaps illustrated works are more interesting than text?
This would be a GLAM + wiki cooperation that cuts across
Some countries that do not allow sending donated money abroad may look
upon the matter differently if the purpose is to repatriate heritage
that is no longer available in the home country.
Out-of-copyright where? Is the Internet Archive willing to scan books
that are still protected by copyright in the United States without
necessarily putting them online itself? When considered in terms of
Canadian copyright law there is considerable material published between
1923 and 1961 that we could accept at Wikilivres.
My personal interest is in periodical publications, and these are more
problematical than monographs in any country whose copyrights are based
on the date of a person's death.
Illustrated works don't have any particular interest for me. In many
cases the illustration appearing in a publication is the only available
option. At one time I was looking at a series of 1890s articles in
"McClure's Magazine" about the world's 100 most famous paintings. with
black-and-white illustrations. What a difference it would make if these
texts could be made available with an alternative modern colour version
of the illustrations.