Dan Reetz and his fabulous DIY Book Scanner
Dan Reetz spoke on campus yesterday and amazed us with not only his DIY Book Scanner, but perhaps more importantly the DIY Book Scanner community. Dan estimated that his $250 scanner could easily produce high-resolution scans of 500 page an hour. And the scanner is portable, and the plans exist online and could be customized.
The applications for this kind of thing for small archaeological projects is patently obvious. A site like Isthmia, for example, which has, at most, 40,000 pages of notebooks (that is 160, 250 page notebooks). Using a scanner like the one Dan designed would allow a project like Isthmia to digitize all of its notebooks over, conservatively, three weeks. And that's just with one scanner. The relatively low cost of the scanners (of course better cameras could increase the cost of each scanner quickly) could allow us to run two scanners and cut the time on site to less than two weeks.
Post-processing and mark up, of course, is another issue. But I think that the Omeka interface, if tweaked appropriately could provide the foundation for presenting the scanned notebook pages. This would could all be done without radically expanding the current digital and physical infrastructure (i.e. expensive equipment, et c.).
The development of a relatively portable, efficient, and affordable device would be a pretty remarkable breakthrough for the imposing task of digitizing the archives of a small to mid-sized project.