Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Economist Profiles Springer's Digitization Efforts

The Economist takes a look at how Springer has approached the digitization of their entire backlist/archive of books. They already provide electronic access to 50,000 titles published since 2005 but now they are looking at the remaining archive of 65,000 titles. Springer has been at the forefront of book digitization efforts and some may remember in the early days of the Google Scholar effort they were frequently the most active participants in panel discussions on the subject. (Economist):
Scanning Springer's backlist proved no mean feat. First, the company had to figure out for which works Springer holds copyright, surveying records at all the firms swept up in recent years, says Thijs Willems, who heads the book-archiving project. To create a definitive list his group scoured old catalogs and national libraries. They eventually assembled an archive of 100,000 print books in English, Dutch and German, many of which were different editions of the same work. The firm arranged access from libraries to those that Springer had lost due to the vagaries of time, war, etc. It decided to scan only the last available edition of a given work; earlier editions might be added to the trove in the future.
and they end with this,
Springer has painstakingly produced the highest possible quality of scans, principally to avoid having to start from scratch when today's viewing technology is superseded by something dramatically better. Mr Willems and his team also embedded rich metadata—details like author, date of publication, number of pages, and so on—in standard formats which are likely to persist for a while. They took especial care in reproducing illustrations. These digital books are, after all, meant to last for ever.

No comments: