Scanner Praxis: Overview

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 | 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm | University of California, Santa Barbara Department of English | South Hall 2509

DIY_Book_Scanner_Kit_DSC01650This one-hour session will introduce Scanner Praxis, assess interest, and collaboratively draw up a roadmap for the project, which will continue throughout the Winter and Spring quarters.  Whether you are interested in digitization theory, the technical functioning of book scanners, or just want to build something with us, please drop by so we can find a role for you!

Scanner Praxis is a project to engage digital humanities scanning and digitization through building a low cost book scanner from parts, considering the hardware, software, and uses of such devices in DH projects, and investigating the cultural context of scanning in everything from classroom pedagogy to large scale cultural production. How does the logic of scanning shape what Amazon, Google Books, Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archive are producing? What can and can’t scanning do, and how can we use scanning to think differently? Participants in the series will learn how to build their own custom book scanners out of inexpensive materials such as lumber.

  • Surveying recent DIY (“do-it-yourself”) book scanner projects
  • Hands-on viewing of the parts of an unassembled scanner kit
  • Learning how to build your own custom book scanner out of inexpensive materials
  • Construction of a fully functioning, fast, non-destructive book scanner for practical use.

In addition to creating a practical resource for actual use, this project may interest graduates and faculty for a number of reasons:

  • Understanding the designs and labor workflows that are used by high-volume book digitization projects such as Internet Archive and Google Books.
  • Applying scanning to your own work!

Currently, the first DIY scanner to be built by Scanner Praxis is intended for use in exploring materially unusual literature (cut-out and excised-word novels, looseleaf novels, poster-format literature) and for work with the Demian Katz Gamebook Collection recently acquired by UCSB Special Collections. However, it will also be a general resource — participants are encouraged to get involved and bring their own projects and ideas!

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