Today we went to Den Haag to visit the espresso book machine. It is quite interesting to see how the machine is integrated with the original bookstore. The bookshop claimed that this is the second espresso book machine in Europe. And one of their motivation to import this machine is to keep the bookstore running.

I also found this video on their official site which clearly states each stages inside the machine, like colourful cover printing, black & white content printing, gluing, and cropping. The owner also talked to print a book around 200 pages is around 12 Euro, but for each book you need a kind of one time handling fee (something like 10 Euro) for checking the file and upload to the machine.

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Although millions of books are scanned and put online every year, making old documents and texts available on the web is a difficult and painstaking process.

Project IMPACT – which stands for Improving Access to Text – is focused on the making the process easier.

Project IMPACT director Hildelies Balk explained: “The problem with turning an historic document into a machine readable text is that it is so very old, everything is different from a modern document, it has old fonts, old words and a very difficult layout.“

Once scanned they are left full of errors, because computers struggle to read old texts with strange layouts, fonts and spellings.

Clemens Neudecker, technical manager for European projects at Koninklijke Bibliotheek, showed us one example: “This is the Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton. You see actually what we call shine through, that is ink from the opposite page which is just shining through the paper, you see that the paper is warped, and you can also see here there is this long ‘s’ also in use, which can very easily be confused with an ‘f’.”

Researchers at the National Library of the Netherlands have spent four years in a European project to improve software tools to read old books.

Researcher Hildelies Balk said: “We improved software for image enhancement, optical character recognition, post-correction of the document and language technology to make it more accessible.“

“Text that is not fully digital is virtually invisible. Everyone is used to going into a search engine, and looking for a word, and if they don’t find this it basically isn’t there for them.”

Read the entire article and watch the video at this link: Euronews


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“…W: The Electrolibrary is my diploma project that I completed in the Academy of Fine Arts of Katowice. It’s like a mix of the traditional paper book and a digital interface. It’s a book that can be connected to the computer by a USB cable. By turning pages, the user can navigate the project’s web site,
While reading, the user gets access to additional information such as quotations, hyperlinks or Youtube movies – things that couldn’t be inside a traditional book….”