Re: digitizing private media

J. Maxwell Legg (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 17:44:14 +1300

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> A whole while ago we were talking about personal data/document management.
> This has become especially relevant to me since I've had to move a lot in
> the course of the last two years -- and resources I can't access are useless.
> Albeit belatedly, I am happy to report to having begun destillation of
> my music CDs into mp3s. It's slow, and I can't batchify it yet, but
> it's a start. With 128 kBit, which is roughly CD quality one averages
> at about 1 MByte/min audio. On a 10 GByte disk you thus can store
> ~160 CDs or about 7 days of audio. With a laptop, or a wearable,
> you're even mobile.
> Unfortunately, I haven't managed in creating a capability to scan
> personal books whether as bitmap or using OCR in time before my next
> move -- a lot of books will thus have go into storage, and probably
> not under ambient conditions :(
> Has anybody experiences in converting treekiller literature into data,
> particularly under SANE/Linux? (I'm not a zealot, I have FineReader
> and NT as well, it it's of any use).

Like you, I traveled the world and for along time I was accompanied by at least two twenty foot containers. This load reduced and eventually got to the point where I considered digitizing my filing cabinets. In 1995, I scanned 150Kg of important paper at around 20 pages per megabyte using fax and OCR software on my Apple Mac. These files had long been highly integrated with Quicken, so it was easy for me to find any piece of paper and/or image via the computer. Back in 1995 storage was still at a premium and I made the mistake of stuffing too much (i.e., >50%) into my disks. For years I had carried so much data with me that finally upgrading and consolidation of this load of compressed stuff became a nightmare and in trying to organize and backup my way out of this seemingly wet paper bag of data the inevitable happened and great chunks of data were lost fell away in a series of stupid mistakes. The point about this loss is that it somehow seemed less painful after it was digitized than if it were say lost in a house fire, however I still have all my Quicken databases of over eighty thousand entries and this is a useful memory jogger whenever I want to travel down memory lane. I can't advise on the necessary level of compulsive behavior that one needs to maintain a paperless existence but now that I and fate have trimmed a lot of fat from my files, I still feel fine, at least now the the net is so much part of my life.

> Is it doable, or a pipe dream?
> How long do you take for a single book on the average?

I worked for two solid weeks to scan the quantity mentioned above.

> Did you do straight bitmaps or went for the whole hog (OCR)?

Like I said fax and OCR was all I had at the time but even nowadays would be a better format than using a scanner with its cumbersome images.

> What is your storage medium?


> Retrieval method?

Quicken in strict account/date order.

> Migration strategy to future storage media?

hope and pray that you don't loose it.

"Digital information lasts forever or 3 years, which ever comes sooner."