ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

The Scanning Brigade Comes Home (Join me in NY) —

I wrote an entry a while ago about a crazy idea called The Charge of the Scan Brigade. The idea was simple: use some of the downtime in the Internet Archive SF offices to have a line of volunteers do scanning of computer history and other material on the Scribe scanners Internet Archive uses. In this way, we could have a nice sideline of incoming obscure media and data (manuals, notes, booklets, ephemera) getting a nice professional once over.

Didn’t work out.

The reason was a by-product of me being a remote worker – due to changing funding, doesn’t currently scan anything for an evening shift, just a day shift, and they’ve never had a weekend shift like I was expecting. And I wanted a weekend evening shift!

So I withdrew, and waited, and started working on a plan B.

Plan B is now in effect.

IMG_2757IMG_2761IMG_2762 IMG_2763 IMG_2766 IMG_2767 IMG_2781 IMG_3171

That’s my friend Chris Orcutt (who has written two excellent noir novels) loading up a rented truck with me, driving to Princeton, NJ, picking up an Internet Archive Scribe Scanner, and hauling it the 100+ miles back to my house.

And then putting it in my house.

So that’s right, my house is about to become an Internet Archive Scanning Center.

Did you think I was messing around? 2013 is about getting it real.

I’m now coordinating with Internet Archive to get my scanning center set up and calibrated. At current expectations (mostly due to my doing significant travel in February), I expect this center to begin scanning in March 2013.

I am Internet Archive Poughkeepsie. Pleased to meet you.

Initially, I am learning to use the system, and will begin scanning some simple obscure book-format documents that have never seen the light of day. I have a gigantic shipping container in my back yard. I have plenty to pick from. I will then begin scanning whenever I have extra time.

Obviously, this will lead to underutilization. So here’s where you come in.

I want volunteers to come in and scan. I would love for them to scan material I have, as well as material they want to scan in that has meaning for them. I want to be able to reach out to a number of computer historical groups but I realize that if it turns out someone has a pile of old cookbooks from the old country, they might be better to scan as well.

I suspect I may have to ask for donations at some point, so we can pay for people staying in hotels or to help fix any parts that break, or so on. We’ll think about that. I don’t really want to do another kickstarter in the forseeable future.

So, you.

Are you interested in coming just outside Poughkeepsie, NY this year for a while, to scan? Are you interested in being involved in this? Can you help me find people? I can’t pay you – I am simply about to set it up that we can scan upwards of 800-1000 pages an hour of documents out there and, as I promised in the beginning of the year, change online computer history forever.

Want in?




Categorised as: Archive Team | computer history | jason his own self

Comments are disabled on this post


  1. Nick Gray says:

    I’m in! This sounds awesome.

  2. Would love to be a part of this in some way.

  3. Craig P. S. says:

    Hey, I will be moving up to the Beacon/Newburgh area (but still working in NYC) around March/April, am an Archivist, and might be able to help out with this. Should I e-mail or what?