Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 16, 2007

Finding online versions of printed texts

Eric Engleman, Startup's aim: Scan a printed page, get a website, Puget Sound Business Journal, July 13, 2007.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

A Seattle startup is working on a novel device that could capture a few words from a book or printed article and quickly find the full text on the web.

The company, Exbiblio, expects to have a prototype ready in the fall that could span the growing divide between the internet and the world of printed material.

That’s all that the newspaper shows to non-subscribers.  But ResouceShelf adds a bit more:

The device Exbiblio is developing will house a small optical reader, which connects [wirelessly] to a computer. Users can scan a snippet of printed text — as few as six words at a time — and use that “identifying barcode” to find the corresponding full text on the web, said [founder Martin King].

A person reading a printed newspaper, for example, could instantly get an online version of an article and e-mail it to friends or colleagues. Such a technology could take the advantages of the web — the interactivity and ability to directly measure traffic — and apply that to the printed word.

PS:  I like this idea.  As far as I can tell, it only works for texts that have been indexed for free online searching, the vast majority of which are OA.