Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kai Lung unrolls his mat

There are so far two books I have liked so much that I typed them in to make them freely available. I just finished the second one: Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat, a quite singular work of fantasy by Ernest Bramah first printed in 1927.

The other one is Why don't we learn from history? by B. H. Liddell Hart.


bbot said...

Any reason you couldn't use a scanner and OCR it in?

JohnWShipman said...

I've never seen an OCR process that worked very well. Even with very crisp copy in a known font, error rates of 1 bad character in 20 are common; expect a lot of tedious cleanup. My book is ancient and yellowed, I would have to destroy the book to scan it, and it still might not scan at all in this condition.

There's another factor: I enjoy typing. It's sort of like a dynamic meditation for me: I go into a flow state (see Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) and try to balance the conflicting needs of high keying rates and low error rates. While proofing the final section of this book, I found only about one error per page.

bbot said...

The guys typically use digital cameras and commercial OCR software like Abbyy Fine Reader or Omnipage. No spine cracking needed, and it's a whole heck of a lot easier than typing the whole thing in.