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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 13, March 30, 2008, Article 11

PUBLIC DOMAIN NUMISMATIC BOOK PUBLISHING EXPERIMENT

J.C. Spilman of the Colonial Newsletter Foundation (CNLF)
has been experimenting with posting large book files on the
Internet to ease access to source materials for researchers.
To date at least eight books have been posted; I've listed
them here in order of file size.

  A History of the Bank of New York 1784-1884 (Domett, 1884)
  History of the Bills of Credit or Paper Money Issued by New York
  The American Numismatic Manual (M. W. Dickeson, 1865)
  History of the U.S. Mint (Evans, 1890)
  Coins Medals & Seals. (W. C. Prime, 1860)
  History of the United States (E. Benjamin Andrews, 1894)
  Dye's Coin Encyclopedia
  Life & Times of John H. Hickcox (Stimson, 1995)

Some of the files are from Project Gutenberg.  Others are
from Google's library digitization project.  Others are
from various university libraries, each of which has its
own eBook system. These can sometimes be located directly
on various sites, but the CNLF experiment provides a
convenient single location for finding specific items of
numismatic interest.

The 367-page .pdf file of Dickeson's American Numismatic
Manual was scanned from a copy in the University of Michigan
library.  It had been donated to the University by H.S.
Jewett of Dayton, OH.

Spilman adds: "I also plan to include a wish list for members
to indicate worthwhile eBooks that they would like to see
included in our 'Library'.  We must then locate them, if
they exist, and that is where members can really help --
in searching.  These eBooks are scattered all over the
country -- especially in university libraries that do not
particularly advertise the fact that they have them available.
Donations of eBooks to CNLF will also certainly be appreciated."

To access the book archive, become a member of the CNLF Google BLOG here:
CNLF Google BLOG "

John Nebel notes that "A Kirtas book scanner for $150,000
can scan 1,000 pages per hour.  Let's install a scanner at
the ANA library and put on-line everything that is out of
copyright."

[If I were the Executive Director of a numismatic association,
I'd definitely consider proposals for doing just that.
Digitization is an unstoppable force - better to get ahead of
the curve than behind it.  There are also lower-cost (but more
labor-intensive) solutions, and these would probably be
preferable for the rarest books.   John graciously hosts the
NBS web site on his servers, and he tells me he'd be willing
to host a digitized numismatic library.

What do other bibliophiles think of digitization?  Godsend
or Gomorrah?  How will it affect the value of our research
libraries? While I realize there's a big downside I think
there's also a possible upside.  Greater access to and
awareness of rare numismatic literature could help increase
demand by bringing more potential book collectors into the
market.  After all, reprints of many important numismatic
works have been available for years yet the originals are
still very much in demand.  -Editor]

To view a video of the Kirtas machine in action, see:
Video of the Kirtas machine

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

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