by Ann Harrison
Have you ever gone to a library or museum and wondered what their rare book collections contained within the pages? If you opened any of these books, you are at serious risk of ruining or damaging the delicate pages of these rare artifacts. However, in the near future, you won’t have to worry about ruining these antique books any more.
MIT and the Georgia Institute of Technology are working together to develop a device that scans through the pages of a closed rare book, so as to prevent the book from being damaged by curious readers. This device uses terahertz imaging, an electromagnetic light source that ranges between microwaves and infrared light, which can determine the difference between ink and blank paper. Along with the tiny air gaps between each page, and a letter interpretation algorithm that deflects captchas, can help readers make sense of any distorted or incomplete text found within the fragile pages of a rare book.
The curators at the New York Metropolitan Museum are excited about this new technological enhancement, because it allows them to read books in their collection of artifacts, that they were once afraid to touch. Librarians and historians alike, can also make new discoveries within the pages of the ancient books in their collections that have never been touched.
There are a couple of improvements that need to be made, however, before people can take advantage of this technology. First of all, the terahertz scanning system can only recognize up to nine pages before it is overwhelmed by noise and interference. The device can only recognize text twenty pages deep into the book or rare document.
Though further developments need to be made to make the system powerful enough to scan and accurately recognize text of a book in its entirety, this device will be a very useful tool for museums, libraries, and research centers worldwide.
About the Author
Ann Harrison is a totally blind author, who grew up in the small town of Rochelle, Georgia, and has moved back to her family home after living in North Georgia for several years. Ann has written many articles of general interest for a number of clients since June of 2010, including the Cordele Dispatch. She has also published a short story entitled “The Big Climb” in Awethology Light. Ann also published a story entitled “The Woods” in December Awethology Light Volume by The #Awethors. She is currently working on several novels, and a self-help book. To read more of Ms. Harrison’s inspirational writings, visit her blog at www.wwannwrites.wordpress.com.