Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Worth Trust: Scanning in Tamil Nadu

My first social enterprise visit in Chennai was to one of the offices of Worth Trust, our social enterprise partner in Tamil Nadu. Scanning office with several people working on a PC with people watching and taking photos.
Thanks to funding from the Lavelle Fund, we've been able to set up a scanning facility to produce books there. Worth Trust is a social enterprise with the goal of employing people with disabilities. It has a great symmetry: people with non-print disabilities are scanning in books for people with visual disabilities. The Times of India covered the story during my visit, Disabled in city help blind in US.

Scanner scanning a book
The scanning setup is quite similar to ours in Palo Alto, of course. I'm always amazed at how small high-speed scanners are these days. You chop the book binding off and an entire book scan be scanned in five or ten minutes. We've been shipping books to Chennai, but that turns out to be hard. We'll expect to be sending some digital images of books from the U.S. for proofreading in the future. Plus, as we get more permissions from India publishers, we'll be able to source English language books locally. And, hopefully in the future we'll be able to do books in Indian languages like Hindi and Tamil (and many others, of course).

Overhead camera scanning station The Worth Trust also has a cool scanner that we don't have, a nondestructive book scanner. I assume that this is like what Google Books uses to scan library books. You place the book in a cradle and cameras overhead take pictures of the pages, and then someone turns the page. Definitely a must for those books you can't afford to slice and dice!

1 comment:

deviramaseshan said...

I work with special education kids in Maryland USA. Also I have good experience working with VI and braille students. I am volunteer for Bookshare & validate books. I plan to visit chennai ( the place where I was raised)this summer. I like to volunteer in Worth trust . Wondering if any opportunities are there? Any help appreciated
My name is Devi Ramaseshan
My id deviramaseshan@yahoo.com