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Submissions/Open hardware and Open Source for Open Content: GLAM, the DIY Book Scanner community and Wikimedia digitalize public domain books. Case study from Argentina

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2014 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no. 2028
Title of the submission

Open hardware and Open Source for Open Content: GLAM, the DIY Book Scanner community and Wikimedia digitalize public domain books. Case study from Argentina

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission

Evelin Heidel (a.k.a. Scann)

E-mail address



Scanno / Scann

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

Fundación Vía Libre

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

At 2011, I was working at the School of Arts of the University of Buenos Aires. They had a really big problem: they wanted to digitalize their collection, but had no skills, no hardware and no money to buy it.

So, in searching for a solution for them, a friend told me about a site called DIY Book Scanner. Then, derechoaleer.org, a graphic designer, and I, built the first model that we presented to the University based on the different models, shared thoughts and information that was available at the forum of the DIY Book Scanner community. The School of Arts adopted the idea and I started working on their digitalization project, but it was already clear to me that this was something that a lot of institutions, specially in Argentina, could benefit from. The only thing that was missing was the link: how do we take this scanners to these institutions, and convince them to release whatever they digitalized?

In march of 2012, I met some people from the Internet Archive and we talked about how their system worked: they delivered their scanners to institutions in exchange of archives. But it seemed to me that the Internet Archive scanners, though robust, weren't the right and cheapest solution for libraries and archives in Latin America; ours, instead, seemed a perfect low-bureaucracy, low-cost and high-quality solution.

So I contacted with Wikimedia Argentina and we started working in the project: they'd run with the costs, I'd volunteer my work, and the institutions were going to scann and upload their books and archives using our scanners and ONLY free software. And so we did!

Until so far, we have three institutions committed to this project. BIBHUMA, the library of the School of Arts and Education of the University of la Plata; SEDICI, the central repository of the University of La Plata; and the Feminaria Library, a special library devoted to the study of the feminist movement in Argentina. And now we are going to have even more libraries, counting inside our partners the National Academy of Literature, who is going to digitalize some special collections, like "Travellers from Río de La Plata from the XVII to the XIX century", that they have in their library. An IMPORTANT NOTE is that we are not giving away the scanner; we make a contract with the institution, we lend the scanner to them in exchange of their archives, and once the contract is finished we have the scanner back, and free to place it in another institution.

I want to talk about how open hardware and free software can help us bring more open content to Wikimedia's projects and engage GLAM institutions in further work with us. Also, I want to share with the Wikimedia community a broader insight on this project to help to its development in other countries.

Plan of presentation (this is a draft and may change in the future)

1- A scanner made out of wood!

The process of building a scanner was harder than we thought, but fortunately the DIY Book Scanner community came up with a really simple and nice solution. But then, another obstacle appeared: how do we convince a GLAM institution to adopt this inside their offices? We'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of this scanner and see how you can jump a GLAM institution into this project.

2- All that free software

Dealing with free software is not always easy: there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so here we are going to discuss the different tools to solve the post-process part, the work that has been done by a couple of truly neat programmers at the DIY Book Scanner forum, and all the improvements and help that we need from the free software community to come up to a really workable solution, and the cool stuff we need from the Wikimedia developers community.

3- Can I call my lawyer?

Explaining the legal conditions of the content we put on Wikimedia can be hard, but here we're going to see how the institutions have understood this and made it part of their own policy, specially by adopting even more audacious solutions than what we proposed originally.

4- Get yourself ready to train!

Is not only about convincing the cultural institutions, but also about tranining them and their personnel. A short story of what we we can learn and improve from their experiences and while training them.

5- Is not only about scan and upload

So, how we can think about digitalization as a broader policy? For a long time, at least since the XIX century, archives in Latin America have been misunderstood in their importance, being left as the last ear in the jar, nothing important to deal with. The result of that has been that most of our really important archives are now abroad, mostly located in Europe. For us not to repeat that history, we need to take digitalization seriously throughout. Furthermore, I want to share a little insight on thinking digitalization as a cultural policy for information. Here, we're going to discuss next steps for the future and how we can engage cultural institutions to broaden the sense of this project in multiple ways.

  • GLAM Outreach
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
No. And also I won't be able to give my talk if I'm not provided any funding.
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests
  • If provided a normal table, I can take the scanner with me and leave it in exposition during not only my talk but for the rest of the conference, and we can do really cool stuff like trying it to see how it works!
  • Having audio would be nice, also.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. --ralgis·/t/ 22:02, 17 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Djembayz (talk) 16:25, 21 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. --Zeroth (talk) 19:41, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Pepe piton (talk) 19:56, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. --Fedaro (talk) 21:25, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. --AnselmiJuan (talk) 21:26, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Ezarate (talk) 22:13, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Fixertool (talk) 22:54, 31 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. --Ayaita (talk) 18:51, 5 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. PatHadley (talk) 11:19, 4 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Xelgen (talk) 04:05, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  12. --Chandres (talk) 10:48, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Scott (talk) 19:31, 23 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Greg G (talk) 17:58, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Jodi.a.schneider (talk) 20:06, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Micru (talk) 12:16, 15 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Viswaprabha (talk) 11:13, 18 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  18. Aschroet (talk) 12:51, 12 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  19. Your name here!