Saturday, April 26, 2008

How Google Book Scanning Works

Want to know how they get all those books into Google Book Search? It's about as tedious and boring as you'd expect:

What you might not know is, besides our home publishing business, my day-job is managing a department that does this sort of thing on a much wider scope: banks, hospitals, counties, surveyors, etc., etc. All day long, dozens of employees feed things into scanners and look at images on screens, two shifts running from 7am to 9pm. While the tediousness weeds out the poor performers (I once offered a job to an interviewee who was nice enough to decline the position after seeing first-hand what we do), we've ended up with a department full of those crazy people that really, really love paper -- in the past few weeks, I've had more than one employee excitedly show me something they've scanned: a name on a document or a sheet of historical importance or an original document that normally people don't get to touch. The job may not be for everyone, but there's people out there that this sort of thing is perfect for.

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