Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New search functionality implemented

We've implemented a new search feature that allows users to search for a term within titles, authors & text. Right now this is a simple search (no boolean or proximity) that will locate your exact search term; advanced functionality is forthcoming. Please give it a try at:


As always, we welcome all feedback! Please send directly to "chris dot freeland at mobot dot org"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

PDF comparison with LuraDocument

As part of our current scanning procedures, our Imaging Techs take our full resolution TIF images and convert them to bitonal GIFs using a Photoshop action. They then take those GIFs and pull them into a PDF so that users can download an entire volume for offline viewing - "grab and go" as I like to call it. We've been downsampling to a bitonal GIF so that the PDF is relatively small, but even then they are usually between 30-70MB. Not to mention they're bitonal, which is fine for text but terrible for illustrations!

Download a PDF made from bitonal GIFs (26MB)

So imagine my delight after evaluating LuraTech's LuraDocument and being able to compress full resolution (and color depth) images down to an 11MB PDF:

Download this better PDF made from color & greyscale images (11MB)
*Note - we scan text in greyscale and color illustrations in color. This was done to save server space, but we're reconsidering this approach and will probably scan everything in color.

**Note - There are watermarks on every page because this is an evaluation version of the software.

Users are harvesting our PDFs en masse, especially those in remote corners of the world without ready access to the internet, so we'd like to provide the best possible PDF. Our intention is still to provide full quality images via our web-based page navigation interface; this is just a better option for those who want to grab the entire PDF in one fell download.

Monday, August 21, 2006

List of authors with digitized titles

One of the popular features of our IllustratedGarden web site was a single-page view of all of our authors with digitized works, making it easy for users to browse and see if a particular author was represented. That functionality has been implemented in Botanicus:

View Authors in Botanicus

Thursday, August 10, 2006

JPEG2000 images online for select titles

We have evaluated LuraTech's LuraWave SDK for JPEG2000 (JP2) encoding to great success. On average it takes 20-30 minutes to encode all of the TIF images for a digitized book into JP2 images, which is about 3x faster than our OCR conversion rate (apples to oranges, I know, but lets you know that it takes about 2 hours total to post process a book after it's been scanned). We still have lots of encoding parameters to evaluate before moving into a production environment, but until then, please try the zoom & pan functionality for the following titles:

Caroli Linnaei ... Species plantarum

Synopsis plantarum,seu Enchiridium botanicum, complectens enumerationem systematicam specierum hucusque cognitarum /curante C.H. Persoon.

Joannis Hedwig...species muscorum frondosorum descriptae et tabulis aeneis lxxvii coloratis illustratae /opus posthumum, editum a Friderico Schwaegrichen.

View this page to see how the JP2 images look for color illustrations.