Canada's McMaster University Gets into Rare Book Business Digitally

Canada's McMaster University Library and United States-based companies Kirtas Technologies and Lulu.com will be partnering this fall to make rare books available to the public.

McMaster U will be using the Kirtas APT BookScan 2400RA to digitize rare, out-of-print books in its collections. Once the books are digitized and processed, files will be made available on the Internet through the university library and for sale as print-on-demand books on Lulu.com. The school will be working with Ristech, a Canadian distributor of automated digitization technologies.

"We have significant collections that we would like to make more widely accessible through digitization," said Jeffrey Trzeciak, university librarian. "The digitization technology provided by Kirtas, the support and service we receive from Ristech, and the ability of Lulu to pull it all together increases both the electronic availability and the availability of the books in print for those who choose print on demand."

As the publisher of these unique books, the library also hopes to generate revenue through the print-on-demand service.

"We see more and more universities taking advantage of the print-on-demand option that is enabled through the digitization process," said Kirtas founder and CEO Lotfi Belkhir. "Not only are these institutions sharing their unique collections, but they are also creating a revenue stream that allows them to reinvest in their access and preservation efforts."

McMaster University has a student population of 23,000.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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