4R-Digitization has launched. By relying on VC funding to scaffold a post-digital infrastructure, the project aims to model public-private partnerships in DH.
From the announcement:
Notable projects in DH have focused on transcription, with efforts aimed at improving Optical Character Recognition (OCR) through machine learning or employing crowdsourcing techniques to transcribe texts. Emphasizing the transformation of printed texts– whether handwritten or typeset– into digital, machine-readable objects, these projects enable what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (MIT Center for Digital Business) describe in their recent bestseller, The Second Machine Age, as “a main force shaping the second machine age.”
4R-Digitization presents an innovative paradigm that seeks to ensure that digitization delivers continuous, inverted, sustainable value in the modern university context. Eschewing the complex, problematized volunteer labor models often linked to crowdsourcing, 4R-Digitization draws on private funding to employ efficiently-resourced workers. Relying on the growing corpus of digital texts, these workers are tasked with reverse digitization, ensuring that texts are physically preserved through analogueization. On average, each worker in the four-building complex that houses 60,000 employees fills fifteen kraft-paper-backed moleskines with longform writing every day. These volumes, the covers of which are modge-podged in an adjacent office tower, are placed in high density storage for perpetuity, in pursuit of the goal to Reverse, Reinvent, Reify, and Retain analogueized digital texts.