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Overview of the IMPACT Project

7 May, 2010

Aly Conteh returns to the stage to explain the context in which IMPACT sees itself operating.  He explains first of all The British Library’s particular interest in the project: even material that had already been digitised had not always been digitised in such a way as to be accessible, except as an illustrative image.  The BL also became aware of a lack of sharing of knowledge across libraries and other digitising institutions.

Main aims of the IMPACT project: innovate OCR and language technology; encourage sharing of expertise across Europe; ensure sustainability of project results after project.  Recent extension of project to include partners from south and eastern Europe is an attempt both to share current project learning, and to drive take-up, testing and application of the tools produced.  Aly discusses the structure of project and the suite of tools it aims to produce.

In conclusion, he makes the point that in 2011, after integration of new partners, IMPACT would like to make its tools and services available to as wide an audience as possible.  2011 is therefore intended as a transitional phase from IMPACT as a research project to IMPACT as a self-sustaining centre of competence in mass digitisation.  Aly encourages delegates to sign up to IMPACT newsletter to get information about the consultation period leading up to the formal announcement of the Centre of Competence.  Aly notes that if we need one pointer towards the sustainability of the project it’s the sheer scale of the task ahead: there are enough books and documents around to keep us working almost indefinitely.

Niall Anderson, BL + Mark-Oliver Fischer, BSB

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