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The MTB Legacy Project Kickstarter - Help get tons of old MTB documents digitized!

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The MTB Legacy Project Kickstarter - Help get tons of old MTB documents digitized!

Old 07-15-17, 05:58 AM
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The MTB Legacy Project Kickstarter - Help get tons of old MTB documents digitized!

The pioneers of mountain biking have thousands of old documents that need to be scanned and put online. If you'd like to help out, the link is below

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...legacy-project

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Old 07-15-17, 04:23 PM
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I'm confused.

Why do they need $50,000 to scan a bunch of documents? Seriously, you could hire someone for 3 months to scan everything for significantly less than that. Hire a few high schoolers, they'd be happy to do it.

You could probably hire an actual purpose built company to digitize everything. Those existed for a while years ago.
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Old 07-15-17, 05:44 PM
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They also plan on hosting the data online and providing free access to the public. It definitely seems like a lot of money but even at minimum wage ($10.50/hr in California) that is less than 5000 hours of time.. depending on the number of documents (apparently in the "hundreds of thousands" range) then it may not even be enough money.
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Old 07-15-17, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I'm confused.

Why do they need $50,000 to scan a bunch of documents? Seriously, you could hire someone for 3 months to scan everything for significantly less than that. Hire a few high schoolers, they'd be happy to do it.

You could probably hire an actual purpose built company to digitize everything. Those existed for a while years ago.
Scanning is only part of the process. To make it accessible they'll need a website, and to take a storage unit full of paper and make a decent website out of it will probably cost more than $50k.
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Old 07-15-17, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Scanning is only part of the process. To make it accessible they'll need a website, and to take a storage unit full of paper and make a decent website out of it will probably cost more than $50k.
Not only that, but it will take some people with a background in digital preservation to catalog and index the whole collection so it's usable and not an impenetrable stack of digital documents. I hope this gets underway, it would be a pretty neat tool if not a very valuable resource to up-and-coming framebuilders and enthusiasts.
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Old 07-17-17, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tiredhands View Post
I hope this gets underway, it would be a pretty neat tool if not a very valuable resource to up-and-coming framebuilders and enthusiasts.
I really hope so too.. I'll be making a donation in the next few weeks.. the amount of money they need is pretty substantial though. I saw on another forum people were suggesting some bigger companies should throw down.. like Specialized for example, they owe a lot to the development of the mountain bike
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Old 07-17-17, 06:27 PM
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Scanning papers is asset gathering and is relatively cheap. Telling a good story with it requires a savvy producer with comprehensive digital skills. That costs. Anything less will result in just a website with data with a bad search engine.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:01 PM
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I mean, if they could raise a few thousand they could ship everything to me and I'll get it done over the next few years.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:30 PM
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now we need a kickstarter to pay for shipping
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Old 07-17-17, 07:51 PM
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I agree companies such as Breezer, Ritchey, Gary Fisher, Specialized should be making $5000 donations to this endeavor. It would be a shame if this didn't get done.
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Old 07-17-17, 09:37 PM
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I have a lot of old MTB docs myself. Marin County early 80' stuff. What should I do with it?
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Old 08-03-17, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I'm confused.

Why do they need $50,000 to scan a bunch of documents? Seriously, you could hire someone for 3 months to scan everything for significantly less than that. Hire a few high schoolers, they'd be happy to do it.
This is my project, so I'll take this question.

Hire them with what? Oh yeah, money. Then I guess you would need a bunch of computer equipment, scanners and a server. Then you would need an office of at least 200 square feet to do the project in, since the storage unit is 150 square feet and is overflowing with paper. After the project is done, the paper still needs to be safely stored somewhere, safe from water damage and rodents. I have been taking care of this at my own expense for 30 years now, and that has been costing me hundreds of dollars a month for DECADES.

Your suggestion that this could be done in 3 months by people with no experience in the field indicates to me that you have no idea how massive this project is. It would not end when the current collection is scanned, we are also soliciting archives from anyone else who wants to preserve the record of these activities.

Then of course you need some pretty sophisticated archive software to handle the terabytes of information, and a server with a very fast connection to handle the traffic. Just paying for the bandwidth is going to be an ongoing cost of hundreds of dollars a month.

You could probably hire an actual purpose built company to digitize everything. Those existed for a while years ago.
Do you one that would work for free? Because that would be another ongoing cost.
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Old 08-03-17, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Scanning papers is asset gathering and is relatively cheap. Telling a good story with it requires a savvy producer with comprehensive digital skills. That costs. Anything less will result in just a website with data with a bad search engine.
I know of a website like that... j/k BF, love you!
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Old 08-03-17, 02:49 PM
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Also, this thread reads like a conversation between my VP who thinks everything should be cheap and fast and all our devs/contractors. And here I am, stuck in the middle.
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Old 08-03-17, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
This is my project, so I'll take this question.

Hire them with what? Oh yeah, money. Then I guess you would need a bunch of computer equipment, scanners and a server. Then you would need an office of at least 200 square feet to do the project in, since the storage unit is 150 square feet and is overflowing with paper. After the project is done, the paper still needs to be safely stored somewhere, safe from water damage and rodents. I have been taking care of this at my own expense for 30 years now, and that has been costing me hundreds of dollars a month for DECADES.

Your suggestion that this could be done in 3 months by people with no experience in the field indicates to me that you have no idea how massive this project is. It would not end when the current collection is scanned, we are also soliciting archives from anyone else who wants to preserve the record of these activities.

Then of course you need some pretty sophisticated archive software to handle the terabytes of information, and a server with a very fast connection to handle the traffic. Just paying for the bandwidth is going to be an ongoing cost of hundreds of dollars a month.

Do you one that would work for free? Because that would be another ongoing cost.
Maybe you should consider breaking this project into more bite sized bits.

The first priority, I would think, is to get everything scanned. Volunteers could do that with their own equipment, no need to buy any. There could be some quality control, volunteers again could check to make sure the scan was up to some standard.

You don't need your own server. Heck, most companies don't have any of their own, it's all "in the cloud". A terabyte is cheap nowadays. A quick search shows me that Google charges as low as about a penny a month per GB storage.

I know that doesn't make it accessible. But at least it preserves it. That should be your first priority.

Find people willing to take a box and get it all scanned. Agree to a standard format. You can even get it indexed for searchability. There is scanning software with OCR that will convert the scanned pictures into text and index everything for you. It's not perfect, but type in "Ritchey", and it'll find 99% of the documents that have Ritchey on it, with links.

None of this would cost you a single penny - a year's storage could be paid for by passing a hat at Sunshine Bicycles on a Saturday afternoon out of pocket change.

Building a searchable website would just require someone willling to put in the time to do it. This very website is run by volunteers, methinks. I'm sure they would be happy to give you free advice.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think this is doable. Send me a box, I'd scan it. I'd pay for shipping both directions as well. I'd bet you'd get a lot others to do the same, and a whole ton of 'em would drive over to your place and do the same. You'd probably want to vet them to make sure they don't run off with your historical documents, but that's doable.
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Old 08-04-17, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Maybe you should consider breaking this project into more bite sized bits.

The first priority, I would think, is to get everything scanned. Volunteers could do that with their own equipment, no need to buy any. There could be some quality control, volunteers again could check to make sure the scan was up to some standard.

You don't need your own server. Heck, most companies don't have any of their own, it's all "in the cloud". A terabyte is cheap nowadays. A quick search shows me that Google charges as low as about a penny a month per GB storage.

I know that doesn't make it accessible. But at least it preserves it. That should be your first priority.

Find people willing to take a box and get it all scanned. Agree to a standard format. You can even get it indexed for searchability. There is scanning software with OCR that will convert the scanned pictures into text and index everything for you. It's not perfect, but type in "Ritchey", and it'll find 99% of the documents that have Ritchey on it, with links.

None of this would cost you a single penny - a year's storage could be paid for by passing a hat at Sunshine Bicycles on a Saturday afternoon out of pocket change.

Building a searchable website would just require someone willling to put in the time to do it. This very website is run by volunteers, methinks. I'm sure they would be happy to give you free advice.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think this is doable. Send me a box, I'd scan it. I'd pay for shipping both directions as well. I'd bet you'd get a lot others to do the same, and a whole ton of 'em would drive over to your place and do the same. You'd probably want to vet them to make sure they don't run off with your historical documents, but that's doable.


I think you're right, Gugie, that there is probably a pretty strong potential community who would support the development of the archive, and could probably keep it running for a few years. I know that if I lived in CA I'd be chomping at the bit to try to get involved. However, as a librarian in charge of an archives, I understand a sober and conservative approach to preserving historical documents and ensuring the project's longevity. Especially if the goal is to develop a general bicycling digital repository, which is a pretty big goal. And while its super cool and encouraging if volunteers want to scan documents on their own machines, it makes me cringe to think of the amount of oversight and quality control that will be required, never mind interviews, outreach, and project management. That much processing is really only feasible with a very strict and standardized workflow, and specialized equipment and software.


It's been the plight of librarians and archivists in recent years to constantly need to defend their spending budgets because users don't realize just what licensing, data hosting, equipment costs, man hours, etc., actually cost, and how much time it takes to process 150 square feet of documents. There are a lot of ways to alleviate these costs that have become standard practice, such as grant funding, internships, volunteer hours, partnerships, etc. There's probably a foundation or government fund that would be able to contribute to this.


In fact, that's something I'd like to see from the project managers: have they considered the traditional means of getting funded? Is there a professional archivist working on this project?
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Old 08-04-17, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tiredhands View Post
I think you're right, Gugie, that there is probably a pretty strong potential community who would support the development of the archive, and could probably keep it running for a few years. I know that if I lived in CA I'd be chomping at the bit to try to get involved. However, as a librarian in charge of an archives, I understand a sober and conservative approach to preserving historical documents and ensuring the project's longevity. Especially if the goal is to develop a general bicycling digital repository, which is a pretty big goal. And while its super cool and encouraging if volunteers want to scan documents on their own machines, it makes me cringe to think of the amount of oversight and quality control that will be required, never mind interviews, outreach, and project management. That much processing is really only feasible with a very strict and standardized workflow, and specialized equipment and software.


It's been the plight of librarians and archivists in recent years to constantly need to defend their spending budgets because users don't realize just what licensing, data hosting, equipment costs, man hours, etc., actually cost, and how much time it takes to process 150 square feet of documents. There are a lot of ways to alleviate these costs that have become standard practice, such as grant funding, internships, volunteer hours, partnerships, etc. There's probably a foundation or government fund that would be able to contribute to this.


In fact, that's something I'd like to see from the project managers: have they considered the traditional means of getting funded? Is there a professional archivist working on this project?
Indeed. But if the choice were between losing the collection, or having it scanned and stored in less than perfect condition, which would we all choose? Should we let perfection get in the way of pretty good? Right now there's a lot of boxes stuck in storage, at risk of mold, fire, or theft. And it's not as if they can only be scanned once.

I still think one could come up with some minimum standards, for example, so many dpi, choose a non-lossy format (electronic images can always be saved in another format later), and have at it. Rather than decide to do the whole thing, pick a box and run it as a pilot program. There are lots of free storage opportunities that could be used.

What's stopping the OP from trying this method? At worst it might show that it's just not doable as a volunteer effort. At best everything would be scanned and safe in a reasonably good quality electronic condition.

Is there an estimate of the number of person-hours it would take? It would be relatively simple to calculate. How many boxes? How many documents per box? I could come up with a valid, statistical model to estimate that fairly quickly.
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Old 08-04-17, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Indeed. But if the choice were between losing the collection, or having it scanned and stored in less than perfect condition, which would we all choose? Should we let perfection get in the way of pretty good? Right now there's a lot of boxes stuck in storage, at risk of mold, fire, or theft. And it's not as if they can only be scanned once.

I still think one could come up with some minimum standards, for example, so many dpi, choose a non-lossy format (electronic images can always be saved in another format later), and have at it. Rather than decide to do the whole thing, pick a box and run it as a pilot program. There are lots of free storage opportunities that could be used.

What's stopping the OP from trying this method? At worst it might show that it's just not doable as a volunteer effort. At best everything would be scanned and safe in a reasonably good quality electronic condition.

Is there an estimate of the number of person-hours it would take? It would be relatively simple to calculate. How many boxes? How many documents per box? I could come up with a valid, statistical model to estimate that fairly quickly.

Good point! One of the first steps of getting funding is evaluating the projected cost. There are some standard guidelines for measuring projected processing time, usually measured by box or linear foot. Based on the lingo in the Kickstarter write-up, it seems that someone involved is familiar with the archive trade. I'd be super interested to see the details of the evaluation.


The problem with "perfection" vs "pretty good" is that, at some point, the "pretty good" will have to be re-processed to get "perfection." Which is an archivist's nightmare (I'm dealing with that at my institution right now). It's not that "perfection" is all that difficult to attain, there are all kinds of established standards that are easy to implement and follow, but it's that "perfection" is trying to guarantee against digital decay and format obsolescence. And no, it's not as simple as saving image files in another format later - you can't scale up if it's been scanned at a low resolution, and there is a risk of data corruption. The processing can totally be done by volunteers - I started my career as a volunteer at a university archives - but it would have to be done on-site.


It looks like they've begun a pilot/sample (http://workingmanfilms.com/mtblegacy...t/samples.html), but it's just basic document hosting with no metadata. There are indeed a number of great open-source platforms for creating and managing open-access digital repositories with scalable storage options. That's something that can easily be started for free and later have relocated to a more powerful/dedicated platform.


In my unsolicited opinion, I agree with you, Gugie, that ultimately I think that this project can be suitably started with a grass-roots approach. I imagine that there's no shortage of willing volunteers in the area who'd love to write grants, get some basic money together for a few scanners, computers, and hard drives, and volunteer time to rehouse and digitize a good chunk of this stuff. This project is begging for an internship program - man, I would have killed for an opportunity like that when I was in school. Still, I'm defending the project manager's cost estimate because I know that a sophisticated, searchable index and repository of scanned documents is real expensive, but a worthwhile investment.


And yeah, that picture of the storage container overflowing with boxes and documents is super scary. Get that stuff in acid-free boxes ASAP!

Last edited by tiredhands; 08-04-17 at 09:13 AM. Reason: Forgot link to the sample repository
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Old 08-04-17, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tiredhands View Post
In my unsolicited opinion, I agree with you, Gugie, that ultimately I think that this project can be suitably started with a grass-roots approach. I imagine that there's no shortage of willing volunteers in the area who'd love to write grants, get some basic money together for a few scanners, computers, and hard drives, and volunteer time to rehouse and digitize a good chunk of this stuff. This project is begging for an internship program - man, I would have killed for an opportunity like that when I was in school. Still, I'm defending the project manager's cost estimate because I know that a sophisticated, searchable index and repository of scanned documents is real expensive, but a worthwhile investment.
I am hypersensitive as to who gets to paw through this collection. Distributing it to "volunteers" is a chilling thought to me. After spending much of my life collecting and protecting this unique resource, I don't let just anyone look through it without my close supervision.

And that's why this collection still exists, because I am fanatic about it. It's my burden to bear, it has already cost me uncounted thousands of dollars over three decades just to keep it safe. I wouldn't mind getting some of that back, but that is not the top priority.

And yeah, that picture of the storage container overflowing with boxes and documents is super scary. Get that stuff in acid-free boxes ASAP!
Every suggestion I have heard on this discussion requires money. Just sayin'.
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Old 08-04-17, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
I am hypersensitive as to who gets to paw through this collection. Distributing it to "volunteers" is a chilling thought to me. After spending much of my life collecting and protecting this unique resource, I don't let just anyone look through it without my close supervision.

And that's why this collection still exists, because I am fanatic about it. It's my burden to bear, it has already cost me uncounted thousands of dollars over three decades just to keep it safe. I wouldn't mind getting some of that back, but that is not the top priority.

Every suggestion I have heard on this discussion requires money. Just sayin'.
It for sure takes a lot of money. I just had to do a write-up to justify buying only 15 archival document boxes because they are $12 a pop. The preservation situation looks dire from here, and I wish you guys all the funding in the world to get it cleaned up.


If you're unwilling to provide access to the physical documents to inexperienced volunteers, then I seriously recommend getting in touch with a local academic or state library with an archives department to start an internship program. Archivists-in-training are also constantly looking for volunteer opportunities to get hands-on preservation experience, and they would have the skills and reverence suited to a collection as valuable as this. Like I said, I'd have bent over backward to get involved with a project like this if I were a library student in your area. You could also probably get some help with grantwriting from local archivists. There's a huge network of support for projects like these in the archival science scene, have you explored that arena?
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Old 08-04-17, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post

You don't need your own server. Heck, most companies don't have any of their own, it's all "in the cloud". A terabyte is cheap nowadays. A quick search shows me that Google charges as low as about a penny a month per GB storage.
It's true, the storage is usually cheap, especially if you can get smart and put the least used stuff in cold storage. It's moving it around that gets ya. I/O charges (not to mention compute for front ends and compute intensive back ends) will eat you up.
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Old 08-04-17, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
I am hypersensitive as to who gets to paw through this collection. Distributing it to "volunteers" is a chilling thought to me. After spending much of my life collecting and protecting this unique resource, I don't let just anyone look through it without my close supervision.

And that's why this collection still exists, because I am fanatic about it. It's my burden to bear, it has already cost me uncounted thousands of dollars over three decades just to keep it safe. I wouldn't mind getting some of that back, but that is not the top priority.

Every suggestion I have heard on this discussion requires money. Just sayin'.
Glad you are doing this and I hope that some big bucks and maybe even (per @tiredhands suggestion) pro-archivist volunteer hours befall you.
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Old 08-04-17, 11:14 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
It's true, the storage is usually cheap, especially if you can get smart and put the least used stuff in cold storage. It's moving it around that gets ya. I/O charges (not to mention compute for front ends and compute intensive back ends) will eat you up.
Yep. But I'd say the first priority is to get it all scanned and stored. That part is straightforward, it's scope is limited, and could start quickly. Metadata can be added later. For stuff with lots of text, you can run the images through an OCR engine, which would make an immediate index so you can search for text within a document and get links back to the image.
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Old 08-06-17, 11:31 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by tiredhands View Post
If you're unwilling to provide access to the physical documents to inexperienced volunteers, then I seriously recommend getting in touch with a local academic or state library with an archives department to start an internship program. Archivists-in-training are also constantly looking for volunteer opportunities to get hands-on preservation experience, and they would have the skills and reverence suited to a collection as valuable as this. Like I said, I'd have bent over backward to get involved with a project like this if I were a library student in your area. You could also probably get some help with grantwriting from local archivists. There's a huge network of support for projects like these in the archival science scene, have you explored that arena?
That was an obvious thought to me also. I contacted the Library Science departments of several colleges, thinking this is a PhD for somebody. No success. If you think you know of someone who wants to get involved, I am more than ready to communicate.
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Old 08-06-17, 10:39 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
This is my project, so I'll take this question.

Hire them with what? Oh yeah, money. Then I guess you would need a bunch of computer equipment, scanners and a server. Then you would need an office of at least 200 square feet to do the project in, since the storage unit is 150 square feet and is overflowing with paper. After the project is done, the paper still needs to be safely stored somewhere, safe from water damage and rodents. I have been taking care of this at my own expense for 30 years now, and that has been costing me hundreds of dollars a month for DECADES.

Your suggestion that this could be done in 3 months by people with no experience in the field indicates to me that you have no idea how massive this project is. It would not end when the current collection is scanned, we are also soliciting archives from anyone else who wants to preserve the record of these activities.

Then of course you need some pretty sophisticated archive software to handle the terabytes of information, and a server with a very fast connection to handle the traffic. Just paying for the bandwidth is going to be an ongoing cost of hundreds of dollars a month.

Do you one that would work for free? Because that would be another ongoing cost.
It sounds like you're trying to raise money for all of the bills you've had in the past, not just the archiving.

It also sounds like you're extremely protective of the physical documents.

Your best chance to have everything done is to send it away to a professional archival company. If you don't let anybody else touch the originals other than yourself and a few others, you'll never get it done.

And no, you... really... don't need "sophisticated software" to hand the "terabytes" of information. Any simple reference manager would do it just fine. Most of which are free.

I know many of us here would scan the documents for free. Heck, I've even got proper "book scanning" utilities at my library on campus (because books with thick bindings are hard to scan.)

Another advantage of a professional company is their supposed "experience" with OCR (text recognition) software. I've personally tried "OCR"ing some old schwinn catalogs in the past. Admittedly I was working from very crappy scans online, but it's not even close to perfect. Even on high quality originals, the OCR was often wrong. Much of the time it was because the catalog had a "background image" behind much of the text, really making the OCR software... well... useless, and I was using some of the best software money can buy at my university's library. Another problem is that usually OCR software works from a dictionary of most often used words, so it'll get names wrong, and you can imagine how many unique names there are in a bicycle catalog...

I almost question if it'd be easier just to scan the documents, post the archive here, and say "Hey, if you can read through this and transcribe it I'd appreciate it." With the community here, I think the transcription would get done much more quickly than you'd imagine, AND it'd be free! Well, minus the cost of hosing, but google drive could do that for a few dollars per month. I mean, I'd gladly transcribe pages as I read them.
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