Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Bits and Back Again

When we last heard about complex color, it was to say farewell and bear witness as a pile of papers migrated from desktop to recycling bin.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the recycling bin - there was an excursion. Several excursions.

First, earlier this year several of the publications took a trip to Mountain View to be scanned into Google Books. The details of the hardware are speculative but today Giordano and I had lunch with Dan Bloomberg of Google.

Dan is a contributor to the software in Google Books and among other things he wrote the unsupervised classifier of the connected components for the JBIG2 encoder. He also wrote the code that makes the PDF pages cleaner than clean. Some of the details are covered in the paper "Google Books: Making the public domain universally accessible" by Adam Langley and Dan. And for those of you needing some source code there is also Dan's Leptonica and Adam's JBIG2 encoder.

Dan fielded many questions, asked several and allowed Giordano and I the time to study the statue of Jacque Cousteau on the way to the cafeteria.

But I digress.

Several months later after being scanned a number of the publications relating to complex color have passed from the recycling bin to Google Books:

  • La ricerca di avanguardia vista dall'AIC nel terzo millennio: Seoul 2000, Rochester 2001, Maribor 2002, Bangkok 2003, by Lucia R. Ronchi, Silvia Rizzo
  • La ricerca di avanguardia vista dall'AIC nel terzo millennio: Colore e linguaggio, by Lucia R. Ronchi
  • La ricerca d'avanguardia vista dall'AIC nel terzo millennio, Volume 3, by Lucia R. Ronchi, Claudio Oleari, Silvia Rizzo
  • La scienza della visione dal punto di vista delle scene naturali, by Lucia R. Ronchi
  • Il processo visivo nel terzo millennio, by Lucia R. Ronchi
  • Il processo del colore nel XXI secolo, by Lucia R. Ronchi
  • The excentric blue: an abridged historical review, by Lucia R. Ronchi, Jodi Sanford

    The last one, The Excentric Blue, long appealed to me. I would come into Giordano's cube to talk about something but end up talking about something else. Then I'd notice the book on the top of his complex color pile and think I should really borrow it to read through it in more detail.

    After lunch I came back and printed out a chapter.

    Now the clutter from Giordano's cube has left his desktop and found it's way via an exquisitely convoluted path to my desktop.

    The atoms of the original book are now bits and the bits are available online. The bits in turn can be turned back into atoms. Which is really remarkable. Complex color reincarnated not as a book but as digital pages.

    And some of those digital pages will presumably make their way to Google Editions.
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