Six decades of collected research and information about solar energy was nearly lost last month when torrential rains flooded parts of Boulder CO. The American Solar Energy Society, a non-profit organization supporting solar energy research and implementation is based on Boulder. The archives are now sitting in the organization's executive director's garage, but the organization has bigger plans in store.
The ASES is running a Kickstarter to raise funds to digitize 60 years of archives. The fundraiser seeks to raise a relatively modest $118,977 to not just scan the documents, but also to OCR the information and make it more readily useful. "After a page is scanned from a paper format, whether it's a book, magazine, research paper, or pdf, it will be converted to plain text via OCR. The images and diagrams will also become separate entities with their own tagging and categorization methodology that allows searching to be optimized as well as displayed in different contextual formats."
ASES plans to make all of this information freely available. "Similar to the way that the open source code community shares information, where code is open for others to see and build or improve upon, within open systems, creativity and innovation are able to grow exponentially. We want the same thing to happen with solar and renewable technologies."