Almost two years ago, I had the privilege to hear Professor Aviezri Fraenkel, Creator of the Bar Ilan Responsa Program and Rabbi Chaim Rosenberg, creator of the Hebrewbooks.org website discuss the pros and cons of their respective programs.
It is amazing to think that less than two years ago hebrewbooks only had 15,000 Seforim online and today they have over 40,000.
The funniest moment of the lecture occurred when Professor Fraenkel discussed the humble beginnings of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. At that time, the only enterprise willing to invest in OCR was the United States Postal Service. After chasing after the USPS for the longest time, they finally convinced them to run a study to determine how much such a machine would cost.
The head of the department finally responded that “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the first prototype machine will cost 10 million dollars. The good news is that the second one will only cost five million.”
“Good!” said the Professor. “I’ll take the second one”!