The following content is comprised of personal opinions, and in no way reflects the opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project Digital Textbook

 The other night, while I was discussing what to pack for the Peace Corps with my mother, I expressed that I really wished I could bring my Calculus textbook because it would be an amazing resource while I'm there. However, the thing weighs near eight pounds and would take up a lot of my allotted weight. We had just also been discussing making copies of my paperwork, and she lightly suggested that I photocopy the textbook.

Like that, Project Digital Textbook was born. I was able to locate an industrial automatic scanner that will allow me to scan the pages quickly, provided I cut them off of the book binding first. The scanner will then save them as a pdf file and email them to me, thus converting eight pounds of paper and text into a (relatively) small digital version.

The legality of Project Digital Textbook is somewhat...gray. Under new federal laws, copying copyrighted media to a digital format (weather it came from an physical format or a digital one) is considered theft, piracy, illegal, and a bunch of other bad things. However, under fair use clauses, I believe I am allowed to 'back up' copyrighted material that I purchased, so long as I do so without distributing it to others or making a profit off of it.

This only slightly concerns me considering I will be serving in the Peace Corps, an extension of the US Federal Government, who ultimately enforces copyright law. Make no mistake, I plan to only use these files for the best of intentions. I'm not aiming to sell them or distribute them. I am merely using them in place of physical copies to ensure I give a quality education to the students of Rwanda.

While Project Digital Textbook is on hold due to the fact that Test Subject #1, my Calculus book, is in Duluth and I'm in the Twin Cities, I have been advancing the scope of the project ion the meantime. I spoke with the Tutoring Center I volunteered at during college and inquired if they had textbooks they wanted to get rid of. They told me that they have boxes of them every year that they give away to students for free because they are too old. They said I could swing by any time and claim any textbooks I thought would help me, especially if I am going to put them to as good a use as teaching in developing areas.

I sent out my passport documents today. I'm slightly more concerned about this because that gives me less than five weeks to have them be processed and approved. But I supposes that's what happens when I receive a six week notice that my life will change forever. That's not a complaint, just a remark. The Peace Corps, an especially the Placement Office, does wonderful work and i very much appreciate all they have done for me.

Tomorrow marks the one month mark before I leave. I find it rather hard to believe that it was near a year ago that I started applying for this opportunity. All the hard work, the waiting, the paperwork, the waiting, the drawn blood (and passing out), ans the waiting are now paying off. of course, now I need to wait some more.

Don't forget to be awesome


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