It always bugged me in Buffy when the scoobys were looking up the latest demonic threat, they’d all be desperately scouring through stacks of books, and I always wondered why they didn’t scan them. Buffy was on the air a while ago, but it wasn’t pre-computer.

Edit: As about 2 dozen people have pointed out, they did scan some of the library in Buffy, to detrimental results. It’s been a while since I watched the series.

Sure, scanning books in ancient languages doesn’t make them instantly searchable. But it would have to save you some time, right? The Sunnydale library’s OCR software probably doesn’t do Sanskrit, but you can bet your ass that The Council’s and ARC-Light’s software does. Also Mesopotamian, Sumerian and Hittite.

It also does facial recognition on the drawings of demons in it, in case the person drawing them was particularly skilled and the demon in question is long lived enough to still be around when someone digs up the tome 2000 years later. Also they can use it to quickly identify creatures based on horn configurations, tusks, tails, number of eyes, etc. Assuming the resident demonologist isn’t all “oh yeah I know what that is.”

Scanning also presents the issue of potentially not capturing all the information in any given book. Some might have notes in the margins that can only be read under the full moon, or evil creatures see different coordinates on the ancient map than good creatures. So obviously you’d keep the original texts around, but it would still give you a head start in a lot of cases.

This page colored by Keith.

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