Pen and paper publishing to your website? PaperWebsite is on to something.

Handwriting to Website #​​​FTW

While browsing today I ran across an awesome concept called It allows you to write on paper, take a photo, and then upload it to a website. Your handwritten words published to your website. A tactile writer’s dream.

My immediate thought—I need to have this now!

Articles written by hand in my journal to my website? Short notes that I write on index cards published as microblog updates.  How cool would that be? I was also talking to someone this morning about voice-to-text as a note taking concept. What about that too?

Of course, as you may know, I’ve already got a website. Do I need another one like this for $10/month? Probably not.

Value Proposition

But this has got me wondering “what the value proposition is for Paper Website as a company?” What are they really selling? Domain names? Hosting? Notebooks? They certainly seem to be selling all of the above, but the core product they’re really selling is an easy-to-use interface for transferring paper ideas to digital publishing. And this is exactly what I want!

The problem now is to buy this sub-service without all the other moving pieces like a domain name, hosting, etc., which I don’t need. Taking just the core service and abstracting it to the wider universe of websites could be a major technical hurdle (and nightmare).

IndieWeb and Micropub

Perhaps I could try find an OCR solution and wire it all together myself? I’d rather see the original developer run away with the idea though. So instead I’ll quietly suggest that they could take their current infrastructure and add a small piece.

Since PaperWebsite’s already got the front end up and running, why not add on Micropub support to the back end? Maybe Ben Stokes could take the OCR output and create a new Micropub client that could authenticate to any website with Micropub support? I have to imagine that he could probably program it in a couple of days (borrowing from any of the pre-existing open source clients or libraries out there) and suddenly it’s a product that could work with WordPress, Drupal, WithKnown, Craft, Jekyll, Kirby, Hugo, Blot, and a variety of other platforms that support the W3C spec recommendation or have plugins for it.

The service could publish in “draft” form and allow editing after-the-fact. There’s also infrastructure for cross-syndicating to other social services with Micropub clents, so note cards to my website and automatically syndicated to Twitter, Mastodon, or Yes, please.

And maybe it could be done as a service for a dollar a month or a few dollars a year?

I made a short mention of the idea in the IndieWeb chat, and it’s already a-buzz with implementation ideas… If you’re around Ben, I’m sure folks there would lend a hand if you’re interested.

The website, commonplace book, note taking, stationery, and fountain pen nerd in me is really excited about where this could go from a user interface perspective.

How Moleskine, Leuchtturm, LiveScribe or the other stationery giants haven’t done this already is beyond me. I could also see serious writing apps like  iA Writer or Ulysses doing something like this too.


Published by

Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

19 thoughts on “Pen and paper publishing to your website? PaperWebsite is on to something.”

  1. @warner If you hadn’t seen it yet, I did get something working:…

    I’ve got a Livescribe pen that does digital capture with linked audio which is pretty cool. They’ve got an OCR option that’s pretty functional, but don’t make it easy to share to the web (anymore).

    Microsoft has a nice photo app called Lens (at least on Android) that does a good job of “scanning” documents and images. Photos of artworks taken at an angle are easily re-framed, croppable, and reshaped to look as if you took it straight on in much better conditions.

    We definitely need more of these things for creators.

  2. @warner just saw this. Thank you for the kind words. But like you, @chrisaldrich , I’m still trying to figure out the best methodology for sharing my “analog” work. The biggest issue is figuring out how a picture of words can still be accessible, readable, and experienced positively by people using screen readers and other inclusive tech.

  3. I’m interested to learn more about how you integrated Rocketbook and Obsidian.

    1. Chris Aldrich says:

      Similar to the other workflow, I’m using IFTTT to watch a folder for new documents with text. I keep my Obsidian vault in a OneDrive folder, so when it finds a new note it automatically adds a new .txt file to my Obsidian vault. I’m sure one could use a variety of if and then conditions to set up something like this for Obsidian or many of the other note taking tools out there.

      1. Asher Silberman says:

        Ooh the OneDrive hosting was the missing link! Very clever.

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