Scanning Books- My Next Obsession for the next year or twoSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Scanning Books- My Next Obsession for the next year or two

8 November 2015 at 10:39:47 AM

I'm pretty excited. I got my grand uncles extensive collection of history books a few years ago, sorted through them 2 years ago, and decided last week to get a book scanner. The problem with having a lot of books and then trying to look something up is that, first, you have to remember which book it might be, and second, then you have to go find where in the book the reference is.

I looked at book scanners last week and decided on one by Fujitsu called Scan Snap SV600. It is hands free and essentially, I put the book on the table, and the scanner mechanism, from the top, about 1 foot above, scans the book. I don't have to take books apart to scan them, don't have to mess with, as with a flatbed scanner, having to reposition the book each time and then close the flap. I had an old flatbed scanner and took out the glass from it, am using that as a way to flatten the pages out before scanning without having to put my fingers on the sides to hold it down.(in other words, I don't want to have to spend extra time to try to remove my fingers from a scan) 

The software has a way to correct pages for scan size, ie, suppose you got more of the desk than the book, etc and then lets you save the finished correction. I do, as a PDF file, then bring it up in Adobe Acrobat and run it through OCR (optical character recognition which takes the images and turns what it understands into searchable text) . I check in that phase to make sure I'm not missing any pages or have any duplicates, put a watermark on the pages, and then resave. The OCR part allows anyone looking at the PDF to be able to do a text search. Of course, OCR is not perfect, but it's FAR better than having to manually peruse pages in a book or hope your subject is indexed in the back.

I just finished a book that had 175 pages. It took about half an hour to scan in the book, about another 5-10 to check the pages for uniform scan, then about another 5-10 to go through the pages, looking for missing or duplicates. So, it took less than an hour to do a book of that size. I did one that had 800 pages yesterday and that one, hah, took longer.

My goal for this year is to get all my uncle's books digitized so that he can use them online for reference if he wants. And then, I want to start systematically going through other books that I have kept for that mythical reference reason but would find so much better to be able to search as a PDF. At that point, I will either sell the original books or I might donate them to a library if it appears the library has the space for additional books.

Update: As I've been doing this, have figured out a few things. One is that some of the books are 9x11 size or larger. I had been putting them longwise, but if you watch the video, you'll see how the scanner mechanism doesn't move down the page but rather tilts. That leaves the bottom of the larger books with a sort of curve as it's not straight on. What I just tried, that worked great, is to put the larger books sideways rather than longways, then, in the finishing process when I bring up the file in Adobe Acrobat, IF Acrobat hasn't figured to rotate the page, I go through and rotate the ones to be longwise. I'm already checking each page for continuity, to see if I need to rescan, or am missing anything, so it's not any big deal. Occurs to me also that this would be a good thing to do with all the large books but in those cases, I would probably want to do one page at a time. I'm going to find or make a black piece of cardboard to put over the second page so that only one page will be scanned (helps with the process of determining the perimeters of the book. In other words, for the smaller books, I can do both pages at a time, so it's quicker but for the larger books, I think I'll need to do one page at a time. 


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