book scanning

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by leaftye, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. mic43

    mic43 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Does anyone do it? What scanner/software do you use?
     
  2. ScubaX

    ScubaX Level 90 Mage Senior Member

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    I've heard several people on this board suggest scanning in your books to save weight. With a standard scanner, that would be very difficult and time consuming process. Also, where the pages begin to curve toward the spine shows in the scan and makes it difficult to read.

    I once scanned in most of an anatomy lab book. It was about 150 pages total and took me weeks to do it, though I was cropping the figures for index cards. I had cut the book apart so all the pages were flat.

    Figure around a minute per page minimum to get the scan into a PDF. I have easily a 100 pages a day to read so that is at least 90 minutes of time - probably more like 2 hours though.

    There was a scanner I saw about a year ago that was just a flat piece of glass and you laid it on the book. I think reviews were a little negative, but that kind of scanner would certainly improve the speed of the process and eliminate the curve at the spine.

    Also, there can be a problem with bleed through. Where the scanner can see the page behind the page being scanned. They can adjust for this, but not alway perfect - but doable.

    Oh, how about using a digital camera? If set on a tripod that might work a whole lot better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Book_scanner.svg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  3. SimsHsia

    SimsHsia "I will do science to it" Senior Member

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    I've used a regular flatbed scanner before I got fed up of seeing dark areas, especially near the spine of the book before I bought the Plustek OpticBook 3600.

    With the regular scanner, it took about 10 seconds per page at 300 dpi; with the OpticBook it took roughly 4 seconds. It helps if you're holding a 1,000+ page book that you don't want to lug around campus! :D

    As for the bleed through, I used a black piece of construction paper and put it in between each page, it's a hassle, but at least I don't see text from the next page. The OpticBook actually comes with a black plastic insert that does the same job the black piece of construction paper did. All in all, with the removing and inserting of the plastic insert, putting the book and positioning it, it takes about 8 total seconds to scan a page.
     
  4. kureshii

    kureshii Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I can vouch for the tripod method; scanned more than 10 textbooks with it already.

    Get a cheap tripod (not much difference with an expensive one), extend the legs a suitable length. Make one leg longer than the other two (which should be the same length) so that the tripod leans over one side; this helps keep the tripod legs out of the picture (I'm not responsible for any damage your camera might sustain in the process!)

    Mount your camera, use a plumbline (or earphones, if you're lazy) to position the centre of the book directly under the camera lens. Adjust the camera view (using the tripod head) so that the entire book is in the viewfinder. Use highest quality settings for everything (don't sacrifice image quality here!). If your camera has image filters, use a greyscale one. I'd also suggest setting white balance to day/flourescent for indoors scanning. Make sure the area is brightly lit, and no shadows fall across the book.

    If you get the tripod height right, you'll be able to sit near the tripod, snap an image, flip the page and snap another image [addendum: remember to let the autofocus kick in first!], at an average speed of 0.25 images per second (I can scan 1000 textbook pages in under an hour now). It is important that the image sits exactly in horizontal middle; this aids greatly in batch cropping later. You might have to readjust the textbook position every 100 pages or so, if it is thick.

    Once you're done you'll have a batch of double-paged images.Crop the top and bottom, then the left and right (make sure you crop the same number of pixels left and right). If all's right, the images will have the line between the pages right in the middle (kindly excuse my liberal application of the word 'right'). It takes practice, but by the 2nd or 3rd textbook you will probably have this down to an art.

    Now make a copy of all the images (or just a copy of the parent folder). Using your favourite image editor (MS Office Picture Manager steps up to the task remarkably), crop half the pixels from the left for one batch of images, and from the right for the other batch of images. If the page separator line is right in the middle the pages should be nicely cropped. Convert to greyscale if you haven't done so already. Feel free to adjust brightness and contrast if you like.

    Now you'll need a file renaming program; I don't have any particular recommendations so feel free to use your own. Your camera probably named the images "CIMG0001" or "DISC0001" or something similar; no need to mess with that. Just append 'L' to the left-page batch of images, and 'R' to the right-page batch. Now put both batches in the same folder, and sort by filename - they'll automatically be sorted in the right order. Delete blank pages if you want, and feel free to compress the images if you don't mind a little loss of quality, or convert to GIF - feel free to suggest other things here, it's not a be-all-end-all guide. The whole cropping and editing process shouldn't take more than half an hour, YMMV depending on your level of proficiency and of course, tablet performance.

    Now just select all the images, and print using the default Windows image printer (sorry Linux guys, I'm not sure if Linux has anything like this - probably does I guess). Of course, you'll need to install a PDF printer first - I heartily recommend Bullzip (since PDFCreator is no longer freeware).

    Sorry for the long post, and the lack of images (pictures of a tripod without a mounted camera are rather pointless, no?). I'm using a Casio Exilim Z1050 (10MP, 3x zoom) by the way, and recommend it as a great general-purpose camera and for textbook scanning as well ;)

    [edit] I have sample pages available upon request - please PM me. File sizes vary, but can go as low as 60MB for 930 pages (depending on which PDF printer you use)
     
  5. SimsHsia

    SimsHsia "I will do science to it" Senior Member

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    Great guide, kureshii -- now if I only had a tripod for the camera. ;)

    Funny thing I did in between while waiting for the OpticBook to arrive, I followed these instructions, and didn't work out well, too bad I didn't use it long enough to have a red ring around my eye! :D
     
  6. mic43

    mic43 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    thanks alot for your help...using a digital camera sounds alot faster than using the plustek 3600...much appreciated
     
  7. Frank

    Frank Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    And how do you solve the problem with the "bended text" in the center of a larger book?
     
  8. mic43

    mic43 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    i figure a flat piece of thick, heavy glass will keep the pages flat and wrapping a desk lamp's fluorescent bulb in polarized celephane paper will eliminate glare

    i was hoping to do OCR, but its proven to me more of a hassle than its worth
     
  9. kureshii

    kureshii Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Bended text? Try to flatten the pages as much as possible (as far as the spine will allow). This, together with poor contrast, is the main drawback of the digital camera method.

    However, unless your textbook is seriously thick (I've had no major problems with textbooks up to 1000 pages so far), the text near the middle is still readable after scanning.

    Feel free to ask me for samples and judge for yourself. I find it a fair tradeoff for that kind of speed.
     
  10. 117

    117 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Can you please post some pics or file to view. I'm really interested in see how they look.
     
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