Scanning documents and books for reading on the Iliad is surely going to be one of its important uses. The storage capacity of the Iliad is well over 5 GB – a 4 GB compact flash card, a 1 GB MMC card, and a USB stick. Five GBytes is enough to store several hundred books scanned in at high resolution. Anyone who carries a library of manuals with them would prefer to carry only an Iliad and a few flash devices.
My own interest has been in scanning old and out of copyright books. I have been surprised at how well they display on the Iliad. The pictures in books with many black and white, (i.e. grayscale), illustrations are very well reproduced on the Iliad. If zoom is implemented small illustrations might in fact be easier to view on the Iliad than on the original printed page. Large pdf files are easily handled.
I have been asked to describe my technique for scanning – equipment etc. I use a very simple and inexpensive method that enables one to scan in several books a day. It does require that the books be unbound and available as separate sheets. Aside from a reasonably fast computer running Windows XP my equipment consists of 4 tools:
1.) A utility knife with replaceable blades – the type sold by Stanley or Sears with the 2 ended retractable blades.
2.) A paper cutter of the guillotine type – best if it cuts 32 sheets at once – I use an X-acto from Staples advertised as cutting 15 sheets of 20 lb paper which is sufficient for most books.
3.) A double sided scanner. My main scanner is a Fujitsu ScanSnap - 5110EOX2 - It's a small desktop scanner that comes bundled with Adobe Acrobat 7 - works well but only scans individual sheets - however it scans both sides at once and has an automatic feed that handles a small stack of sheets. It was designed for a paperless office - works well - I particularly like the automatic deskewing. It handles sheets as small as 2 x 2 inches up to 8 ˝ x 14 inches. A later version, also with Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard, sells for $350 dollars from NewEgg after a $50 rebate.
4.) Adobe Acrobat 7 – comes with the Fujitsu scanner.
I tear the book block from the binding and remove the glue and backing with the utility knife. The book can now be separated into “signatures”, the small booklets bound together to make the book. The paper cutter is used to remove the fold from the “signatures” and the individual sheets passed through the scanner. For text I usually scan to produce bit maps at 600 bpi. The whole process for a single book takes less than an hour as the Fujitsu can scan directly to a finished pdf file.
Adobe Acrobat is capable of some simple editing. Page commands include replace, extract, insert, delete, rotate, and crop. If a page is crooked it can be rescanned and replaced. If a page contains a blot it can be extracted, saved as a tif file, and edited with a graphics programs. Adobe Acrobat will accept the edited tif file as a direct replacement for the original page. The crop command allows margins to be reset to remove unwanted white space. While the file remains unchanged, and the command can be undone, the new margins are recognized by the Iliad.
At the moment the page size that can be displayed on the Iliad is small. Landscape mode is going to be available in ver 2.7 of the operating system and I would suppose that pages nearly 6 inches wide will be shown at full size with scrolling required to display the whole page. If one has a private library that can be displayed at a width of about 6 inches it should be no problem to scan it in and make it mobile.