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Old 03-10-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
nlundberg
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An advice on OCRing, please.

I got this scanned book with features such as two pages landscape scan, illustrations, warped text, and shades over the pages.

But, the OCR tests I have done grab the text pretty ok. The problem is the that I can not find a way to rearrange to single page layout, and that mess up the whole document.

I figure I either have to find an application that split the pages beforehand, or a smart OCR'er.

I am on OSX. I want to be able to read it on my e-reader.

Thankful for input!
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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Scan Tailor is an excellent tool. Google it. It's available on Windows and Linux, so you may need VirtualBox/VMware/Parallels/etc., and a copy of Windows XP or Ubuntu. Maybe that will get you the desired result with whatever OCR program you currently use. The top OCR-ing program right now is ABBYY FineReader Professional 11, but it doesn't do layout. Think of it as an "extraction" tool. You get the text and the images which you then process using the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Word, or various other open-source tools. Vectorizing the graphics and tracking down the fonts is an optional step, which brings a very nice touch to the final result. Don't forget to proofread it at least once.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:25 PM   #3
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Thanks. I installed Scan Tailor but I forgot to mention that my scanned book is in the form of a PDF, and Scan Tailor does not accept PDF. I guess I can split it up somehow somewhere else.

But ABBYY FineReader Professional 11, would that one work with two page scans?
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:03 AM   #4
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Don't ever scan straight to PDF. Always scan as images, process them, and then pack them in a PDF, if you want. The way I see it, you can export the PDF as images using one of the many virtual printer drivers on the net, then run the images through Scan Tailor.

FineReader will import the PDF as images and process them more or less similar to Scan Tailor, except with OCR. I don't like doing this because it basically takes a screenshot of each page from the PDF and loses resolution.

There are two options:

1. The "quick and dirty" way, using Scan Tailor + FineReader. Images on top, positional OCR underneath the images. The text won't reflow, but at least it's searchable (within a ~95% margin, if you don't proofread it). You won't have to worry about fonts or the layout, but you also won't be able to easily correct typos or other mistakes from the book, since they're just images.

2. The "quality way", using FineReader to extract the text, proofread it in FineReader, track down the fonts, process the graphics, redo the layout, proofread the final product again. Takes a lot of time and effort, not many people stick with it... but believe me, it's always a pleasure to read such a book. Make sure that the material is worth it and that it's not already available as an e-book. Training videos on how to use InDesign, Word, Acrobat, etc., can be very helpful.

Last edited by DSpider; 03-13-2013 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:23 AM   #5
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The PDF is in this case a container for all the images. You can extract the images from the PDF with the tool 'pdfimages'. It is part of the poppler-utils. More info here. Although it is Linux based, it might also exist for OSX.

The result are the separate images which can then be processed with ScanTailor.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:27 AM   #6
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I want it to end up as an e-pub optimally, but from my tests the "quick and dirty way" in FineReader worked only for PDF. But that seems to be just enough - Now that it is in singe page layout it is readable on my e-ink device.
Although it would be nice to edit the book to OCR only, I would probably hade read it twice in the same time...
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:29 AM   #7
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Actually, the e-pub OCR turned out pretty well. But the images are missing.
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