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Old 05-03-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
mblack3
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Scan to PDF (for Reading Software)

I'm a student in university with a disability, and I'm looking to buy a scanner to convert books to PDFs so I can have my computer software read them to me. But, I am overwhelmed by the different kinds of scanners out there, and could really use some advice.

I have a bursary for adaptive technology, so I can go up to $2,000 Canadian.

I just need something that will scan books quickly and legibly. I'm not talented with computer or camera.

Is it worth it to get a scanner that is just for books, since they are more expensive?
Is it worth it to get a feed scanner, since they are fast but the book needs to be de-spined to use them?
Is it worth it to get one of these hand-held things—are they fast enough? Clear enough?

What do you use, readers, and what do you recommend?
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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I would go fo a feed one. Those would give the best results.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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There are some pretty decent flatbed scanners with very small edges around the glass. This doesn't damage the book so you can sell it back at the end of the term. Most flatbed scanners are easily up to the task. All you really need is about 300dpi...but the faster it can scan the better. It gets really old, really fast sitting there waiting between pages.
Here is a recent review of some scanners: http://flatbed-scanner-review.toptenreviews.com/

Where you want to invest your money is a good OCR software. That will save you a bunch of time and lots of headaches. I recommend ABBYY Finereader (I think version 11 is the latest?)

Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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I actually use Kurzweil 3000, a text to speech software that is very effective at correctly reading scans. I'm mostly worried about getting the text clearly onto the computer--is a flatbed scanners sufficiently fast/accurate for that?
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:22 PM   #5
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I wonder if you could find someone who would assemble for you one of these? DIY Book Scanner?
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mblack3 View Post
I actually use Kurzweil 3000, a text to speech software that is very effective at correctly reading scans. I'm mostly worried about getting the text clearly onto the computer--is a flatbed scanners sufficiently fast/accurate for that?
I think you misunderstand what I was saying. ABBY Finereader is the software that will use the scanner to scan and create your searchable PDF. You can use whatever text-to-speach (tts) software you are comfortable with. But you must have good clean OCR of the scans for your tts software to read.

When you create a PDF it is done in layers. The top layer is a picture of the book...this is what you see...it always looks like it's a good scan! The layer below that is the OCR text. You don't see that - and if it's wrong you don't know about it until your tts software makes some garbled attempt at reading it. ABBYY does a VERY good job at OCR and allows you to check the scans before you save as a PDF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
I wonder if you could find someone who would assemble for you one of these? DIY Book Scanner?
Been there, done that. I use it for lots of stuff...including scanning my wife's textbooks into PDF so she doesn't have to carry around those 10 lb monsters.

But if it is just for scanning the occasional (4-5 textbooks per term) it is a much better use of time to buy the flatbed scanner....unless you just really like building stuff...then I HIGHLY recommend the DIY scanners!
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:17 PM   #7
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Don't forget to proofread it. Or at least find someone who will do it for you, like a relative or something.
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