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Old 12-16-2008, 02:09 AM   #1
harryE123
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Unhappy Desperately Seeking Software for Digitizing Books.

Hey ya all. I had come across a piece of software a year, or maybe a couple of years back, that was advertised that when used with a digital camera (in a black background) it would make digitizing books easier by way of straigtening out fonts and pages that might appear curved due to the photograph of the original curved book. I have since then not been able to relocate it, and I really can't remember its name since it was rather cumbersome and counterintuitive to remember. If it rings a bell to anyone, it was even linked from these forums and there possibly was a thread about it....If it doesn't ring a bell, would you suggest any alternatives, I am not talking about ocr software per se, just something that would take a scanned or preferable a photographed version of a page and straigthen it out and perform all these cosmetic alterations as to render it as readable as possible on an ebook device. Thanks. Har.
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:16 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by harryE123 View Post
Hey ya all. I had come across a piece of software a year, or maybe a couple of years back, that was advertised that when used with a digital camera (in a black background) it would make digitizing books easier by way of straigtening out fonts and pages that might appear curved due to the photograph of the original curved book. I have since then not been able to relocate it, and I really can't remember its name since it was rather cumbersome and counterintuitive to remember. If it rings a bell to anyone, it was even linked from these forums and there possibly was a thread about it....If it doesn't ring a bell, would you suggest any alternatives, I am not talking about ocr software per se, just something that would take a scanned or preferable a photographed version of a page and straigthen it out and perform all these cosmetic alterations as to render it as readable as possible on an ebook device. Thanks. Har.
Have you thought of simply creating a posterboard/fibreboard 'cradle' and getting a piece of plexiglass to hold the pages down? I've seen several plans for 'cradles' which hold the spine of the book to be photographed in the central 'valley' and then the plexiglass (you might want one for each side) holds the page flat - get a couple of really *cheap* 6-8MP point-and-shoot digital cameras that have "macro" autofocusing and set them up on a couple of cheap table-top tripods and you're good to go - no curved pages, no text wavering in and out of focus. (Of course, you'd probably do just as good with a Plustek Opticbook scanner and those can be had for under $300 on ebay.)

Derek
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:37 AM   #3
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Hey Derek, thanks for the reply!

Do you think you could link a picture of the set up you are refering to, I am not sure I got it.

I 've just ordered an opticbook and it's on its way, so I ll give you my impressions of that soon. But I wanted the photo scenario for books that I 've lended from a friend and are not mine, some people are very particulate about having their books opened up too much, blah, blah, and I was thinking that a camera would work best there. But maybe the opticbook will suffice.

Having said that, does the software I am mentioning ring a bell? It was all over mobile read (well not exactly all over, but it got its fair share of publicity) a couple of years back, I think it had a little frog for a trademark or something... Even for badly scanned books it would be useful something that would even out the pages etc.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by harryE123 View Post
Hey Derek, thanks for the reply!

Do you think you could link a picture of the set up you are refering to, I am not sure I got it.

I 've just ordered an opticbook and it's on its way, so I ll give you my impressions of that soon. But I wanted the photo scenario for books that I 've lended from a friend and are not mine, some people are very particulate about having their books opened up too much, blah, blah, and I was thinking that a camera would work best there. But maybe the opticbook will suffice.

Having said that, does the software I am mentioning ring a bell? It was all over mobile read (well not exactly all over, but it got its fair share of publicity) a couple of years back, I think it had a little frog for a trademark or something... Even for badly scanned books it would be useful something that would even out the pages etc.
Not sure I've got a picture but I believe they've been described somewhere on MobileRead. But imagine two end-pieces with a large v-shaped notch cut into one side of each piece. Then fix them a given (depending on the average length top-to-bottom of the books you'd be photographing) distance apart with two other rectangular pieces. To actually FORM the angled bed the book would rest upon, place two pieces (rectangular again) laying in the sides of the notches - forming a v-shaped 'bed' for the book.

Derek

PS - You know what? I just did a rough outline of what the end-pieces (the notched ones) might look like. See the attached image.
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Last edited by delphidb96; 12-16-2008 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:43 AM   #5
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Hey Derek I see what you mean. Makes lot's of sense . Thanks for the image too. I would suppose the image is meant to be in the other direction, i.e. the v having both its "legs" across the the vertical plane, instead of being in the same plane, that is a v with it's opening facing the user.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by harryE123 View Post
Hey Derek I see what you mean. Makes lot's of sense . Thanks for the image too. I would suppose the image is meant to be in the other direction, i.e. the v having both its "legs" across the the vertical plane, instead of being in the same plane, that is a v with it's opening facing the user.
Generally, for picture taking you place the camera above and point it down toward the page. There is a couple of good wiki article on OCR that covers how it works and describes the various software / hardware options.

Dale
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:22 PM   #7
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Here's the thread about a cradle for photo-scanning:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13848

ABBYY FineReader added option for OCRing digital photos in a recent version.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:48 PM   #8
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I think you are talking about Snapter:
http://snapter.atiz.com

Best reagrds,
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DDHarriman View Post
I think you are talking about Snapter:
http://snapter.atiz.com

Best reagrds,
Oh yes, yes, yes, thanks so much DDHarriman, thanks so much. I have been looking so long and hard for this.

That is it.

/edit: been very rude here: thanks all you guys too for your replies, very enlightening.

Last edited by harryE123; 12-17-2008 at 09:39 PM.
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