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Old 12-17-2022, 04:12 PM   #1
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Scanning books

Oh wow. I just spotted this... https://imgur.com/gallery/8WvxKsm

I had always assumed the books were torn apart and fed through a sheet feeder.

Who has one?
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Old 12-17-2022, 04:53 PM   #2
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Seems like it could easily pull pages out of the binding. Here’s an article about how Google does it using cameras and image processing software to undo the distortion.

https://www.npr.org/sections/library...t_7508978.html
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Old 12-17-2022, 06:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karellen View Post
Oh wow. I just spotted this... https://imgur.com/gallery/8WvxKsm

I had always assumed the books were torn apart and fed through a sheet feeder.

Who has one?
I could not get the video to play at the link. Would you mind describing the thing you are wowed about?
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Old 12-17-2022, 07:01 PM   #4
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I could not get the video to play at the link. Would you mind describing the thing you are wowed about?
Strange it does not play for you.

But I have captured a screenshot of the short 7 second video that shows the mechanical arm scanning a book page then moving onto the next page to scan...
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Old 12-17-2022, 07:25 PM   #5
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Strange it does not play for you.

But I have captured a screenshot of the short 7 second video that shows the mechanical arm scanning a book page then moving onto the next page to scan...
Looks costly and subject to mechanical issues.

I bought an overhead scanner, mostly to digitize sheet music. It doesn't actually 'scan', rather captures image with a camera. The material does not need to be perfectly flat, just flat enough so the camera can peer into the crevice of an open book. Then software de-skews the image to restore the proper geometry. It has multiple LED lights to eliminate shadows and they sell a fold-up light box that goes over everything, with interior reflective surface to further even out the light and ensure the best results.

You still have to physically turn pages, it will detect page turns automatically, or you can use the supplied foot switch to trigger capture. In theory it will do an entire book in the time it takes you to turn pages. Of course you need to develop some technique.

The real work comes after the scanning is done: verify everything looks good, rescan pages that aren't, organizing and tagging the content, and storing the digital files somewhere.

I have yet to use it for a real project, but I think it's better than anything out there for under $500. My only worry is that there is no 3rd party software that works with it:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JMTPJ8S/

I don't think I'll be scanning books with it, but there might be a few exceptions. I haven't even gotten started with the sheet music.

I also got a state of the art film scanner. I retired recently and thought I'd have all this time for such long deferred projects. I was wrong.

Last edited by tomsem; 12-17-2022 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 12-17-2022, 09:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karellen View Post
Oh wow. I just spotted this... https://imgur.com/gallery/8WvxKsm

I had always assumed the books were torn apart and fed through a sheet feeder.

Who has one?
Dang, I want it! But I'm equally certain I can't afford it.
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Old 12-18-2022, 05:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I had always assumed the books were torn apart and fed through a sheet feeder.
Traditional pirates because they don't care about the original and it's mostly ARCs or new copies. They still do it that way. The pirates use a guillotine that's sold to trim books to accurately cut the spline off. They don't tear them apart.

Big official outfits have used page turning and cameras for years and avoid opening the books too far. The camera and lighting part is cheap enough; the page turner is more expensive.

Google is breaking copyright but they lobbied to win a US court case on it. They claim to only make a "fair use" amount available online though they store the entire book and OCR for search on servers on the internet.
Google and Microsoft supply the Internet Archive with copies. The Internet Archive has also been scanning copyright material for about 20 years. They don't pay for content in their Open Library.
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Old 12-19-2022, 05:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
Looks costly and subject to mechanical issues.

I bought an overhead scanner, mostly to digitize sheet music. It doesn't actually 'scan', rather captures image with a camera. The material does not need to be perfectly flat, just flat enough so the camera can peer into the crevice of an open book. Then software de-skews the image to restore the proper geometry. It has multiple LED lights to eliminate shadows and they sell a fold-up light box that goes over everything, with interior reflective surface to further even out the light and ensure the best results.

You still have to physically turn pages, it will detect page turns automatically, or you can use the supplied foot switch to trigger capture. In theory it will do an entire book in the time it takes you to turn pages. Of course you need to develop some technique.

The real work comes after the scanning is done: verify everything looks good, rescan pages that aren't, organizing and tagging the content, and storing the digital files somewhere.

I have yet to use it for a real project, but I think it's better than anything out there for under $500. My only worry is that there is no 3rd party software that works with it:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JMTPJ8S/

I don't think I'll be scanning books with it, but there might be a few exceptions. I haven't even gotten started with the sheet music.
...
I bought one of these a few years ago to digitise some of my older SF novels that aren't available as ebooks (because I hate reading paper books so much now). It works, but it's a right pain for paperback books as they don't want to stay open enough to take a good picture. I did one book and that was enough for me. And as you say the clean up work after is worse than the scanning.

Andrew

PS This used to be the go to place for book scanning but it looks like the web site is fast succumbing to bit rot: https://www.diybookscanner.org/

Last edited by andyh2000; 12-19-2022 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 12-19-2022, 04:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karellen View Post
Oh wow. I just spotted this... https://imgur.com/gallery/8WvxKsm

I had always assumed the books were torn apart and fed through a sheet feeder.
There's 4 types:
  • Destructive + Non-Destructive
  • Scanning + Photographing

Destructive is way cheaper + faster, but you lose the book. You cut the binding off + feed it into a sheet feeder.

Non-Destructive is more expensive + slower, but the book stays whole. You flip the pages, taking a photo (or scan) of each page.

Scanning is slower, like the video you linked to. This will flatten the pages + try to create a very good scan. You don't need fancy lighting setups or anything, because the scanner itself makes sure there's "consistent lighting" across the entire page.

Photographing is faster, but you need to do a lot more error-correcting later. (Warped pages, bad lighting, etc.)

B&W vs. Color adds a whole other issue. (Color is harder+slower.)

- - -

There are various cost-levels with each of these categories.

What you linked to is probably a very expensive machine, but it means someone doesn't have to be standing there flipping the pages or pushing buttons.

But, things can be done at decent quality very cheaply nowadays, especially with that fancy phone in your pocket.

See anonlivros's great tutorial:

and my post-processing advice to turn it into a PDF->Ebook.

He shows you how you could use a:
  • Smartphone
  • Gooseneck holder
  • Lamp/Light

to help take photographs of your books.

Yes, you'll still have to flip the pages, but he gives quite a few tips on how to speed up the process (like using your voice to activate the camera!).

- - -

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbob View Post
Seems like it could easily pull pages out of the binding. Here’s an article about how Google does it using cameras and image processing software to undo the distortion.

https://www.npr.org/sections/library...t_7508978.html
Archive.org also has fantastic articles/videos showing off their process.

and, if you want to see them digitizing vinyl albums:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
I bought an overhead scanner, mostly to digitize sheet music. It doesn't actually 'scan', rather captures image with a camera. [...]

I have yet to use it for a real project, but I think it's better than anything out there for under $500. My only worry is that there is no 3rd party software that works with it:
Yes, that's the issue with a lot of those all-in-one solutions. They try to tie you to their specific software.

This type of lock-in is completely unneeded, especially nowadays.

With high-quality cameras in cellphones now, you can replicate a lot of this stuff. (See the anonlivros's tutorial above.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
It has multiple LED lights to eliminate shadows and they sell a fold-up light box that goes over everything, with interior reflective surface to further even out the light and ensure the best results.
Yes, "even lighting" is one of the major issues with camera-based systems.

To a human, things may look fine... but when you try to convert color photo->B&W, you could get some serious "haloing".

I don't have an image on hand of haloing, but you can see a related concept of the previous-page bleeding through to the front in my recent post:

In the "Minimize the Colors" section, you can see:
  • Photograph
    • Left = Original photo + Right = Color corrected.
  • Dark Mode
    • In Inverted/Dark Mode, you can see the "grayish haze" much easier on the left.

That's one issue where a high-quality scanner may take care of it automatically. It may auto-adjust the lighting to try to capture ONLY the front page, while ignoring the light text bleeding through.

While a human can look at the photo + easily "ignore" that, and still be able to read the text... the computer might have a hard time doing OCR or making the photos B&W. (Leading to less accurate text and/or you'll get extremely bloated filesizes.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyh2000 View Post
PS This used to be the go to place for book scanning but it looks like the web site is fast succumbing to bit rot: https://www.diybookscanner.org/
Yes, that was/is THE place to learn a lot of the book digitizing information.

Not much has changed in all those years though.

The same problems still exist:
  • turning pages
  • flattening pages
  • Making sure camera doesn't move
    • And is facing the book perfectly straight-on.
  • Consistent lighting
  • Dewarping pages
  • [...]

But the surrounding tools have gotten much cheaper/faster/better.

Like back then, you needed expensive cameras to get "high enough DPI" for good OCR. Now, a cellphone in your pocket can take just as good (if not better) photos.

Phones also have voice-activation, so you don't need those extra buttons/foot-pedals.

Phones also have gyroscopes, so you can more easily align your photos so you don't need to do as much trapezoidal correction.

Phones have fancy screens, so you don't need to be hooked up to a computer + can instantly see the photos and correct there, etc., etc.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 12-19-2022 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 12-20-2022, 09:29 AM   #10
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Excellent very clear tutorial on it!
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Old 12-20-2022, 10:00 AM   #11
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"See anonlivros's great tutorial:

2022: "Tutorial-from Paper Book to Ebook PDF - 400 pages in 4 hours"

"But you can check it out with the auto-translated version of the link below:
https://translate.google.com/transla...ros/anonlivros"

I can't get it to display. Google just says it can't translate the page.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-20-2022, 11:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by peaceridge View Post
"See anonlivros's great tutorial:

2022: "Tutorial-from Paper Book to Ebook PDF - 400 pages in 4 hours"

"But you can check it out with the auto-translated version of the link below:
https://translate.google.com/transla...ros/anonlivros"

I can't get it to display. Google just says it can't translate the page.

Any help would be appreciated.
This seems to work for me: https://github-com.translate.goog/an..._x_tr_pto=wapp

Andrew
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Old 12-20-2022, 04:28 PM   #13
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I can't get it to display. Google just says it can't translate the page.

Any help would be appreciated.
Yeah, it looks like this is the tutorial's original URL:

https://github.com/anonlivros/anonlivros

It's in Portuguese, so just run that through whatever translation site you prefer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyh2000 View Post
Or that. Dang Google and changing their translate URLs!!! :P
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Old 12-21-2022, 07:38 AM   #14
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Thanks andyh2000 and Tex2002ans. I see what I can do with translations!
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Old 12-21-2022, 10:53 PM   #15
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Almost seems it might be easier to simply re-type it. Depending on how fast you type.
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