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Tech: Question - Scanners

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Mooh 12 Apr 00 - 10:50 AM
jeffp 12 Apr 00 - 11:02 AM
alison 12 Apr 00 - 11:04 AM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM
alison 12 Apr 00 - 11:16 AM
Philj200 12 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM
katlaughing 12 Apr 00 - 11:23 AM
kendall 12 Apr 00 - 12:51 PM
Mooh 12 Apr 00 - 12:59 PM
MMario 12 Apr 00 - 01:05 PM
Amos 12 Apr 00 - 04:03 PM
MMario 12 Apr 00 - 04:05 PM
katlaughing 12 Apr 00 - 04:23 PM
MMario 12 Apr 00 - 04:29 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Apr 00 - 07:59 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Apr 00 - 11:41 PM
MK 13 Apr 00 - 12:13 AM
Bill D 13 Apr 00 - 06:37 PM
John in Brisbane 13 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Apr 00 - 09:57 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Apr 00 - 10:59 PM
harpgirl 13 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM
Jon Freeman 13 Apr 00 - 11:47 PM
harpgirl 14 Apr 00 - 12:05 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Apr 00 - 12:19 AM
John in Brisbane 14 Apr 00 - 01:04 AM
MMario 14 Apr 00 - 09:15 AM
John in Brisbane 14 Apr 00 - 09:54 AM
Jon W. 14 Apr 00 - 10:26 AM
MMario 14 Apr 00 - 11:00 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Apr 00 - 11:14 AM
harpgirl 14 Apr 00 - 05:06 PM
Jon Freeman 14 Apr 00 - 09:21 PM
John in Brisbane 16 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM
MMario 17 Apr 00 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,LDB 17 Apr 00 - 09:36 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Apr 00 - 10:29 PM
Joe Offer 20 May 00 - 03:47 PM
Pene Azul 20 May 00 - 05:13 PM
Pene Azul 20 May 00 - 05:27 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 03 - 02:27 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Jan 03 - 08:55 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Jan 03 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Q 07 Jan 03 - 02:49 PM
John MacKenzie 07 Jan 03 - 03:05 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Jan 03 - 04:03 PM
Dave Bryant 08 Jan 03 - 06:26 AM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 03 - 01:54 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jan 03 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 08 Jan 03 - 02:33 PM
MMario 08 Jan 03 - 02:35 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 03 - 02:48 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 03 - 02:52 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jan 03 - 03:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 03 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Q 08 Jan 03 - 05:38 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 03 - 06:01 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Jan 03 - 06:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 03 - 08:58 PM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 03 - 05:34 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Feb 03 - 06:28 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 06 - 02:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Apr 06 - 06:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Apr 06 - 06:22 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 07 Apr 06 - 06:33 PM
JudyB 08 Apr 06 - 09:35 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 06 - 01:48 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM
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Subject: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:50 AM

Hi all, thanks in advance for your advice...

I have not responded to lyric requests because of my slow and questionable keyboarding skills. However, if I had a scanner, could I scan my looseleaf style lyric sheets (which most often also contain the key and chord changes and are typed) and send them either to the forum or to the individual requesting them? I am considering the purchase of a scanner anyway to help me with lesson preparations.

Please forgive my lack of computer literacy, I AM trying...well...when I'm not playing...


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: jeffp
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:02 AM

Since your lyric sheets are typed, it should be possible to scan them into an optical character recognition (OCR) program that would produce a word processing document that would more or less be what was typed. These programs are by no means perfect, but they have gotten much better in recent years. You will undoubtedly have some editing to do, but it should eliminate most of the retyping. Alternatively, you could save it as a TIFF file, but graphics files are quite large. If you OCR'd it, you could copy and paste the lyrics into a thread or email. Another benefit is that you would have a backup of your lyric sheets on your computer in case you lose the original.

Hope this helps.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: alison
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:04 AM

so where do you get this OCR stuff from????..... I had this probelm earlier today.. I could scan in.. but only got the choice of jpg, gif, bmp, or tiff...... I needed to save as a document so I could fiddle with it....

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM

Some scanners come with OCR software "bundled", but it may not install automatically, so check the disks that came with your scanner just in case you already have some.  Otherwise, you can get the stuff from most software suppliers; best check what will work with your scanner, though -the manufacturers ought to be able to tell you.
Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: alison
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:16 AM

Thanks

slainte

alison


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Subject: Here's how I just did it.
From: Philj200
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:21 AM

On a thread now sunk below the horizon, someone asked for a chart of banjo chords. I had one. I scanned it into a grahpic file (a TIFF). Then all I had to do was send an e-mail with the file as an attachment. It worked fine.

Scanners are now down to the $30 range (no kidding check CompUSA today for a Promax 5300). (After a $40 rebate.)

OCR software usually comes with the scanner. (As do instructions) If you want to buy OCR software look for something called Textbridge. It's pretty good.

There is also a music OCR package out of England that is supposed to read notation on a scan and not only reproduce it but play it through a midi and/or sound card. Once you have it saved you can alter the music to your hearts content and have your computer play it back as well.

Can sonmeone say Copyright infringement?

I downloaded the demo version and am not impressed so I won't pass along the name. But it's out there.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:23 AM

My scanner, an HP5100C, allows me to scan in sheet music, as a text file to my WP program. There is editing involved, but it sure beats typing all that in!

To send a complete page, with music included, I just choose to send it to my Corel or Adobe photo program, so that I literally "take a picture" of it with the scanner. Then I can choose jpg format or whatever to send it to someone by email quite easily.

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:51 PM

All I want to do is send pictures. What do I need? No jargon please, just the facts man/mam.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 12:59 PM

Hey Folks!

You've sent me in the right direction I think. Any more suggestions? Thanks again.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 01:05 PM

kendall, for pictures, you need the scanner,the basic software that will come with it, and MAY want a graphics conversion program such as IrfanView, depending on what else you already have and what formats you can save in.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Amos
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:03 PM

Recommended: HP ScanJet. Comes with OCR and software for managing scan results and filtering them through other pograms, such as Photoshop, Word, etc. I've had good luck with mine at work. Make sure you get one that can hook up to your computer, as the design of connections is currently migrating to USB from SCSI and the plugs and leads are entirely different, as is the driver software. I have no vested interest in this recommendation, BTW.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:05 PM

HP about leads the field for usability, quality and price - for scanners at least.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:23 PM

That's what I have and I've been very happy with it.

Kendall, you can send pix two ways, either by using a scanner, like I mentioned above; or, with a digital camera, which can be conncected to your computer.

For software for scanned photos, you need a photoshop type program, like Corel, Adobe, EasyPhoto, or others.

If you have a digital camera, it should have software with it, which is easy to install. Using that, you can download pix from the camera, into your computer hard drive, then send them via email.

If you scan pix in, it is a good idea to use your software to put them into what is known as jpeg format and, also, to use the photo program to reduce them in size to kb's instead of mb's, that way they send quickly and easily.

When you know what kind of programs you have or plant o get, let ume know. If it is one I am familiar with, I'll help you figure it out.

I hope this helps some.

kat


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 04:29 PM

actually, Kat, he does NOT need a photoshop type program because the scanner should come with a very simple program that will scan and save the file, without having to go into all the various options of the photo-shop type programs. about all you can do with the basic scanner is preview, scan, save. which is really all most people WANT to do...


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 07:59 PM

G'day all'

Kendall: If I need to send 'sheet music', I just scan as Black & White (saves lots of space), 300 dpi and send as a TIF or a GIF. JPG at high compressions eats detail, but is esential for full colour photographs (good editing programs allow setting the level of compression, but that is not what you asked for).

Alison: I got a light version of OmniPage OCR with the beautiful little Canon 630 scanner I just bought. The light version doesn't match the professional one I use at work (and the Canon cop-out on an interface for straight scanning doesn't match anything that HP would provide) but it all works and is very neat and compact.

I have yet to see a music OCR working well but the local (to you and me) computer nerds swear they do. Dave De Santi has held a few Music/Computer workshops at Jamberoo ... and I think I saw something similar in the Provisional Programme for the National. It must come - and maybe it already has.

Regards,

Bob Bolton (Who used to do beautiful music calligraphy by hand ... but "Where is the key change, correction, respace control?"


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 11:41 PM

I was lucky enough to manage to get a UMax scanner through a friend of my mothers who is in the computer trade for £25 a few weeks ago and I am delighted with it.

I am interested in trying the music OCR programs. Is there anyone who can recommend any shareware programs to try. I am running a PC /Windows 98 (and Linux though I haven't got the scanner working on that OS yet).

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MK
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 12:13 AM

Another useful source for scanning tips.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 06:37 PM

just as an aside...I remember sitting around a table at a music camp 7-8 years ago, talking about our music notebooks and the new thing we had going called "The Digital Tradition", where songs were being compiled on 3½ floppies and traded..and I mused aloud that it sure would be nice if someone would invent a way to scan words from books and make them editable and indexable...and a guy on the other side of the table said.."oh, they HAVE those now..it's about a $12,000 program..."....and now we can go get color scanners with OCR built in for a few hundred. I can now make free phone calls from my PC to anywhere in the US, listen to folk singing..live! from Wales, Australia, Hawaii, and Colorado...and take a picture and have it viewed by any of those people in just a few minutes.....

Sometimes it takes my breath away....and the pace of change is still accelerating..


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM

Hi All, I've had a scanner for about 12 months (an HP 5100C) which I picked up second hand. There are some useful tips that I've picked up along the way, but I'll keep this post to the bare minimum for the time being.

I have no hesitation in recommending the following shareware:

- To translate into text ABBYY Fine Reader 4.0 Standard is head and shoulders above the rest (I haven't used Textbridge, but did try a number of the so-called industry standards). I downloaded mine from ZD-Net. The free versions bundled with scanners don't amount to much. I suggest that you at least try try this one out.

- SharpEye is shareware and by far the best of the music conversion programs that I've tried in terms of musical accuracy. It does require some perseverance to get used to LH and RH mouse operations and the processing does take time (I simply vacate my PC and boil the kettle during this process). It's a stable program, but it does benefit from some user tricks to get the most out of it. Some types of music engraving it absolutely romps through while with others it is much less accurate. All in all though if I have to notate a piece that's more than (say) 24 bars I will often click the scanner button rather than the sequencer icon. For piano scores or multi-stave works I go for SharpEye every time.

In terms of hardware I don't have anything too flash, a P166 with good 64M RAM.

Almost forgot - I have about 30 simple tunes (not in the DT)which I scanned some time ago for the express purpose of allowing Mudcatters to try out (say) the SharpEye software. If you don't have a scanner and would like to give it a go I'll send you a scanned image or two. Once you've done the magical music bit you can then send the completed MIDI to the Mudcat for incorporation into the DT.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 09:57 PM

Thanks John, I have just downloaded SharpEye and I will have a play with it tommorrow. For those that may want one, here is a link for SharpEye http://www.visiv.co.uk/

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 10:59 PM

I should have known that I would not wait till tommorrow... I have just tried it and it got about 95% right on first attempt - looks promising.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM

I have two questions for Jon or anyone else with answers. I have not used my Mustek 1200 III EP scanner which came with Textbridge software because it interfered with my printer and I couldn't figure out how to fix the problem. Any answers? Also, can I use the Sharp Eye software with my scanner? Having this scanner up and running would hasten my additions to the DT!! harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 11:47 PM

Well Harpgirl, I hope someone else can answer your first question becuase I can't. Having said that, I would suggest that your best plan of action is to read through the support pages at http://www.mustek.com and if neccessary send an email to their technical support department describing the problem and any error messages or symptoms.

I am new to scanners but for starters they can connect to a computer in different ways. Mine connects to the printer (LPT1) port on my computer and then there is a lead that runs from that to my printer. Although they both work fine, I am not sure whether this setup allows the printer and the scanner to be doing jobs at the same time or not. Other scanners use different interfaces, the USB one seems to be the most popular now.

With regard to your second question, I simply scanned an image at 300 DPI (I had my Vista Scan programme set for OCR) and saved it as a TIFF file which SharpEye read quite happily. I think that you will find that any combination of scanner/ scanning software will be able to do that.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 12:05 AM

...thanks Jon, I appreciate it. You are up late, though, no?


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 12:19 AM

Im usually up till at least 6am though that may change shortly. I have a change in my ISP deal which means I have 24hrs free internet access (ISP and phone call) rather than just the off peak hours so I might go back to more normal hours instead of trying to get the most out of my free internet time. There again, maybe not - most people I chat with seem to be on my sort of odd hours because of the time zones... I reckon the hours I keep at the moment would probably be right for living somewhere in the middle of the US.

Jon (the Vampire)


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 01:04 AM

Hi Harpy, yes as Jon indicated just about any scanner will work with SharpEye because all it has to do is create a .bmp or .tif (Black and White) file. The techo words are that the scanner must be TWAIN compatible, the main issue being that some older scanners may not be. I suspect that just about all scanners designed for the mass market are compatible.

I usually scan at either 150 or 300 dpi - anything higher than that and you are usually just slowing down the process for little further benefit.

The image file you save MUST be B&W, not colour nor shades of grey. The software which comes with your scanner determines that and has nothing to do with SharpEye or other OCR programs. If there isn't a B&W option it may be labelled as the 'Text Save' option. It took me a while to get this simple crucial step right - once I did this my success rate with SharpEye increased dramatically.

My HP scanner has some fancy software which allows you to crop out any extraneous stuff like illustrations from your image before you save it. Don't fret too much if your scanner software is more basic and lacks this feature. SharpEye and other OCR programs have this facility when you open the image file - it cuts down on processing time a whole lot.

Regards for now, John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 09:15 AM

JOhn - could you send me one or two of the tunes? thanks...My addy is at bbc's


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 09:54 AM

MM, it's close to midnight here and Saturday tomorrow. I'll send you a couple of tunes in about 12 hours if my day pans out as I hope. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon W.
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 10:26 AM

On the printer/scanner interference problem: I guess your scanner hooks to your parallel port, then from your scanner a line goes to your printer. If so, you should try to get the latest versions of the drivers for both printer and scanner (these usally can be downloaded from the manufacturer's websites). If that doesn't help, you might need to upgrade your operating system if it's old (ie change Win3.1 or Win95 to Win98). The newer ones are supposed to handle hardware conflicts better. Another thought is to get a separate parallel port card and install it with one of the devices hooked to it and the other to the original port. This would probably be cheaper than an OS upgrade. I'm not gonna guarantee that any of this will work, just suggesting some different approaches.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 11:00 AM

No problem john, at your convenience, of course...


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 11:14 AM

Hi Harpgirl, I have just done a little bit of looking, the support page for your model is http://www.mustek.com/Imaging/support/faq/12003epfaq.htm#printer%20problems. It does mention printer problems and gives a link to email them if the suggestions there do not work.

I have also had a look at the spec for your scanner. Apparently they don't make that model any more (the new ones have 48 bit color) but it is still pretty recent and you should have no problems using that for music OCR.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 05:06 PM

...thanks so much Jon...you are a dear...now could you stop by and give me some hands on help???? You could become a Springhopper!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 09:21 PM

Do you reckon I could scan myself in and get sent down the internet? ... Now hears a horrible thought, suppose I was available for download on a web page - I can't cope with one of me let alone multiple copies.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Apr 00 - 07:28 PM

Sorry MM, been a bit hectic. I'm doing a few thousand kms this week prior to going to the National Folk Festival in Canberra over Easter. I'll squeeze a couple of .bmp's your way as soon as I can. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 03:21 PM

As said before, john, at your convenience. It won't kill me to wait.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: GUEST,LDB
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 09:36 PM

I have 2 scanners; one cheapie (UMax) that is really good for general purpose, including music reproduction, and one that I use mainly for enhansing old photographs. IMHO, the really important part is not the hardware, but the software. The best of the best is OmniPage Pro that will do anything - but it should for over $800.00 US. For a very good cheap one, I prefer TextBridge Pro from Xerox. Does graphics, text, columns and works with a lot of print sizes and styles. Cost: $59.00 US.

LDB


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 10:29 PM

Hi- Susan and I have been using scanner for at least a half-dozen yeqars, and we wouldn't be without them. The earliest ones we used were hand-held models, which were a major pain (though they beat typing); the full-page flat bed scanners (we both use UMax) are a joy. The conversion to text (OCR) programs supplied with the scanners work fine for lyrics; about the only problems we've encountered is with old books and sheet music- the software thinks that a letter is a pattern surrounded by blank space, so that broken text, or run-together letters aren't recognized. Unless the document being scanned is really bad, that's not a major problem.


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Subject: Scanning lyrics for OCR
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 May 00 - 03:47 PM

Hi - can anybody give hints that will make my OCR output more accurate? I'm using the Pagis scanning suite, which is supposed to be pretty good. It includes Xerox Textbridge 9.0. It works very well on lots of things, but does a really awful job on old songooks with yellowed pages. Trouble is, those songbooks are what I most want to copy.
Can somebody lead me in the right direction?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Pene Azul
Date: 20 May 00 - 05:13 PM

Joe, I'm not familiar with that software, but you might try scanning the page, processing it with image editing software then using the OCR. Scanning as a grayscale and playing with the contrast/brightness or, depending on the software you have, scanning as a color image and trying to remove the yellowing might work. You might also be able to adjust the contrast/brightness in your TWAIN driver.

PA


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Pene Azul
Date: 20 May 00 - 05:27 PM

If you can decrease the brightness enough to obscure the background and increase the contrast to bring up the print you should have better results.

PA


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Subject: What Scanner Should I Buy?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 02:27 AM

Well, I took the jump and bought a new computer, a Pentium 4, 2.4 GHz with Windows XP. Now I'm going through the trauma of moving ten years of data from the old computer, and finding out what won't work on the new computer.
One thing that doesn't work is Pagis Scanning Suite, which had made it so easy for me to scan lyrics in songbooks and post them here. I scanned the page and saved it as a file and opened it. Then I highlighted the area of the page I wanted to post, copied it [CTRL-C], and pasted it [CTRL-V] into the "reply to thread" box. It pasted the lyrics into Mudcat as text, so I could copy and paste a song in about five minutes, maybe less. The software that came with my Acer scanner was useless, so I paid fifty bucks for Pagis and got something that worked wonderfully.
So, I guess I should buy a new scanner, one that comes with OCR software that works as easily as what I'm used to. I'd also like one that copies well from books - I think that means a slim, low-profile machine with a very narrow margin between the edge of the glass and the edge of the scanner (or am I wrong?). I've more-or-less selected a Canon LIDE 20 scanner, but I wish I knew how well the bundled software works.
Anybody got suggestions or pointers?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 08:55 AM

Joe -

I've been using an Epson "Perfection 1200U" flatbed scanner for about 2 years now. At the time, it was about the highest rated (per $) thing on the market that was only a "little bit" above my price range; but I'm sure there are other better ones out by now.

The Canon site (quick look only) doesn't give version numbers for the bundled software, but it should be safe to assume that it's all current. The LIDE20, and most of the other Canons I looked at, all seem to come with OmniPage Pro, which is the same program I got with my Epson - but probably at least two generations improved.

I use the OmniPage software almost exclusively when I want to save an image, and it's very good. It lets me do a preview, and if necessary, reposition and do another preview (or several) before scanning. You can select (rectangle crop) an area to scan, and "cut out" pretty much what you want for the image. Lots of choices on image type, and you can "tailor" a new "image type" easily if necessary. (I created a "hi-res lineart" setting just to copy wiring diagrams out of maintenance manuals – so that I can really blow them up enough to separate the wire labels.) The "de-screen" setting does wonders for images out of books, magazines and newspapers.

One "feature" of OmniPage that took me a while to sort out is that it attempts to save stuff as "multi-page" TIFF files. I don't have any other program that can open one of these, and it's a RPITA process to reopen in OmniPage just to separate out a single shot, save as a separate TIF – just to be able to paste into something else. I save each scan as a separate file, and select "new scan" (not "insert page") for the next shot.

I didn't find the OCR capabilities of OmniPage particularly impressive, although that may have been improved in newer versions. It was a toss-up whether it was quicker just to type a copy or to make the necessary corrections to the processed scan. I bit the bullet and bought TextBridge, which I use almost exclusively when I want an OCR conversion of text. A nice feature of TextBridge is that it puts an icon in your Office programs, and you can scan, convert, and insert directly from Word. The OCR conversion accuracy – compared to OmniPage – is spectacular, even if not yet 100 percent. The difficulty with the "direct import" mode is that you don't automatically get a preview to make adjustments – it's a zip-and-go process.

I'm not familiar with the ArcSoft PhotoBase software that comes with the LiDE20 scanner. Maybe someone else can comment. Unless someone can offer enthusiastic praise for it – my own two-bits worth would be that you should consider moving up to the Canon D1250U2F scanner – because it bundles Photoshop Elements.

If you are ever going to use a digital camera you want Photoshop Elements (unless you've already got PhotoShop 7), and it's a little over $100 US by itself. The $50 difference between the LiDE20 and the D1250U2F gets you a significantly better scanner – and Elements for free.

As to scanning books – there ain't no good solution. There are some bad ones.

The multifunction type monsters that everyone is selling are generally one of the bad ones, since they usually include an "automatic feed" for single-sheet scans. You can open most of them up, but the feed mechanism gives them a wide edge that makes it hard to position a book. As you guessed, a "thin" edge is something of an advantage.

For most book scanning, the real problem is holding the book in place while you make the scan. The ideal would be a big enough scanner to take "both pages" at the same time, but the next best is a support beside the scanner at the same level as the scanning surface. I made a "paper storage box" that the scanner sits on, that brings the scanner surface level with the Laser Printer that's next to it. For the other page, I place a toilet paper roll on top of the Inkjet on the other side – which holds the book at just about right height. The real problem is getting the page to lay flat, and that ain't gonna happen unless you "break the spine" on the book – regardless of what scanner setup you have.

Based on my experience, the Canon LiDE20 looks like a good package – with my above suggestion about the D1250U2F as a possible "think about."

John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 01:33 PM

Also at Joe - your very old post May 00 -

I've found that taking a color scan - even if the source is black and white, then putting the color image into Photoshop Elements and converting to black/white will take most of the yellow out of old pages, and usually leaves a pretty clean image. If there's too much "gray" left where the yellow was, you can do an image "adjust threshold" on the black and white to take the gray out - and also get rid of small specks that can interfere with the OCR.

I've found that one of the most critical factors in how well OCR works is that the scan has to be "square to the page." Unfortunately, some of the old books weren't printed that way - wavy lines and slopes across the page, etc. TextBridge does (usually) a "straighten" operation before starting the OCR conversion, but it can only handle small amounts of skew automagically.

Another thing that sometimes confuses the OCR is "bleed though" from what's on the other side of the page. It may be there - enough for the program to see - even if it's not obvious to the eye. You solve that one by using a sheet the same color as what might bleed placed on top of the page being scanned - e.g. black paper as a backing for newspapers - so that the scanner sees a uniform color (any uniform color works) reflected off the back of the sheet. Helps a lot sometimes.

Of course, since you asked two years ago, you've probably learned more tricks than I have by now ...

John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 02:49 PM

Joe, as well as pages, I scan objects with depth for my records- Indian jewelry to moccasins- so use a scanner with lens- HP Scanjet 6300C.
I copy pages from books as well- the page doesn't have to be flat against the glass, so the spine isn't broken, it just sets on the glass (Of course valuable books are photographed instead). The bit of distortion doesn't matter with printed material.
I use jerry-built supports if the book is large- just happens that the scanner, supported on a low throw-away side table above the printer- an Epson stylus color printer good for photos- is the same height as my computer next to it. This usually holds the other half of those folio sized coffee table books.

I am lost on copy-paste, will have to try it with the programs I have. Most of my stuff is processed through the Adobe program that came with the printer so that I can adjust the stored image.

Question: A few sites don't let me (or I don't know how) save the image to disk (or give me something that I can't process with Adobe). I have photographed the flat computer screen instead, which yields a usable image of music sheets, etc. Any ideas on how to save these images directly without taking photos? There may be a format conversion I don't know about.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 03:05 PM

Well I got a Mustek Bear Paw scanner, about 18 months ago, and had terrible trouble running it in ME. Now I've upgraded to XP Professional, and it does not want to know. So I guess I'm in the market for a scanner too. Thanks for all the info.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 04:03 PM

Guest, Q

The small distortion you get from not having the book flat on the glass is often not a problem if you just want a "picture," but it really messes up the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) performance.

You didn't say whether you use Windows, but I'll assume that's the case. If you hold down the Alt key while you press "Print Scrn" the active window that's on your screen will be copied to the Clipboard. Go to your "picture program," or even something like word and "Conrol-V" or "Edit - Paste" and the picture will be there.

(In some photo programs, you may need a "File - New from Clipboard" rather than just a paste.)

If you just hit the "Print Screen" key, without the Alt, you'll copy the whole screen - which you can then paste.

Either way, you may want to do a little "cropping," but most programs make that fairly easy.

For those sites that block downloading of things, you can sometimes find a link that "points to" the web page you want, right click on the link, and select "save target as" and get stuff that you can't save when you're actually "at" the page. It seems that if the "don't copy gizmo" is on the page you're not supposed to copy from, sometimes this backdoor method will get past it. Be aware that - if it works - you're doing something that the owner doesn't want you to do, which is somewhat impolite. In those rare occasions when I really need to do it, I always make a point of feeling a little guilty about it.

Another "trick" anti-copy method is to post pictures as tiled separate images, so that when you "save picture" you only get the "tile" that you clicked in. Several of the art museums use this method. If you're really determined you can save each tile as a separate file and fit them back together in any decent photo software, but it's very tedious and the results are seldom really satisfactory.

Giok - you should be able to connect almost any scanner to XP, unless it's so ancient it uses an unsupported antique port configuration. Look in Hardware Manager in the Control Panel, and see if it's there. You may need to get an XP-compatible driver, but you should be able to download one that will work - even if you have to get it for a "similar to" scanner from another builder. The scanner is just a couple of lightbulbs on a motorcycle - it's the software that does the work.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:26 AM

Using a scanner with SharpEye.

Both SharpEye 1 and SharpEye 2 will work with pre-scanned BMP or TIF images. Version 2 also has the facilty to scan directly into the program and it is only this option that requires the scanner to be TWAIN compatible. All scanners on the market have come with TWAIN compatible drivers since the days of Windows 3 so I shouldn't think that there should any problems on that score anyway.

In theory you should even be able to get a satisfactory image from a digital photo or webcam and change it to B&W.


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Subject: RE: Tech, Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 01:54 PM

The TIF files from a digital camera will import into most OCRs without any trouble, but the normal text OCR likes a clean/square image, where the text runs in pretty straight lines. If you "look slantwise" when you take the picture, you're not likely to get a "clean" conversion. A lot of digicams don't have really good lenses, so you get pincushion and balloon effects that the eye ignores - but that strangle OCR.

I haven't used any of the music scan/conversion programs much, but I'd suppose they would need to be somewhat more tolerant about the skew and warp.

Even with a good scanner, I've found that on some originals you can get better OCR by scanning in color, converting to b/w in image software, and trimming the "threshold" to get rid of the "fur." It sometimes gives cleaner "edges" than a direct b/w scan.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:10 PM

Lots of good information here, but I'm still not able to find the perfect scanner.
I have two main considerations:

  • I need a scanner that will handle books well, that will take a decent image without forcing me to break the binding of the book.
    I think the ideal scanner would have a very narrow plastic margin between the edge of the glass and the edge of the scanner, but I'm open to addvice. As far as I can determine, the Canon scanners have the narrowest margin.
  • I'm looking for bundled OCR software that will work just like my old Pagis Scanning Suite - highlight an area of a scanned image, and paste it as text directly into a Mudcat reply box.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:33 PM

I got a used HP scannner - it was top of the line a few years ago, and it does a great job on color pics, photocopying - if you have a HP printer - and OCR. Oddly ,and here I am utterly mystified, if I scan a tune the image when printed is all coverd with little squiggles but the same image photocopied is superb.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: MMario
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:35 PM

Joe - have you checked out the tech support at Scansoft? from what I can see the Pagis Suite should work under XP.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:48 PM

Joe -

The OmniPage software that's bundled with the Canon scanners should let you cut out part of a page to scan, but the normal method with most of the software I've seen is to "box" the area to be scanned - sort of like "cropping" a picture. Once you've scanned and run through OCR, you can select the text just as you would in Word - and I do like using TextBridge directly from Word. You just click on the OCR icon (put there by the TextBridge install) and tell it get what's laying on the scanner. The text appears in your Word document. Throw away anything you don't want after you get it as text.

For working really close to the spine of a book, one possible "solution" is to use one of the "hand-held" scanners that some people get to go along with their laptops. You run the scanner over the page instead of putting the page on the scanner. Some of these will go to within a half inch or so of their "edge," and you can work with the book laid flat and right-side up - while you hold the other half of the book up to "flatten" what you're scanning. The main problem with these is that it's really tough to "piece together" anything over the 3 or 4 inch scan width. If you go for this as a "special purpose" tool, you'll probably still want a flatbed for most of your scammnning.

A few years ago there was somebody out there trying to sell a "scan pencil" that you ran along a single line of text - it supposedly pieced together the lines as text. I don't think it was too successful, but they may be still around somewhere. I'll look, but no promises.

Any TWAIN compliant software will do most of what you want - but the scanner has to get you up against the binding to do it, if that's your concern.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:52 PM

sorefingers -

All those little squiggles are what you get when the OCR tries to turn the scan into text - and you can't spell "music" in plain text. You need to scan "as an image" without sending the image through the OCR software.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 03:58 PM

Hi, MMario - I checked the ScanSoft site, and they said that Pagis Scanning Suite did not support Windwos XP.
Oh, I thought of another problem: My old scanner won't scan music scores very well. It omits all the score lines, apparently because they appear to be imperfections. It frustrates the hell out of me.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 04:52 PM

Joe,

I agree with John, you may want to stop trying to put the book on the scanner and instead put the scanner on the book. My Dad had an Amiga that he used for his music. I haven't unpacked it yet, and who knows what I'm going to find when I do. But a friend of his tells me that the Amiga was perfectly suited to music (though at this point in time and the age of that computer, I don't know what to tell you about saving data, speed, etc.). One of the things included in the box of stuff is a hand-held scanner. He spent a lot of time mulling over this (as a retired reference librarian, he's the last one you'd find mashing a book spine with a scanner cover).

And for something completely different, you might want to look around and see what agencies or entities have big fancy scanners and figure out if you can work out something. Here at the Special Collections at my university we have a big scanner--an Agfa Duoscan T2000 XL that scans up to 4000dpi. It has a cover on a special expanding hinge that will allow for very thick volumes to be scanned. At the highest rate, a postage stamp might be scanned and would completely fill a CD. You probably only need to scan at 300dpi at the highest. With this Agfa scanner and Photoshop, you can get the kind of image that your other software can interpret. So perhaps you need to find someplace that will let you work out a deal. Volunteer to do scanning for a local library or museum, in exchange for some time scanning your own stuff. spend your money on high-end software instead of trying to buy the new scanner AND the software.

Before you give up on the scanner and computer combination that you already have, visit the web site for the scanner manufacturer and download any upgrades they have made available for your machines. HP (as an example) has an excellent site for upgrading software to support its machines. I've gone in to get bits and pieces for various peripherals for my computer on several occasions.

Just a thought.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 05:38 PM

Mashing with a scanner cover? If the object has any thickness, remove the cover and substitute a large sheet of paper. I do it quite often.

I also use a camera stand and camera quite a bit. I am thinking of getting a good digital camera. Then a scanner, overhead or flat bed, would not be needed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:01 PM

Well Joe - I've just come from the PagisPro Suite pages at ScanSoft, and frankly it's a lot like visiting Microsoft. I can't tell what their product actually is. It appears to be a "suite" of software programs, but I can't tell what's in the box.

It looks like they've got pieces of OmniPage Pro in the Pagis box. OmniPage Pro is what came with my Epson scanner, and it's very good for selecting what you're scanning and what "format" to scan it to. It includes a fair OCR capability, and will probably do most of what the PagisPro suite did for you.

I believe that OmniPage Pro was part of the bundle with the Canon scanner you "selected" and with the alternate that I suggested.

The Pagis suite also appears to have at least some pieces of TextBridge (which ScanSoft bought from IBM not too long ago), which is arguably the best OCR program for "plain text" conversion around. You may not get quite the OCR capability (in OmniPage alone) that you had in Pagis - if your Pagis version had a fairly complete TextBridge wedged in; but for most of what you're likely to do with it, the difference would be marginal.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like virtually everything that was in your PagisPro Suite comes in the box, under different names maybe, with the Canon scanners. (Although I'd still go for the Photoshop Elements that comes with the D1250U2F, as the replacement for the Pagis "Photosoap.")

Other than the hood ornament and what note the horn's tuned to, you're not likely to find a scanner that's much better (or worse) than the Canon.

I don't have a really good answer for scanning up to the spine in books, but you could look at:

AmazonDotCom Pencil Scanners


John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 06:12 PM

I took a quick look at some "handheld" scanners, but didn't really find much. If I hadn't screwed up the link, the end of my previous post would have included:

HP Capshare 920 Portable E-Copier

HP Capshare 920 Portable E-Copier Sells Out by Popular Demand

Information

The HP Capshare 920 e-copier has been discontinued and taken off the Hewlett-Packard current product list as of October 1, 2000.


Evidently the "popular demand" cited by HP was a lynch mob????

I had a ScanSoft handheld back during an earlier geological epoch, and it was a real p. i. t. a. to get anything useful out of it. Something along that line might be useful for "special jobs," but you'd still want a good platform scanner for the majority of stuff.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 08:58 PM

FYI, the scanning done at UTA has a lot to do with maps. This is quite likely way off track where your scanning needs lie, but it's an interesting site to visit. There is also some interesting software involved for download to view images. If you visit Cartographic Connections at University of Texas @ Arlington Special Collections and click on a few maps you'll see what I mean. In particular, the Virtual Map Library.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 05:34 PM

Well, last night I solved my OCR problem quite nicely, and I really feel dumb. I discovered an icon on my computer called Microsoft Office Document Scanning, so I clicked on it to check it out. It asked me for my MS Word 2002 installation disk, and then installed itself.
The resulting program works like a charm. You open the program, click "scan," and a nice image of the scanned page comes up. You highlight the text you want, and then right-click and select "copy as text." Then you go to Mudcat and paste the copied text into the message box, and there you have it. Exactly what I wanted - and I had it all the time.
Oh, fer dumb.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 06:28 AM

Joe -

You found something useful hidden in Office??????

Keep your mouth shut, or they'll take it out in the next release. Then it won't do what you use it for, but it'll be replaced by a whole bunch of other things that they just know you need - most of which involve spending lots of time at sites where they get paid for the commercials.

(only slightly jesting)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 02:33 PM

Well, I bought a Canon LIDE scanner, and it has worked well-nigh perfectly. It gets its power from the USB cable, so I don't have to mess with a power supply.
I also found that I have "Microsoft Office Document Scanning" on my computer (probably from MS Works Suite, since I don't have Office). It does an extraordinary job of OCR.

But I still have a problem. Many of the books I scan from are fifty years old, and some are over a century old. Putting them on a flatbed scanner makes me cringe, because it's so hard on the bindings of these ancient books. I think what I need is a hand scanner, preferably a USB hand scanner. There used to be lots of them to choose from, but I haven't seen any for years. Anybody know of a good one I can get for a reasonable price - or have you other suggestions for scanning books? I wondered if I could get an OCR-able image from my digital camera....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM

I have an old Amiga hand-held scanner, still haven't tried it even though I mentioned it ages ago on this thread.

There are copiers that are made for the specialized kind of copying you want to do. We have a couple of them in Special Collections at the university library where I work. The glass is right to the edge of the machine so you do a half of the book at a time with the other half hanging down--the book is never open more than 90 degrees.

Then there's this kind. Or you can find an automated scanner that is easy on the books.

Probably not in your price range, but maybe someone in your area has one and will scan some pages for you?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:07 PM

Joe - (I think I'm looking only at your recent questions)

For text, TextBridge OCR can import any .jpg image file for conversion, so you can, at least in principle, use your digital camera and download the images to the computer. If you're saving in some other format, use any decent image editing program to convert to .jpg.

I'm assuming that a different OCR program should have similar ability to open files from your computer, recognize them, and paste them into your wordprocesser program, and likely will use .jpg as the "native" program format. You may need to adjust for your OCR program's capabilities.

You'll likely get the "flattest" image by setting the camera up square to the page a fair distance away. You get more distortion, and uneven focus across the with of the page, with a closeup.

From a sufficient distance to wipe out the closeup distortion and get even focus across the page, you'll probably get the page and a fair amount of background. Most digital cameras now have more than enough pixels to take a shot saved at maximum (or "high" with a better camera than mine) resolution from a fair distance and crop off any "background," leaving what's in the middle (and fairly flat) with enough resolution for OCR when resized back to the original page size.

With most bindings, the page you're taking the shot of will lay flattest with the opposing page raised a bit, so you may want to set up a way to support the "other side of the book" in a slightly elevated, and adjustable, position. If you use a tripod to support the camera, you may want the whole work surface tilted so it faces "square to the camera."

Sharp focus on the page you want will help, and since lots of digital cameras "autofocus" using visble or near visible light, the page you're shooting should be fairly brightly lit, but with care to eliminate any glare. (You may have other means of focus control on your camera, but a fairly bright scene is needed for mine to home in accurately.) I'd suggest a "stand" or at least a tripod to setup your camera, and in any "fixed setup" you should use a cable release to avoid jarring the camera when you click, if your camera is equipped for one (mine isn't).

OCR usually works better with low to moderate resolutions in the images being interpreted, so your photos, after cropping to page size should be resized so the image has about 150 dpi (or even a bit less) at the the original page size. It also helps, sometimes, to be sure that the final .jpg is B/W rather than color or grayscale.

A camera is usually a bit less sensitive at picking up bleed-through of what's on the back side of the page, but it still may help to slip a sheet of colored paper under the page being copied. The color should be similar to the color of any text/markings on the back side of the page, so usually black is the color. You may be able to use your camera's flash, but since "facing the page squarely" is fairly critical for best results, it may produce too much reflected glare - in which case you'll want other fairly bright lighting.

It's the filetype that matters, so far as your OCR program should be concerned, so you can scan a newspaper page and save it as .jpg to get an image you can use to figure out how to get your OCR program to import "files from disk" and put them in your text editor/wp program.

Note - I've had some success with photo-to-OCR, but my camera demands brighter lighting for sharp focus than I've had for my jury-rig experiments. You may need to build yourself a good setup with a flat place to lay the book, support for the "other side" of the book, some added light, and a stand/tripod to get the camera in consistent position, in order to get really good results. And learn to push the shutter button slowly enough to let the camera autofocus home in.

Since you will probably need to do some processing on your camera images, your setup can be "one-sided." A 180 degree rotation of an image is lossless, so if you take a picture "upside down" your photo editor can turn it around with no effect on the image quality. (Rotations of anything except in 90 degree increments does (theoretically) induce a minor amount of "blur," but you'd have difficulty finding it in most photo images.)

Hand-scanners have all but disappeared from the market. The only ones who may use them are people who "live out of their laptop," and most of them rely on "the company they're visiting" to provide scanning. My experience with one back when Win95 was "modern" was not impressive, although current ones should be more usable - but are rare and much more expensive.

The library/archive scanner setups I've seen are very expensive - starting at around $3,000 for a minimal setup. The are -in essence - just a digital camera with an enormous focal plane shutter, and expensive dedicated software. Your camera, with a careful setup, can simulate, but probably not equal, what they can do; but you probably can get results that will satisfy your needs.

You'll need to verify that your OCR can import files from disk for reading. Verify that .jpg files work or find what other format can be used. Take careful pictures, and do a bit of processing. You'll soon (wry grin) have everything archived digitally.

And do make your "capture" setup "user friendly." Leaning over an awkwardly place scanner - or camera or book setup - can do horrrrible things to the backsides of ol' farts like us, especially if it's repetitive for long sessions.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:22 PM

A friend of mine has used Text Bridge and swears by it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:33 PM

Try Looking at one of the Planon Docupens

They look pretty handy.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JudyB
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 09:35 AM

The Docupens do look useful - has anyone here actually tried them?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 01:48 AM

Several people commented about how nice it would be to have a "portable scanner," and some "remembered" seeing "pen scanners."

The problem with those has been that they essentially scan one character at a time, and rather precise aiming and moving over the text being scanned is required. They'r also virtually useless for anything other than text.

A product review at Planon DocuPen RC800, Review Date: 04.11.06, PCMagazine, proposes that there is something new.

This pen scanner doesn't follow the line, it rolls sideways down the page so that it reads a "page width" at a time, and eliminates some of the tracking difficulties with typical pen scanners. It reportedly can save scans of multiple (up to 100?) pages in gray-scale, but only has enough memory for a couple of full color pages; but it just might be able to pick up some of those "difficult" scans – like up against the binding in old books(?). The unit comes with 8 MB RAM, but you reportedly can install larger memory packs.

I assume that the device is intended primarily for capturing text, but the reviewer does say that it does a "credible" job on full color photos. Capturing images may require careful "sweeps" of the thing, but appears possible.

Oh yeah, - - - $300 US, which is a bit "pricey" but - if it solves a problem....

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Question - Scanners
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM


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