Handheld scanners?

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    • #132681
      Amber Skantz

      Does anyone have any recommendations on handheld scanners? Our cataloging and archive departments are considering purchasing a handheld scanner for use in digitizing some of our more fragile books (specifically the ones that have been boxed because of age/binding, etc) and we have some concerns about the handhelds, that while it would potentially require less human hands touching the material, we don’t want to a) put anything through a feeder-type system or b) have to touch/drag/roll the scanner over the face of the document itself…We are looking, basically, for a magic wand.

      Any ideas/thoughts or experiences with this sort of thing? We do have a flatbed type scanner, but some of the items we are trying to digitze are quite large and very delicate, so handling them at all is a problem…

    • #132690
      Ronald Heroux

      I’ve heard good comments about the Flip-Pal scanner.  http://flip-pal.com/

    • #132689

      I haven’t posted before, so forgive me if I’m missing the mark in some way. Have you considered a camera on a stand? We use a good-quality digital camera with a copy stand when we digitize fragile books. We position the book, supported by foam cushions, so we can photograph the first half of the book (rectos, odd pages) without moving the book, and then reposition the book to photograph the second half (versos, even pages). It works really well, both for a good quality digital image and for minimal wear and tear on the book. We use Adobe Lightroom for color correction, straightening, cropping, and embedding some basic image info; it can export both tiffs and jpegs of various sizes such as thumbnail images.

    • #132688

      Amber- what you really need is a book scanner. They do pretty much what Barbara is describing, except that they have a platen to keep the page flat. There is now a sizeably community of do-it-yourself scanner makers, and they have an online community, at http://www.diybookscanner.org/. If you go there, you will find descriptions of how to create a scanner set up at all levels of complexity and expense. Good luck!

    • #132687
      Mark Shenise

      Amber – John is right about using a book scanner if you can afford one.  Though we only have a staff of two full-time archivists and one part-time, finding a quality book scanner that our students could use to complete projects in acceptable time while providing  high quality images to convert to usable PDF files presented its own problems.  We eventually settled on Atez’s Book Drive Pro which is their top of the line model though there is a Book Drive Mini as well as a new Scandock depending on your budget (http://www.atiz.com/).  Before we purchased the scanner Atez set up an appointment for us  to review the machine on-site with one of their customers.  Once we saw the demo and talked with the archivist in charge, we were hooked.  As a result we are rapidly scanning our serials, old books and archival collections to preservation standards while maintaining the physical integrity of each record.

    • #132686
      Amber Skantz

      Thanks, everyone! We have been working on digitizing our yearbooks, catalogs and are planning to tackle the university’s newspapers next, and the book scanner would really facilitate that process. I have no idea what was used prior to now, as I am still pretty new on staff, but I’m nearly positive it wasn’t a book scanner. I’ll pass this along to the others involved.

    • #132685
      Karen Horton

      I also have a camera stand for books and fragile documents, but I am wondering whether anyone can enlighten me about converting the rather large jpg file that is produced for each photograph to a much more handle-able pdf file for everyday use that retains reasonable printable quality. I have not been successful in creating a pdf that is significantly smaller than the original photo (i.e., the digital file is fewer K) using Photoshop. Whereas, a scanner can produce a good quality 300 dpi image that is printable and not such a large file. Can someone point me to an online resource to help me learn more about manipulating these images?

    • #132684
      Mary Danielsen

      I have used the FlipPal scanners extensively in the last year. I love that they run on batteries and can scan up to 600 dpi.  With older books and materials you could take the lid off the scanner and turn it upside down to scan your book pages, thus protecting the binding of the book.  After Hurricane Sandy, I used these scanners extensively to recover and restore thousands of photos in one New Jersey town.  When people heard what we were doing, they brought us their fragile historic documents, such as military documents and old marriage certificates.  We even used it to scan old oil paintings that washed back up.  The scanners come with software to stitch together larger scans.  I had success with it.

    • #132683

      The convenience of the FlipPal is great, and I’m glad that it captures up to 600 ppi, but I wish it allowed saving files as uncompressed TIF’s rather than compressed JPG’s. I’ve talked to representatives who tell me that the 600 ppi scan is not interpolated or enhanced, and saves as a low-loss JPG (around 10 of 12 on Photoshop’s compression scale). The 300 ppi scan does have some type of image enhancement (but they did not go into detail about whether this means sharpening, but said “it is not strictly bit for bit scan.”

      Many grant projects require saving images as uncompressed TIF’s, so I can not use this for museum and archive scanning projects, but love the idea of using it at “scan-a-thons” or when going to lenders’ houses.

    • #132682

      These C2C forums are great!  I am planning a “scan-a-thon” (to borrow from Joan’s post) and am investigating the practicality of a portable handheld scanning system.   After reading this thread I am now vacillating between a camera setup and the Flip-pal (I’ve tabled the Atiz for future consideration).  I am still weighing cost, practicality, and scan quality so not sure which technical route I will finally choose but the postings on this thread are helpful.  Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts.  The DIY site also offers a wealth of creative solutions.

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