Automatic Timed Scanning Software?
November 16, 2009 5:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some kind of scanner software that will automatically scan every X seconds/minutes so I can easily scan in notes for my class. Preferably free.
posted by gzimmer to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you already have the scanner? A sheet fed scanner would be the ideal solution here. Your school library may have one (or a sheet feeder attachment for a flatbed). Alternatively, many scanners have "scan" buttons on them. Press the button and a pre-defined scanning macro is triggered.

Finally, what OS?
posted by zachlipton at 5:19 PM on November 16, 2009

Windows, yes I have a scanner, HP C5280 specifically. It's pretty annoying to have to keep hitting the scan button on whatever software I'm using. If I have only, say 5 seconds, between each scan I could just quickly flip sides or change pages and continue scanning. Something must exist for this!
posted by gzimmer at 5:24 PM on November 16, 2009

I do a fair bit of work with high-volume capture, and I've ever seen anything quite like this. That's not to say it doesn't exist, or that you couldn't script it, but I've never quite seen it—at least for a flatbed document scanner.

Some book scanners work on a timer, giving you a set amount of time to flip pages between triggering the cameras to take a new image, but I think most systems do that by using Canon digital cameras with custom firmware.

The optimal solution would probably be a sheet-fed scanner, preferably one with a duplex feeder, so you could just drop a stack of pages into the input side and then have it scan them all in a batch. These tend to be expensive if you buy them as standalone devices (if you do go this route there are a lot of AskMes about it; I think the Kodak or Fuji models are best, but the HPs are inexpensive and work OK as long as you're not doing more than a dozen pages or so at a time), but you can sometimes find multifunction devices that include sheet-fed scanners quite inexpensively. One of them might work okay if you're price-sensitive.

Another alternative, if you can find an old fax machine and phone line, is to use a fax-to-email gateway service. For a few bucks a month you can buy a local phone number in your area and set it to save faxes to a PDF, and then use the fax machine as a sheet-fed scanner. You should be able to get a plain-paper fax that will do multiple pages in a batch for next to nothing, the only downside is that it probably won't duplex and the quality will be relatively poor.

The final suggestion I have is to get a scanner that has a "scan" button right on the machine. Most scanners made in the past few years (USB ones) have these, although some work better than others. That might be more convenient than having to click a button on the computer's GUI for each scanner pass.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:49 PM on November 16, 2009

A batch file calling CmdTwain in a loop with a defined Timeout delay.
posted by scruss at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2009

Depending on how handy you are on the command line you almost certainly can get XSane to do this.
posted by gregr at 9:38 PM on November 16, 2009

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